Singapore’s Green Energy Plan is something that has been debated about and reviewed by industry experts across the globe. In this blog, Special Piping Materials will look at the challenges faced by Singapore, how it is tackling these challenges and what is likely to happen in the future.
As a country seen as one of the world’s most progressive countries, many people are understandably interested in Singapore’s Green Energy Plan.
Skyscrapers adorned with greenery, solar-powered super trees and highways lined with trees as big as houses are just some of the sights that you see on a daily basis in Singapore. They are all examples of how this small country – known as the ‘red dot’ to those living on the island – has stayed ahead of the game when it comes to sustainability and green living.
But while Singapore is famous for its iconic eco projects and cityscape, the country has many challenges when it comes to meeting its energy demands. One of these challenges is the sheer size of Singapore’s population, which topped 6 million this year. When you consider that Singapore is only 50 kilometres wide, you start to realise how this is a country with limited internal resources. For this reason, Singapore has historically been heavily reliant on imports to meet its energy demands.
In this blog, we will look more closely at the energy challenges that the country faces and how these have influenced Singapore’s Green Energy Plan.
A quick overview of Singapore’s Energy Story
Before we look ahead to the future of Singapore’s energy plan, let’s look back to where it comes from.
Over the past 50 years, Singapore has moved from oil to natural gas for cleaner power generation. There has also been an increased use of use of solar energy, particularly on rooftops and reservoirs.
The fast-paced economic development of Singapore has meant that the country has had to work hard to ensure it keeps up with the demands on its energy supply system.
Singapore’s Government has always been aware of the country’s impact on the environment, and they have been working hard to reduce emissions for a more sustainable future. As announced by Minister for Finance Mr Lawrence Wong at Budget 2022, Singapore has raised its climate ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
The energy sector has a key part to play in this ambitious target, as it accounts for about 40% of Singapore’s carbon emissions. It is important that the right balance is found by Singapore’s Green Energy Plan so that they reduce the power sector’s emissions while simultaneously ensuring that the power system remains secure, reliable and sustainable
Singapore has been harnessing the power of four separate green energy sources to transform its energy supply and these are:
- – Natural gas
- – Solar
- – Regional power grids
- – Low-carbon alternatives
The country is also focused on promoting energy efficiency to reduce demand.
Renewable energy options in Singapore
There are many renewable energy options as part of Singapore’s Green Energy Plan.
In addition to bringing online 2 GW of domestic solar production by 2030, Singapore plans on powering 30% of its energy needs with low-carbon imports by 2035. Further to this, many other renewable energy options are being considered. For example, Sembcorp Industries is introducing a green hydrogen production facility in the country.
Other tactics being employed by Singapore are:
- – Altering its energy capacity by switching from oil to natural gas. This has effectively brought down carbon emissions by 30%.
- – Harnessing the power of solar. With a total expected solar capacity of around 2 GW by 2030, Singapore has taken great strides in moving towards renewable energy options. It is thought that Solar remains the most promising renewable energy source in the near term for Singapore. The country is on track to achieving its solar panel deployment target of at least 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp) by 2030, which would generate enough energy to power around 350,000 households. Every space possible is being considered for solar photovoltaic systems – from rooftops to waterways, vacant land and even sheltered walkways. However, while there have been great efforts in the solar industry in Singapore, the country is constrained by its limited land area which means that solar energy will only constitute approximately 3% of the country’s total projected electricity demand in 2030.
- – Singapore is aiming to connect with regional power grids to access cost-effective clean energy. An example of this is the Singapore-Australia Sun Cable, which will supply 15% of Singapore’s energy needs (or 30GW).
- – Another innovative way that Singapore is meeting its greenhouse gas emissions targets, is to ensure that ‘hard-to-decarbonise’ industries are effectively harnessing carbon capture and storage/utilisation (CCSU) technologies.
The Role of Hydrogen in Singapore’s Green Energy Plan
Singapore is also exploring emerging low-carbon technologies such as hydrogen that will help to reduce its carbon footprint in the longer term. Low-carbon hydrogen is thought to be a potential decarbonisation pathway for Singapore that will successfully diversify the country’s power mix. Depending on technological developments, hydrogen could supply up to half of the country’s power needs by 2050 and therefore be a major part of Singapore’s Green Energy Plan.
What do the experts say on this?
- – “Singapore believes that low-carbon hydrogen has the potential to be the next frontier of our efforts to reduce our emissions,” says Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.
- – “Singapore is a renewable energy-disadvantaged country,” says Chan Siew Hwa, a professor at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University. “Hence we will rely on hydrogen or hydrogen carrier import, instead of producing the green hydrogen locally using our limited renewable energy — mainly, the solar energy.”
- – “As Singapore aims to be the hub of hydrogen, this ambition will undoubtedly lead to regional efforts in setting hydrogen standards and best practices… Singapore’s investment in hydrogen infrastructure could attract other investors to the ASEAN region, helping to finance hydrogen-related projects in other ASEAN countries,” says Beni Suryadi at the ASEAN Center for Energy, an organization within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Whatever the future holds, Special Piping Materials’ Singapore team will be working tirelessly to ensure that we continue to be a reliable source of high-quality stainless steel, duplex and super duplex pipes, fittings and flanges, that are usually essential to the success of green power projects.