Keynote Address by Mr Richard Lim, Chairman, Energy Market Authority at the Singapore International Energy Week, Future of the Grid

26 Oct 2022

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good morning. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all delegates who are here with us today on this special occasion of the 15th Singapore International Energy Week or SIEW. I would also like to extend my appreciation to Clarion Events Asia for their partnership in organising the second “Future of the Grid” conference this morning.

2. The global energy transition is at a crossroad. Rising energy demand and prices, coupled with a volatile external environment have increased the degree of uncertainty in energy markets around the world. Against the backdrop of these developments and the pressing need to decarbonise the power sector, today’s Conference serves as an important platform for stakeholders to examine the adoption of new and innovative ways in forging a resilient and sustainable energy future. As such, I am heartened that this Conference will cover issues such as regional interconnectivity, renewable energy (RE) grid integration, as well as grid modernisation technologies. These are important issues that will help achieve a net-zero future for Singapore and the region.

Singapore’s Power Sector by 2050

3. Earlier this week at SIEW, Singapore announced our goal of achieving net-zero by 2050. This comes against the backdrop of the Energy 2050 report, released in March this year. The report had concluded that it would be realistic for Singapore’s power sector to aspire to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. To do so, the report highlighted the need for a significant transformation of our energy value chain and identified a number of strategies to enable Singapore to be well positioned for this transition. These include how Singapore must decarbonise and diversify its energy supply mix, and enhance its power grid with advanced control systems as well as digital technologies, against the backdrop of a complex and challenging environment.

4. As global energy demand recovers, fueled by the increase in economic activity and end-user electrification, more effort will be needed to strike a balance between growth, sustainability and security. Investments and resources will be needed to upgrade existing power grid infrastructure, while also expanding and reinforcing the grid to meet growing electricity demand.

5. As we embark on our net zero goal by 2050, Singapore has laid out several plans to decarbonise our power sector. From enhancing the energy efficiency of our natural gas power generation assets and deployment of solar technologies, to our plans to import up to 4GW of electricity to Singapore by 2035, we are pushing the envelope to explore new and innovative ways to transform our power sector.

6.  This year, we launched our national hydrogen strategy, which will outline the way in which Singapore intends to invest and explore low-carbon alternative energy sources. Efforts are already underway by the industry to scale the deployment of these alternatives in Singapore, starting with the development of our first hydrogen-ready power plant to be commissioned by the first half of 2026.

7. These are challenging yet exciting times for Singapore’s power sector. Even as we transition towards a more sustainable future, decarbonising the power sector requires us to adopt a whole-of-industry approach. Many countries are developing energy transition plans for their power sector, and this can only be successfully accomplished through regional cooperation and the close partnership between governments and industry captains like yourself.

Regional Interconnectivity

8. Cross-border electricity trading has been widely available in places such as Europe, United Kingdom and Nordic countries for decades. It will be an important avenue for Singapore and the region to realise our shared decarbonisation goals.

9. As a region with considerable renewable energy potential, the development of interconnected grids in ASEAN can (i) drive investments in low-carbon projects, (ii) open new markets, and (iii) strengthen regional energy security and grid resiliency. In addition, regional power grids can also enable a lower-cost power system by allowing for integrated energy supply planning while minimising the duplication of both energy and non-energy services. Regional interconnectivity can also facilitate mutual support through the sharing of flexible resources and operating reserves[1].

10. Singapore has been working to strengthen the regional grid architecture. The Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS), which commenced in June 2022, is an excellent example of the possibility in forging multilateral electricity trade across borders. As the first multilateral cross-border electricity trade involving four ASEAN countries with different power systems, and the first renewable energy import into Singapore, the LTMS-PIP serves as a pathfinder in realising the broader ASEAN Power Grid vision.

Managing Demand

11. Beyond shaping the way we produce energy, the growing electricity demand will require us to identify new and innovative ways to manage and efficiently consume energy. All these will take place against the possibility of a highly integrated and decentralised grid system, driven by advancements in digital technologies.

Digital Technologies

12. As such, it is imperative that we invest in the resiliency of our grid. System operators will need to manage the rising number of Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) and the increased in activity at the distribution level, while developing different layers of advanced control and communication systems. This is to effectively manage the DERs and to also help mitigate the impact of DERs on system reliability.

13. We should also capitalise on opportunities offered by emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to allow for more accurate projections of supply and demand. This could lead to savings in capacity and infrastructure costs for backup generation and storage, which can enhance grid planning and operations. At the same time, even as we leverage on the potential of these technologies, we must be mindful to build in adequate cybersecurity measures to protect our grid and work closely with regional grids to adopt such measures.

14. Together with industry partners and other government agencies, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) is working to develop a digital twin for the power grid. Expected to be completed over the next few years, the digital twin[2], comprising a network twin and assets twin, will enhance Singapore’s grid resiliency and reliability. The digital twin will not only improve our network planning analysis and monitoring of our grid asset conditions, but will also facilitate the planning of infrastructure for different needs such as installation of electric vehicle chargers, connection of solar photovoltaic systems and energy storage systems. We have also launched a sandbox to streamline and improve our Demand Response and Interruptible Load programmes, which would allow for consumers to reduce or shift their energy consumption in response to tight supply, in exchange for compensation.


15. The transformation of the power sector in the coming years will require us to introduce flexibility and to invest in technologies, so as to operate more seamlessly and optimally. I am confident that despite the external uncertainties, there are opportunities for us to collaborate and develop solutions to meet the needs of the global energy transition and to support a more complex power system, that will be connected to more diverse sources of clean energy in the coming years.

16. On this note, I look forward to today’s discussions led by distinguished speakers on the challenges, policies, and strategies needed to transform our future grid. I wish everyone a fruitful discussion ahead.

17. Thank you.

[1] ASEAN 2nd RE Outlook Report

[2] The Grid Digital Twin aims to support SP Group and EMA in developing a more efficient, reliable and resilient power grid. As a virtual representation of the physical power grid assets and network, the Grid Digital Twin comprises two key models: Asset Twin and Network Twin. The Asset Twin allows operators to monitor and analyse the condition and performance of its assets (such as switchgears, transformer, cables), so that potential risks in grid operations can be identified early. This will aid national grid operator SP in deciding how and which assets to prioritise for maintenance or renewal. The Network Twin allows us to examine the impact of additional electricity loads (such as charging of electric vehicles) and distributed energy resources (such as solar photovoltaics and ESS) on the grid network capacity. This enables EMA and SP to improve network utilisation for new or peak electricity loads, such as installing new electric vehicles (EV) charging points or having more solar generation.

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