LNG to stay in mix even as Singapore shifts to clean energy

$23m awarded to three companies using it as primary source of fuel, including Senoko

Even as Singapore makes the shift to clean energy sources such as solar power, liquefied natural gas (LNG) will continue to form a substantial part of its energy mix in the near future.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said this yesterday as he announced an award of $23 million in total to three companies here that use LNG as their primary source of fuel.

He was speaking via video call at the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2020 held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Dr Tan noted that although LNG is also a fossil fuel, it is the cleanest one and countries seeking to lower their carbon emissions are increasingly shifting towards using it instead of coal. "LNG is especially attractive for countries that face constraints in deploying renewables due to limitations in geography, size and a lack of hydro or geothermal resources. This is in addition to its lower carbon emissions relative to other fuels," he said.

Today, LNG makes up 95 per cent of Singapore's energy mix. This is up from 26 per cent when it was first used here in 2001.

Dr Tan said Singapore is seen as a natural hub for LNG, and the Government will continue to diversify its sources of the fuel and empower industry players here to capture new growth opportunities, such as an anticipated increase in global demand for natural gas.

The country will also continue to explore new energy solutions, including hydrogen, he added.

Hydrogen, when burned, produces water and no greenhouse gases. If used in large enough amounts, it could significantly reduce demand for fossil fuels.

At the launch of SIEW 2020 on Monday, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said the Government has set aside $49 million to fund low-carbon energy research and test-bedding efforts in hydrogen-and carbon-capture utilisation and storage.

Dr Tan said that while natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, using it still generates carbon emissions. "This is where hydrogen can play its game-changing role... It too could become a bedrock of our economy by helping us meet climate change goals and needs."

The award by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) will see the three companies - Senoko Energy, Tuas Power Generation and YTL PowerSeraya - embark on energy efficiency projects that will reduce their carbon emissions.

When completed by 2024, the projects are expected to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide produced by over 30 kilotonnes a year. This is the equivalent of taking about 9,200 cars off the roads annually, said EMA.

The projects of Senoko Energy and Tuas Power Generation involve improving the thermal efficiency and performance of their turbines. Tuas Power Generation and YTL PowerSeraya are also aiming to optimise the performance of their power plants.

The award was given out under EMA's inaugural Genco Energy Efficiency Grant Call. A second round of the grant call will be launched next January.

EMA chief executive Ngiam Shih Chun said: "Lowering our carbon emissions by promoting greater energy efficiency within our power generation sector is critical in our fight against climate change."

FLOATING SOLAR PANELS

Also speaking at SIEW 2020 yesterday, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu highlighted some of Singapore's other sustainability efforts.

These include a collaboration between the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore and Norwegian organisation Fred. Olsen Renewables to develop floating photovoltaic solutions for seawater and different climatic conditions.

Separately, Singapore's EDB New Ventures will be signing a memorandum of understanding with the venture arm of French utility giant Engie to build a portfolio of new sustainability start-ups that will help companies here and in South-east Asia decarbonise more quickly and profitably.

Ms Fu said: "These new ventures will accelerate the zero-carbon transition, boost employment in a critical and growing segment, and establish Singapore as a hub for sustainability innovation in the region.

"Fighting climate change and making the transition towards a greener economy will require a concerted whole-of-nation effort by industries, individuals and the Government."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2020, with the headline 'LNG to stay in mix even as Singapore shifts to clean energy'. Print Edition | Subscribe