Singapore is preparing for a future where solar energy could form a more significant portion of our energy mix. To do this, EMA has been taking proactive steps to facilitate solar energy's deployment, while ensuring that the power grid remains stable. Due to the intermittent nature of solar, there are limitations to deploying solar on a large scale to generate electricity reliably in Singapore.
We see energy storage systems (ESS) as a game-changer that will play an important role in enabling solar adoption. ESS is able to capture energy produced at a particular time to be used later. Technological improvements in ESS have also reduced the cost of deployment and increased the range of services that ESS can provide to the power system.
Initiatives to facilitate ESS deployment
Though adoption of ESS in Singapore is still nascent, we are actively encouraging the industry to adopt ESS solutions. These include:
Energy Storage Systems (ESS) for Singapore Policy Paper (2018)
EMA has reviewed the policies and regulations relating to ESS and published a policy paper on Energy Storage Systems for Singapore. This is intended to provide clarity to industry and consumers on the deployment of ESS in Singapore and the current regulatory framework. The paper also provides guidance on the potential applications for ESS in Singapore, such as helping to integrate higher levels of solar and managing solar intermittency.
The policy paper is meant to be a "living" document. EMA will continue to review existing policies and regulations, to ensure that they are relevant to support evolving ESS business models and innovations. View the policy paper
Launch of Intermittency Pricing Mechanism (IPM) (2018)
Any disruptions in electricity generation, including solar, require backup power or "reserves" to be drawn from generators on standby. This is to ensure that consumers receive a stable and reliable supply of electricity.
EMA issued the final determination paper on IPM for intermittent generation sources (IGS) to ensure that reserve costs are fairly allocated to all generation types. The IPM will create a price signal that encourages IGS consumers to adopt solutions to manage intermittency and their reserves cost. These solutions can include ESS. Read the final determination paper
Regulatory Sandbox with SP Power Assets (SPPA) (2018)
EMA and SP PowerAssets (SPPA) are collaborating on a regulatory sandbox to test SPPA’s ability to use ESS to smooth out electricity supply during times of high electricity usage in residential areas. This is an alternative approach compared to upgrading transformers at the substation
The regulatory sandbox will also allow EMA and SPPA to assess if consumers benefit from SPPA’s deployment of ESS The findings will be used to refine the regulatory approach for ESS.
The sandbox will run for three years and be conducted at a substation in Bedok.
Learn more about our regulatory sandbox
Past ESS Initiatives
These include Singapore's first utility-scale ESS awarded in 2017 and an Energy Storage Grant Call award to six projects. These will develop cost-effective energy storage solutions that can be deployed in Singapore under its hot, humid and urbanised environment.
Learn more about past ESS initiatives
Current ESS Technologies
ESS is unique due to the fact that it can store and discharge power. This charging and discharging can happen rapidly depending on the ESS technology. Figure 1 shows examples of the different forms of ESS, including mechanical energy storage, solid state batteries and flow batteries.
Figure 1: Examples of ESS technologies
Benefits of ESS
There are economic and technical factors to consider for ESS deployment. At the moment, ESS faces higher costs relative to other technologies, which makes commercial viability challenging. The commercial viability of ESS will be dependent on market forces and the ability to leverage on multiple revenue streams.
However, ESS can also bring multiple benefits to the power system and consumers. Examples include (i) facilitating the integration of distributed and intermittent generation sources; (ii) shifting peak load and arbitraging electricity prices; (ii) providing ancillary services to the market via regulation and reserves; and (iv) responding rapidly to power fluctuations within networks to ensure system stability and reliability.
Insights that we glean from the various initiatives in place can help to address the limitations and to accelerate market adoption of ESS to secure a more sustainable and cleaner energy future for Singapore.
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