Boosting Innovations and Building a Future-ready Workforce for the Energy Sector

20 Sep 2018

    Emerging trends in the energy sector, such as the greater integration of renewables into our system and digital technologies, require forward-looking measures to strengthen the resilience of Singapore's power system and energy markets. To do this, we will need to drive R&D initiatives to maximise renewables integration, optimise energy demand, while strengthening our system resilience. At the same time, there is a need to grow local capabilities at both the enterprise and manpower level to navigate these trends.

2. The Energy Market Authority (EMA) has thus announced the following:
  • Inaugural EMA and Enterprise Singapore joint grant call for local enterprises to develop solutions in deploying solar energy and optimising energy consumption. This will help local enterprises build capabilities while creating opportunities for their businesses both here and in overseas energy markets;
  • $15 million grant award for seven energy innovations to strengthen the resilience of our power system and energy markets. These will involve the use of technologies such as blockchain, data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning; and
  • Support for Power Engineering Professionals in the Public Service to upskill and seize opportunities presented by new technologies.

Inaugural Joint Grant Call for Local Enterprises to Develop Energy Solutions

 3. EMA and Enterprise Singapore have jointly launched a Grant Call for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to develop solutions in deploying solar energy and optimising energy demand. This is in line with EMA’s efforts to catalyse R&D initiatives to keep Singapore’s energy options open and to strengthen the resilience of the power system.

4. The inaugural joint grant call also seeks to build up SMEs' capabilities and intellectual properties in the energy industry, while supporting the growth and internationalisation of their businesses. More information on the Grant Call and application process can be found at https://goo.gl/V78LbR. All proposals must be submitted by 23 November 2018, 12pm (UTC+8).
(Details of the Grant Call are in ANNEX A.)

$15 Million Awarded to Step Up Singapore’s Energy Resilience

5. To strengthen the cyber, physical, and market resilience of Singapore's power systems and energy markets, EMA has awarded a total of $15 million in research grants to seven projects that are expected to be completed by 2021.

6. The projects, chosen after a grant call launched in May 2017, will use technologies such as blockchain, data analytics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things to address the following challenges:

  • Market resilience. Three projects will look into enhancing energy market operations and trading through distributed ledger technologies. Among them is a digital electricity retail model using blockchain technology. This will create a decentralised, secure and tamper-proof ledger of all transactions to facilitate peer-to-peer trading and payment. It is also expected to reduce customer costs by up to 20% by doing away with intermediaries. The Experimental Power Grid Centre, National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University, Beebryte Pte Ltd and PacificLight Energy Pte Ltd are collaborating on this.
  • Physical resilience. Two projects will address the resilience, reliability and efficiency of power assets across the entire value chain. One of them involves the development of novel heat transfer materials for district cooling systems. If successful, the collaboration between NUS and Keppel District Heating and Cooling Systems (DHCS) Pte Ltd could result in energy efficiency improvements and space savings for district cooling systems by as much as five times.
  • Cyber resilience. One of the two projects being awarded is the development of a state-of-the-art network intrusion detection system. The project will leverage artificial intelligence to significantly improve online detection and mitigation of active IT threats for industrial control systems. The Singapore University of Technology and Design will collaborate with ST Electronics (Info-Security) Pte Ltd to develop the technology. This will use machine learning and adaptation to respond rapidly to cyber threats.

(Details of all seven projects are in ANNEX B.)

7. On the significance of these projects, EMA Chief Executive Ngiam Shih Chun said: "While Singapore has one of the world's most stable and reliable power systems, this cannot be taken for granted. Emerging trends such as distributed generation of energy and smart grids are transforming the energy sector. The Government is therefore supporting these projects which have the potential to enhance the efficiency and reliability of our electricity and gas systems, building upon emerging trends.

8. Speaking for Keppel DHCS, one of the grant recipients, Keppel Infrastructure Chief Executive Officer Dr Ong Tiong Guan said: "Our project will look at developing an innovative thermal energy storage system for our district and retail cooling applications, using novel heat transfer materials that can store heat at four to five times the capacity of water. This will strengthen the resilience of Singapore’s power system and enhance our suite of sustainable cooling solutions that will improve energy efficiency, cost effectiveness, and save space. Keppel DHCS looks forward to partnering with NUS to develop this innovative solution."

Initiative to Develop Power Engineering Professionals (PEPS) in the Public Service

9. Along with the push for energy innovation is the need for a future-ready competent workforce equipped with relevant skill sets. For the Public Service, power engineering has been identified as a critical skill set given that power systems form the backbone of critical public and commercial infrastructure, from transportation to utilities. EMA was tasked to undertake the expanded mandate to build up power engineering capabilities for the Public Service, leveraging EMA’s sector-wide manpower development experience.

10. To build these professional capabilities, EMA, together with the Public Service Division and SkillsFuture Singapore, have collaborated to extend the SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme to Polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates pursuing power engineering-related roles in the Public Service. This signals the Government’s strong commitment to build power engineering capabilities in the energy sector.

11. Under this collaboration, eligible Polytechnic and ITE graduates will undergo a structured training programme. This will include facilitated learning, on-the-job training and work-based projects in the Public Service. Participants will receive a sign-on incentive of $5,000.

(A Factsheet of the initiative can be found in ANNEX C.)

 

 

 

 

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