Students tour nerve centre of power system

Polytechnic students in the viewing gallery of the Energy Market Authority's Power System Control Centre yesterday.
Polytechnic students in the viewing gallery of the Energy Market Authority's Power System Control Centre yesterday.ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

A handful of tertiary students had the rare opportunity to tour the inside of the Power System Control Centre of the Energy Market Authority (EMA) yesterday.

Organised by EMA, the visit to the centre is part of a programme that allows students and educators to tour facilities that are usually closed to the public.

The visit gave about 20 students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Singapore Polytechnic a glimpse of operations in the centre's highly secured control room, where energy flow across Singapore is monitored and regulated.

They also had an overview of Singapore's power system and the functions of the EMA and the control centre.

The students were given a personality quiz to get them thinking about the roles they might like to play in the energy industry in future.

The programme, known as the Powering Lives Trail, also includes visits to facilities such as the Liquefied Natural Gas Terminal on Jurong Island, where gas to power Singapore is imported, and the Pulau Ubin Micro-grid Test-bed, which assesses the reliability of electricity supply in a micro-grid set-up using intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar energy.

The programme, now into its third year, has had more than 2,000 students and educators from secondary schools and tertiary institutions taking part in it.

Yesterday, EMA's director of industry development and chief information officer Alvin Yeo said the initiative aims to give students an opportunity to apply some of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics concepts they learnt in the classroom to specific areas of the energy system.

For instance, during the tour, students applied concepts from physics to understand why electricity has to be transmitted at a higher voltage through Singapore's energy system.

The Powering Lives Trails programme has two main aims: to give students an insight into careers in the power sector and inspire new ideas about Singapore's energy future, Dr Yeo said.

It is part of a broader plan to draw young talent to the power sector and combat its ageing workforce. The response from teachers and students has been "quite encouraging", he added.

Mr An' Shazwan, 22, a second-year electrical and electronic engineering student at Singapore Poly, said: "I learnt that there are people working very hard round the clock just to keep the lights on."

He said he may seek a job at EMA, adding: "In the future, we may want to focus on renewable energy, and I might have a few ideas to make that happen."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 02, 2019, with the headline 'Students tour nerve centre of power system'. Print Edition | Subscribe