New standards to boost energy efficiency

New industrial facilities will have to meet minimum energy efficiency standards (MEES) in their water-cooled chilled water systems from Dec 1 next year, the National Environmental Agency (NEA) said yesterday.

The requirement applies to new industrial facilities that apply for planning approval on or after Dec 1 next year. Meanwhile, existing energy-intensive industrial facilities regulated under the Energy Conservation Act (ECA) must conform to the new standards by Dec 1, 2025, while the deadline for those in other industrial facilities is Dec 1, 2029.

The new standards will "reduce energy consumption in industrial facilities by at least 245 gigawatt hours annually, equivalent to taking more than 21,000 cars off the road", NEA said.

The introduction of the new standards comes after data submitted by energy-intensive industrial facilities regulated under the ECA revealed that chilled water systems for process and space cooling accounted for about 16 per cent of the electricity consumed, making them the second-highest electricity-consuming system in the industry.

Furthermore, over 70 per cent of these systems were operating at sub-optimal efficiency, and these systems are also the predominant type of chilled water system in these facilities, and account for more than 90 per cent of the electricity consumed by chilled water systems.

NEA said firms may use different approaches to meet MEES, such as installing more energy-efficient chillers. Grants are available to help companies upgrade their water-cooled chilled water systems before the mandatory requirement kicks in.

The new standards were first announced by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli last month. It was then reported that MEES would help companies save about $37 million in energy costs a year by 2025.

The latest move comes as Singapore has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emission intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, as well as stabilise greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

NEA will review the system operating performance and other key performance data of the chilled water systems every year. It may also conduct on-site checks of the accuracy of the measurement and verification system installed by companies. It is also looking at the feasibility of extending MEES to other industrial systems and equipment.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 27, 2019, with the headline 'New standards to boost energy efficiency'. Print Edition | Subscribe