New tech centre to help SMEs be more energy-efficient

It will also give SIT engineering students real-world experience in company projects

Singapore Institute of Technology engineering students Surian Raj, 26, Muhammad Firdaus Fawzi Laza, 27, and Clarabelle Chui, 23, are among those who will benefit from the new Energy Efficiency Technology Centre. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI
Singapore Institute of Technology engineering students Surian Raj, 26, Muhammad Firdaus Fawzi Laza, 27, and Clarabelle Chui, 23, are among those who will benefit from the new Energy Efficiency Technology Centre. ST PHOTO: LIM YAOHUI

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking for ways to become more energy-efficient can soon tap expertise at a new tech centre which will help the firms assess how energy-efficient they are and how they can improve their energy performance.

The $5 million Energy Efficiency Technology Centre will be launched here by the end of this year, said Permanent Secretary for the Environment and Water Resources Albert Chua yesterday.

Besides providing SMEs with energy performance assessments, the centre will also serve as a training ground for developing energy assessment skills.

The centre will be hosted by the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).

It will let SIT's engineering undergraduates, as well as industry professionals, get hands-on experience working on real-life energy-efficiency projects for companies.

The first 20 participating SMEs will need to pay only $1,000 for each energy assessment.

Professor Lock Kai Sang, director of the centre and an engineering professor at SIT, said that the assessment will consist of evaluating equipment such as air compressors and steam systems, as well as processes in place over a period of two weeks.

He said: "SMEs lack financial resources and competent people to help them look into energy consumption, unlike bigger companies that can have their own dedicated energy manager."

He added that bigger organisations can also engage energy service companies to do energy assessments, but this can be costly for smaller companies.

A one-off energy management assessment for a small manufacturing plant could cost around $30,000 on the market, noted Prof Lock.

A new Energy Management Information Systems grant, under the National Environment Agency's Energy Efficiency Fund, will also be launched to support companies in tracking real-time energy consumption down to the equipment level.

This will enable faster and more accurate detection of energy wastage.

The launch of the new centre, and the new grant to help industrial companies digitalise the way they monitor their energy performance, are among the latest initiatives by the Government to meet its carbon emission targets.

Under the Paris Agreement in 2015, Singapore has pledged to reduce its emission intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

Mr Chua made the announcement at the opening ceremony of the National Energy Efficiency Conference 2019 at the Max Atria @ Singapore Expo.

The two-day event, which started yesterday, will see more than 400 local and international energy efficiency professionals discuss energy management strategies.

SIT undergraduate Clarabelle Chui, 23, said that the centre will give students like her real-world exposure by letting them do building assessments in different industries.

"It adds on to what we have learnt, such as using simulation software to do energy calculations," she said.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 04, 2019, with the headline New tech centre to help SMEs be more energy-efficient. Subscribe