S'pore shifting to cleaner alternatives, but LNG to remain primary energy source for now

LNG makes up 95 per cent of Singapore's energy mix. PHOTO: ST FILE

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

Second Minister for Trade and Industry Tan See Leng said this on Tuesday (Oct 28) as he announced a $23 million award in total to three companies here that use LNG as their primary source of fuel.

Dr Tan was speaking via video conference at the Singapore International Energy Week (Siew) 2020 held at Sands Expo and Convention Centre.

Although LNG is still a fossil fuel, he noted that it is the cleanest one, and that 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," said Dr Tan.

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 that Singapore is seen as a natural hub for LNG, adding that the Government will continue to diversify its sources of the fuel and empower industry players here to capture new growth opportunities, such as a forecasted 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, Minister for Trade and Industry 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.

Touching on this, Dr Tan said 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," he added.

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 kilo tonnes per annum. This is the equivalent of taking about 9,200 cars off the roads annually, said EMA.

Senoko Energy and Tuas Power Generation's projects 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 in January next year.

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 on Tuesday, 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 various 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 in Singapore and South-east Asia to decarbonise more quickly and profitably.

"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," said Ms Fu.

She shared that over 650 made-in-Singapore solar panels have been installed at the community care facility for Covid-19 patients at Changi Exhibition Centre, producing about 20 per cent of its projected energy needs while reducing carbon emissions.

Ms Fu said: "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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