Singapore has recently submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat. Each country is requested to submit their INDC before the Conference of Parties in Paris in December this year so as to facilitate the development of a new global climate agreement for the post-2020 period.
Singapore’s INDC states that it intends to reduce its Emissions Intensity (EI) by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030. Singapore’s Emissions Intensity or greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per S$GDP (at 2010 prices) in 2005 is 0.176 kgCO2e/S$. A reduction of 36% would mean that Singapore’s EI in 2030 is projected to be 0.113 kgCO2e/S$. Read more
The requirements for mandatory energy management under Singapore’s new Energy Conservation Act has come into force this Earth Day on 22 April 2013.
The Act requires large energy consuming companies to register with the National Environment Agency (NEA) and implement mandatory energy management practices. Companies are required to appoint an energy manager, monitor and report energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, and submit annual energy efficiency improvement plans. Read more
The much-anticipated National Climate Change Strategy 2012 (NCCS-2012) document was launched today by DPM Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change (IMCCC).
The 140-page document outlines Singapore’s strategy and plans to address climate change and is published by the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) in collaboration with the IMCCC agencies, and after private sector and public consultations.
Key Points in NCCS-2012
The NCCS-2012 document first outlines the challenges and impacts of climate change in Chapter 1 – Climate Change and Why It Matters, and highlights the current efforts by the world and Singapore’s own efforts in sustainable development and the constraints we face in Chapter 2 – Sustainable Development: Singapore’s National Circumstances. Read more
Singapore submitted its Second National Communication on Climate Change report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat in Nov 2010. The report is an update of the first National Communication report submitted in 2000, and details the strategies for managing sustainable growth and climate change in Singapore.
The national reports are required for Parties to the Convention to submit to the Conference of the Parties (COP), and serve to provide a consistent, comparable, accurate and complete account of action being taken by Parties to the Convention to address climate change in their own country.
The report reiterates Singapore’s constraints, being:
- a small, densely populated urban city-state
- energy-poor and alternative energy disadvantaged
- an export-oriented economy
But it also points out Singapore’s sustainable growth:
The report shows that Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions for 2000 is 38,789.97 Gg CO2-equivalent, and CO2 accounted for 97.3% of total emissions. Singapore’s 2000 National Greenhouse Gas Inventory is shown below:
The report highlights Singapore’s vulnerability and adaptation measures, including commissioning a vulnerability study to determine the likely long-term effects of climate change on Singapore, such as rainfall patterns, sea levels, extreme weather conditions, building energy consumption, public health, and biodiversity. The study findings will serve to identify new adaptation measures and review existing measures.
The report also highlights Singapore’s key mitigation measures:
- Adopt less carbon-intensive fuels such as natural gas
- Increase energy efficiency across households, industry, buildings, and transport sectors (driven by the Energy Efficiency Programme Office)
- Invest in research and development for clean energy such as solar energy
The Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) was formed in May 2009 to “develop strategies for Singapore to build capabilities and maximise opportunities as a global city in a new world environment, so as to achieve sustained and inclusive growth.” The ESC is chaired by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Minister for Finance, and comprises members from the government, the labour movement, the private sector as well as academia.
The ESC submitted the report of its key recommendations to the Prime Minister in Feb 2010. In its report, the ESC highlighted 7 key strategies, one of which is for Singapore to become a Smart Energy Economy. This key strategy was developed by the ESC Sub-Committee on Energy Resilience and Sustainable Growth, which was formed to “recommend strategies to achieve our national energy objectives: economic competitiveness, energy security and environmental sustainability.”
Here are the 5 strategies and 11 recommendations to help Singapore build a Smart Energy Economy: Resilient, Sustainable and Innovative
Strategy 1: Diversifying our Energy Sources
1. Allow entry of new energy options on a market basis
2. Develop renewable energy sources
3. Study the feasibility of the nuclear energy option and develop expertise in nuclear energy technologies
Strategy 2: Enhancing Infrastructure and Systems
4. Invest in critical energy infrastructure ahead of demand
5. Develop Jurong Island as an energy-optimised industrial cluster
Strategy 3: Increasing Energy Efficiency
6. Promote energy efficiency for buildings, industry and in homes
7. Support clean and efficient technologies in transportation
Strategy 4: Strengthening the Green Economy
8. Establish energy as a key national R&D priority
9. Build capabilities for the green economy
10. Apply a green lens to government procurement
Strategy 5: Pricing Energy Right
11. Price energy to reflect its total cost
Here is an overview of the strategies and recommendations for a Smart Energy Economy:
As a small, resource-constrained country, we have to ensure that energy does not become a limiting barrier for Singapore’s economic competitiveness and growth. We also have to play our part in reducing carbon emissions as a responsible member of the global community. We must become a smart energy economy – resilient, sustainable, and innovative in our energy use.
In the medium term, Singapore should explore coal and electricity imports to diversify both the fuel types and fuel source countries in our energy portfolio. The import of electricity is an option which can free up valuable land in Singapore. It could also allow us to tap on the significant renewable energy potential in our region, such as in the form of hydro-electricity or geothermal power.
For the long-term, we must continue supporting innovation and investing in the infrastructure necessary to develop renewable energy. We should also study the feasibility of nuclear energy, a possible option in the long-run to meet baseload electricity demand, as well as energy security and sustainability imperatives. Advances in nuclear technology will make it much safer than earlier designs, and we should carefully study its viability for a small city-state like Singapore.
Push ahead to establish Intelligent Energy Systems (IES) as the centrepiece of a smart energy economy. The IES will promote greater competition among retailers and enable households to make informed choices on their electricity consumption. At the same time, the IES will incorporate devices such as smart meters and home automation networks to programme appliances to function during off-peak hours when electricity prices are lowest.
Make early investments in public goods such as energy infrastructure to improve national energy security and efficiency. One example is the liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal which will allow Singapore to gain access to global gas markets. Investing in the extension of the gas pipeline infrastructure can also potentially reduce the cost of electricity and open up new economic clusters in Singapore.
Develop Jurong Island as an energy-optimised industrial cluster. We should harness innovative systems-level solutions, to provide integrated, low-cost and low-carbon solutions for the industry clusters on the island. For example, recycling waste heat from industry for desalinating sea water; the desalinated water would then be channelled back to industry for cooling industrial processes, forming a virtuous cycle. With government planning and infrastructure investment to enable such “exchanges”, we can significantly improve resource efficiency.
Step up measures to promote energy efficiency for buildings, industry and in homes. We should enhance incentives, education and adopt essential legislation such as mandatory energy audits which will help build energy conservation know-how and internalise energy management practices.
Support low-carbon solutions in transportation. We should continue the shift of commuter load to public transport and support the introduction of clean and efficient technologies for public buses. This will ensure that energy-efficient public transport can be realised without higher prices for commuters. We should set the appropriate incentives for the adoption of clean vehicle technologies for private vehicles by awarding the Green Vehicle Rebate (GVR) based on fuel efficiency or carbon emissions of the vehicle.
Price energy to reflect its total cost, taking into account various externalities and constraints, such as energy security and environmental sustainability. Appropriate price signals could both promote the use of, as well as encourage investments in energy-efficient and low-carbon solutions.
The Government should study how best to implement a carbon pricing scheme in anticipation of future carbon constraints, should there be a global agreement on climate change. It can also insure us against future spikes in energy prices. This should be carefully calibrated and introduced gradually, with offsets for specific groups like low income households to buffer the transition.
Image credit: ESC Report