Businesses urged to invest in energy efficiency

This will reduce their risk of being affected by fluctuations in energy prices, says Grace Fu

Businesses should invest in energy efficiency initiatives to reduce the risk of being affected by fluctuations in energy prices, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu yesterday.

While there are initial costs involved, energy efficiency projects will bear fruit in the form of lower operating costs, she added.

Speaking at the 7th National Energy Efficiency Conference, Ms Fu said: "Businesses thrive on stability and predictability. Energy efficiency projects reduce the business risk of exposure to volatile global energy markets and hence electricity prices."

The two-day conference, held virtually for the first time, focuses on how companies can reduce costs as well as emissions by being more energy efficient.

Around the world, companies and citizens are struggling with increases in the prices of electricity, gas and fuel.

Similar to how an LED bulb can provide the same amount of illumination as an incandescent bulb but with less energy used, energy-efficient initiatives will allow firms to continue their operations with a reduction in energy input.

As most energy generated in Singapore comes from fossil fuels, being energy efficient will also have a positive impact on the climate.

Meanwhile, as part of the conference, 13 companies and individuals were recognised at the Energy Efficiency National Partnership Awards yesterday.

Home-grown packaging solutions firm Containers Printers won the Outstanding SME of the Year award for its green efforts. In 2019, the company installed more than 4,000 solar panels on its rooftops.

The energy generated meets 20 per cent of its electricity needs and has led to a reduction of 800 tonnes a year in its carbon emissions. This is equivalent to removing 160 cars from the road a year.

Its chief executive, Ms Amy Chung, told The Straits Times that energy costs in Singapore are not as competitive as those in other parts of the world. "So it is important that we find ways to mitigate, or better yet, overcome this potential weakness."

The goal is to cut energy consumption by 5 per cent and carbon emissions by 10 per cent by 2023. "We are on track to meet this target," she said, adding that energy reduction is also in line with the carbon emission reduction targets of many governments and corporate organisations, including "those of our customers".

Another award winner was Concentrate Manufacturing Singapore, which makes concentrates used in soft drinks by PepsiCo.

The company started its energy-efficiency projects in 2018 and these have helped reduce its energy intensity - the quantity of energy required per unit of output or activity - by 44 per cent as at June.

It also optimised its chiller plant in the last quarter of 2019, resulting in energy savings of 149,000 kilowatt hours last year. For its efforts, it received the Excellence in Energy Management award.

Ms Fu noted that while Singapore accounts for just 0.1 per cent of global carbon emissions, local organisations and firms need to do their part to fight climate change.

Earlier this year, the Singapore Green Plan 2030 was launched as a blueprint to help the nation reduce its carbon footprint.

"One of the key pillars under the Green Plan is 'Energy Reset', where we will green our energy sources, and undergird this with energy efficiency to reduce demand," said the minister. "This will be critical for Singapore to transform into a low-carbon and energy-efficient economy."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 13, 2021, with the headline 'Businesses urged to invest in energy efficiency'. Subscribe