Singapore looking at 'four switches' during energy transition

08 Sep 2021

We refer to the suggestions from Forum writers Seah Ah Kuan (Singapore should do more to import renewable energy, Aug 28) and Wong Bheet Huan (More initiative needed so Singapore can be self-reliant for clean energy, Sept 1) to import renewable energy from other countries and better harness renewable energy.

We agree that Singapore needs to change the way we produce and consume energy. This energy transition will require the "four switches".

First, we have been scaling up the use of available renewable energy sources in Singapore.

Solar photovoltaic systems have been deployed on the rooftops of buildings as well as offshore spaces, reservoirs, walkways and vacant land. We are also testing wind and tidal energy.

Today, Singapore is one of the most solar-dense cities in the world. By 2030, we aim to quintuple the amount of solar energy produced domestically to at least 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp).

Second, we will develop regional power grids to increase access to low-carbon electricity. We intend to start with trials to import 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Malaysia, and up to 100 MW under the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project.

These trials will help us develop the technical and regulatory requirements for larger electricity imports, which will allow us to access renewable energy from the region.

This will also help to facilitate the development and deployment of low-carbon solutions in the region.

We are also exploring emerging low-carbon alternatives such as hydrogen as well as carbon capture and utilisation.

While these technologies are nascent, the Government is investing in research and development through programmes such as the $49 million Low Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative launched last year.

Lastly, natural gas will remain a key fuel source during this transition to ensure that our electricity supply remains reliable and secure.

We will continue to improve the power efficiency of our generation units with incentive schemes such as the Energy Efficiency Grant Call for Power Generation Companies.

The four switches will allow Singapore to diversify our energy sources, improve the sustainability of our power supply, and ensure energy security and affordability.

Consumers can also do their part to conserve energy. Together, we can work towards a more sustainable future.

Darryl Chan
Policy and Planning Department
Energy Technology and Data Department
Energy Market Authority

Singapore should do more to import renewable energy (28 August 2021)
By Seah Ah Kuan

In his commentary, Associate Professor Winston Chow said society must act now to mitigate the worsening effects of climate change (We're in a climate casino. Here's how to fight against the odds, Aug 25).

The associate professor of science, technology and society at Singapore Management University said that action needed to improve the climate odds can be tackled on three fronts. First, governments need clear, quantifiable science-based plans to cap and reduce emissions to net-zero as soon as possible. Second, individuals cannot be apathetic. Third, businesses must act urgently to account for net-zero emissions in their operations.

While he lauds Singapore for having initiated the country's Green Plan 2030, he said this "still falls far short of net-zero by 2050", a goal most countries have aimed for.

I believe Singapore should more than redouble its efforts now to aim to achieve this goal. We have fewer than 30 years.

Foremost, 95 per cent of our electricity relies on imported natural gas, which must be the biggest source of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Simply put, we have limited space to generate renewable energy on our own, wind or solar.

We must initiate plans now to generate and import renewable energy, in cooperation with our neighbouring countries, or even at an Asean level.

Let's act now and not wait for Green Plan 2050.


More initiative needed so Singapore can be self-reliant for clean energy (1 September 2021)
By Wong Bheet Huan

I refer to Forum writer Seah Ah Kuan's proposal to import renewable energy from neighbouring countries to help Singapore achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 (Singapore should do more to import renewable energy, Aug 28).

Indeed, Mr Seah is thinking out of the box and has raised a stark reminder of how little time we have left to find a solution.

But we need to make wise choices about whom to buy energy from, and remember that relations between countries can change. There are some examples to illustrate my point:

  • About 40 per cent of European Union imports of natural gas come from Russia, but with the occasional geopolitical rows between the two, there is an uneasy reliance on this supply.
  • In Africa, the control of the Nile for hydroelectric plants has always been a source of unending dispute between the neighbouring states.
  • In Singapore, the issue of our water supply from Malaysia also crops up from time to time.

Mr Seah has highlighted the necessity of going offshore to develop Singapore's future clean energy supply.

I wonder if our planners have studied the possibility of wind or solar farms on our islands like Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin and St John's Island. We could also consider offshore large-capacity wind turbine farms.

We should be proud of ourselves for creating alternative sources of water over the years to reduce our reliance on imported water, and for our consistent conservation efforts.

We should use similar initiative to achieve our clean energy independence goal.

Back to Top