$6.2m research grant to study how to better plan Singapore's solar output

The Energy Market Authority said energy storage can support solar power by providing energy reserves and reducing peak demand.
The Energy Market Authority said energy storage can support solar power by providing energy reserves and reducing peak demand.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - The Energy Market Authority (EMA) has awarded a $6.2 million research grant to a consortium to improve Singapore's abilities to forecast the amount of solar power that the Republic generates.

This will allow the authorities to better plan for the demand and supply of electricity in the national grid.

The launch of the consortium, which is led by the National University of Singapore, was announced by Senior Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth, and Trade and Industry Sim Ann on Monday (Oct 23) at the opening of this year's Singapore International Energy Week.

At the event held at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands, Ms Sim also announced the launch of $17.8 million in grants to build a test bed to develop energy storage capabilities.

Two consortiums led by CW Group and Red Dot Power will set up the Energy Storage System (ESS).

EMA, which awarded the grants with SP Group, said that energy storage can support solar power by providing energy reserves and reducing peak demand.

Over three years, both consortiums will test different types of storage solutions, essentially gigantic rechargeable batteries. 

Mr Vijay Sirse, the founder and chief executive of vTrium Energy, of which Red Dot Power is a subsidiary, said that the test bed would help to see which battery chemistry would work best in Singapore’s climate.

Ms Sim said: "Insights gained from the test bed would help develop standards and policies to facilitate the deployment of large-scale ESS in Singapore."

She also talked about the expansion of a scheme that will allow citizens to sell excess solar energy back into the power grid from next April.

The first citizens to benefit from this will be in Jurong, as they will have access to the Open Electricity Market, which allows them to pick from multiple electricity providers.

Those with an installed capacity of up to 10MW will be able to sell the excess directly back into the grid.

Right now, under the Central Intermediary Scheme, consumers with an installed capacity of more than 1MW have to register as a market participant.

During the question-and-answer session after his Singapore Energy Lecture at the event, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, Mr Teo Chee Hean, said that Singapore is "moving aggressively on solar".

The amount of solar energy that Singapore produces is now less than 2 per cent. Mr Teo said that if Singapore pushed the boundaries, this could grow to "maybe 10, 15, 20 per cent".