Committee of Supply debate: Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources

Industrial sector to face stricter energy laws

Singapore will tackle climate change by targeting the biggest culprits - the industrial sector, responsible for 60 per cent of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

From next year, the Energy Conservation Act will be enhanced and made more stringent, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli yesterday.

The Act now requires large energy users to appoint an energy manager, routinely monitor and report energy use and annual emissions, as well as submit annual energy efficiency improvement plans to the National Environment Agency.

After the laws are tightened, companies will have to ensure common industrial equipment and systems meet minimum energy performance standards, among others.

During the debate on his ministry's budget, Mr Masagos said: "These practices are in line with that of leading jurisdictions and will help companies to adopt more efficient equipment, conserve energy and enjoy life cycle cost savings."

He cited electronic component manufacturer Murata Electronics Singapore as a good example. The firm is replacing 50 motors with higher-efficiency ones, helping it save $21,000 on electricity a year.

Having a structured measurement, reporting and verification system will help pave the way for the carbon tax scheme the Government plans to impose from 2019.

The scheme will tax power stations and other large emitters based on the amount of greenhouse gases they produce, likely in the range of $10 to $20 per tonne.

Other changes to the Act require companies expanding their facilities to factor energy efficiency into their designs, as well as measure and report energy usage for key energy-consuming systems.

Under the Paris climate pact inked in December 2015, Singapore pledged to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases emitted to achieve each dollar of gross domestic product by 36 per cent from 2005 levels, come 2030. It has also pledged to stop any increase to its greenhouse gas emissions by around 2030.

Said Mr Masagos: "As a responsible member of the international community, Singapore is committed to fulfilling our pledge under the Paris Agreement to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions."

But he added the perennial haze - caused by forest fires in countries such as Indonesia due to illegal land clearing methods by palm oil and pulp and paper companies - represents a major setback to global efforts to fight climate change.

Said Mr Masagos: "It is important that we continue to send a strong deterrent signal to errant companies responsible for the fires, that they must change their ways."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 09, 2017, with the headline 'Industrial sector to face stricter energy laws'. Print Edition | Subscribe