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EMA, Enterprise Singapore launch grant call for local enterprises to develop solar energy solutions

THE Energy Market Authority (EMA) and Enterprise Singapore have jointly launched a grant call for local enterprises to develop solutions in deploying solar energy and optimising energy consumption.

The inaugural joint grant call also seeks to build up small and medium-sized enterprises' capabilities and intellectual properties in the energy industry, while supporting the growth and internationalisation of their businesses.  This is in line with the EMA’s efforts to catalyse research and development initiatives to keep Singapore’s energy options open and to strengthen the resilience of the power system.

All proposals must be submitted by Nov 23, 2018, 12pm.

In addition, power engineering has been identified by the public service as a critical skill set given that power systems form the backbone of critical public and commercial infrastructure, from transportation to utilities.

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To build these professional capabilities, the EMA, together with the Public Service Division and SkillsFuture Singapore, have collaborated to extend the SkillsFuture Earn-and-Learn Programme to polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education (ITE) graduates pursuing power engineering-related roles in the public service.

Under this collaboration, eligible polytechnic and ITE graduates will undergo a structured training programme. This will include facilitated learning, on-the-job training and work-based projects in the public service. Participants will receive a sign-on incentive of S$5,000.

The EMA has also awarded a total of S$15 million in research grants to seven projects to strengthen the cyber, physical and market resilience of the Republic's power systems and energy markets, to be completed by 2021.

The projects were chosen after a grant call launched in May 2017, and will use technologies such as blockchain, data analytics, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.

The first challenge that they aim to address is market resilience; three projects will look into enhancing energy market operations and trading through distributed ledger technologies.

Among them is a digital electricity retail model using blockchain technology. This will create a decentralised, secure and tamper-proof ledger of all transactions to facilitate peer-to-peer trading and payment. It is also expected to reduce customer costs by up to 20 per cent by doing away with intermediaries. The Experimental Power Grid Centre, National University of Singapore (NUS), Nanyang Technological University, Beebryte and PacificLight Energy are collaborating on this.

On the second challenge of physical resilience, two projects will address the resilience, reliability and efficiency of power assets across the entire value chain. One of them involves the development of novel heat transfer materials for district cooling systems. If successful, the collaboration between NUS and Keppel District Heating and Cooling Systems could result in energy efficiency improvements and space savings for district cooling systems by as much as five times.

Cyber resilience is the third challenge that the projects looked at. One of the two projects being awarded is the development of a state-of-the-art network intrusion detection system. The project will leverage artificial intelligence to significantly improve online detection and mitigation of active IT threats for industrial control systems. The Singapore University of Technology and Design will collaborate with ST Electronics (Info-Security) to develop the technology. This will use machine learning and adaptation to respond rapidly to cyberthreats.

EMA chief executive Ngiam Shih Chun said: "While Singapore has one of the world's most stable and reliable power systems, this cannot be taken for granted. Emerging trends such as distributed generation of energy and smart grids are transforming the energy sector. The government is therefore supporting these projects which have the potential to enhance the efficiency and reliability of our electricity and gas systems, building upon emerging trends."