SINGAPORE - An upcoming integrated waste treatment facility in Tuas will be the first infrastructure project by a statutory board here that will be financed through green bonds, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu said on Tuesday (Aug 17).
The National Environment Agency (NEA) - a statutory board under her ministry - has established a $3 billion multi-currency medium-term note programme and a green bond framework.
Proceeds from the note issuance will support sustainable projects which meet the eligibility criteria in the framework. Such developments yield environmental benefits such as resource recovery and more efficient land use.
One of these projects is the Tuas Nexus Integrated Waste Management Facility, which will be the region's most advanced and efficient, noted NEA chief executive Luke Goh.
It will "treat separate waste streams with greater energy efficiency and reduce Singapore waste resource management's overall carbon footprint", he added.
More details on the inaugural issuance of NEA's Green Bond under the medium-term note programme will be announced later, the agency said.
Tuas Nexus consists of two mega facilities - the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant, which will be managed by national water agency PUB, and the Integrated Waste Management Facility that will be run by NEA.
Together, they make up Singapore's first integrated water and solid waste treatment project, and will be ready from 2025.
Land use is optimised, as the integrated development saves up to 2.6ha of land, the size of four football fields, compared with building two standalone facilities.
By treating both used water and food waste on the same site, more biogas can be produced and used as energy by the project.
Coupled with other renewable energy sources, including solar panels and conversion of heat produced by incinerators into electricity, it will be completely energy self-sufficient.
Tenders amounting to more than $5 billion for civil, mechanical and electrical engineering works for Tuas Nexus will be called progressively over five years, NEA and PUB said in 2018.
NEA's issuance of green bonds will "help develop green finance solutions and markets", supporting the country's vision to become a leading centre for green finance, said Ms Fu.
"This is a major milestone to catalyse the flow of capital towards sustainable development, and green our economy," she added at an event to launch the Plastics Recycling Association of Singapore.
The Republic, with its strength as a financial hub, has identified green finance as an area of growth under its Green Plan for sustainable development.
Green finance essentially entails investments in projects with a positive environmental outcome.
The medium-term note programme and green bond framework come after Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said earlier at this year's Budget that the Government will be issuing green bonds on selected public infrastructure projects, including Tuas Nexus.
Some $19 billion of public sector green projects have been identified, he added then.
During Tuesday's event at the Singapore Sustainability Academy in City Square Mall, Ms Fu said the Government cannot achieve a circular economy alone.
The term refers to the cycle of reusing and repurposing resources instead of using virgin materials.
To this end, the setting up of the Plastics Recycling Association of Singapore is timely, she said.
The association is an initiative of the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce and comprises waste management companies, chemical producers, government agencies and institutes of higher learning.
The association announced two key focus areas at its launch.
The first is a feasibility study to set up a PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Singapore.
The goal is to tap recycled material to make new bottles, helping to reduce the volume of discarded bottles and virgin material.
The second is the establishment of a Plastics Recycling Centre of Excellence, to bring together centres around the world with the scientific knowledge, technological skills, strategies and sustainability credentials to generate solutions.
Five agreements were signed between the centre and international partners in this area, including one with the University of Toronto for research and development of renewable bio-based plastics. Most plastics now are derived from fossil fuels.
Mr Edwin Khew, president of the association, said: "Today's launch is exciting, as it marks active, actionable steps towards that goal. We are grateful to the Singapore Government for putting such a strong focus on the importance of sustainability, as well as our different partners for working together with us towards that goal."