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Singapore embarks on trial to import electricity from Malaysia over two years

Electricity - ST file.jpg
LNG, the cleanest fossil fuel, provides for 95 per cent of Singapore's electricity generation.

SINGAPORE is embarking on a trial to import electricity from Malaysia over the next two years, even as the government sets aside about S$50 million to fund research into low-carbon solutions, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said on Monday.

The Republic is planning to tap green energy from around the region through regional power grids, kicking this off with 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity imports over a trial period of two years, he said, adding that the trial will allow the authorities to see how technical challenges can be overcome.

"This will allow the region to share the clean energy sources that different countries may have, and we'll start this with Malaysia. Once the concept takes off, we'll be able to extend this to other players," Mr Chan said.

Meanwhile, the S$50 million will be used for low-carbon energy research and test-bedding effort in hydrogen and carbon-capture utilisation and storage (CCUS), he added.

"We'll be working to see how we can combine the use of hydrogen with our existing LNG (liquefied natural gas) mix for us to have an even cleaner energy mix for Singapore," the minister said in his opening remarks at the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2020.

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LNG, the cleanest fossil fuel, provides for 95 per cent of Singapore's electricity generation.

In addition, the Republic is aiming to accelerate its solar adoption, potentially achieving 1.5 Gigawatt-peak (GWp) of solar deployment by 2025, Mr Chan said. This would be equivalent to 2 per cent of Singapore's total electricity demand.

This additional milestone to the original target of two GWp by 2030 allows the authorities to "frontload the production of solar", he added. In the second quarter of 2020, Singapore's solar deployment was 390 Megawatt-peak.

At the same time, Singapore is looking to develop better energy storage systems to address the intermittent nature of solar energy, according to Mr Chan.

He said the Energy Market Authority and Keppel Offshore and Marine have jointly awarded a research grant to a consortium led by Envision Digital on energy storage systems for the deployment of Singapore's first stacked energy storage system on Keppel's Floating Living Lab, which can potentially reduce land footprint by up to 40 per cent.

Also on Monday morning, Singapore signed a memorandum of understanding with Australia to drive low-emissions solutions, including hydrogen, CCUS and renewable energy trade.

"We look forward to a close partnership with Australia, and we hope to forge such partnerships with other like-minded countries," Mr Chan said.

These are part of the Republic's plans for powering green and designing sustainable market structures, which, together with the goal of living green, form its broader vision of being a "bright green spark" for the world, according to the minister.

The five-day SIEW 2020 takes on a hybrid format of virtual and physical sessions for the first time since it was first held in 2008 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

It is also one of the first events in Singapore to pilot the use of Covid-19 antigen rapid tests for its over 200 participants at Marina Bay Sands, as the city-state begins its transition towards a Phase Three economic reopening.

"This is an important day not just for SIEW, but it marks the resumption of MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) events in Singapore. We are back in business," Mr Chan said.

He said the announcements mark Singapore's confidence and effort, adding that the country will not wait for Covid-19 to pass by and "return to the good old days".

"Instead of waiting, we are going to start today, learning to live in a Covid-19 world, investing in the long term for both a Covid-19 and post-Covid-19 world," Mr Chan said, adding that these are long-term plans which will not be realised in the next two years.

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