Voices of Youth: Renewable energy imports key to carbon neutrality

The Covid-19 pandemic has rocked the foundations of societies and economies across the globe.

But as Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates wrote in a blog post, climate change could be five times as deadly as Covid-19 by 2100.

The climate crisis poses a profoundly existential threat to Singapore, as 30 per cent of our island nation is less than 5m above sea level.

As we consider how to maximise our use of renewable energy, solar power remains Singapore's most promising option by far.

We have already seen growth from a 3.8 megawatt-peak solar capacity in 2010 to approximately 400 megawatt-peak last year.

Furthermore, through the deployment of solar photovoltaics on rooftops, reservoirs and buildings, the aim is to increase the installed capacity to 2 gigawatt-peak by 2030 (Plans to make energy greener as power demand set to rebound, Jan 6).

Even if we do hit the 2030 target, however, solar power would still supply just 3 per cent of Singapore's total electricity consumption.

The limiting factor: land constraints.

The possibility of importing renewable energy from regional power grids seems to be one of the most promising avenues towards a carbon-neutral Singapore.

The recently announced electricity import trial with Malaysia, which will involve the import of 100MW of electricity over a period of two years (Singapore takes multiple steps to ensure greener energy mix, Oct 27, 2020), could pave the way for a regional electricity market.

Over the coming years, renewable electricity imports may define the transition to a more sustainable Singapore.

Hemal Arora, 17

Grade 12 student