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Energy storage systems installed in Singapore to support solar deployment

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Singapore's first utility-scale energy storage system.

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Distributed energy storage system at an electrical switchroom in Punggol.

THE Energy Market Authority (EMA) on Thursday said it has partnered industry stakeholders, the research community and other government agencies to co-create Energy Storage System (ESS) solutions that will help support the growth of solar deployment in Singapore.

This includes the installation of the Republic's first utility-scale ESS at a substation and distributed ESS at the Punggol Housing and Development Board (HDB) estate, EMA noted.

ESS enables the storage of solar energy for later use. A utility-scale ESS is usually larger in capacity and can be deployed at power substations, while a distributed ESS is usually smaller in capacity and can be co-located with existing infrastructure, an EMA spokesperson told The Business Times on Thursday. 

According to EMA, solar is the most viable renewable energy source in Singapore.

With ESS, the intermittency challenges of solar energy due to cloud cover and rain in Singapore's tropical climate can be mitigated, EMA said.

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The authority also noted that the "fast response nature" of ESS will help to maintain a reliable source of power supply when solar installations are affected by weather changes.

Through a partnership between EMA and SP Group, Singapore deployed its first utility-scale ESS at a substation this month that has a capacity of 2.4 megawatts, or the equivalent of powering more than 200 four-room HDB flats for a day, EMA said.

The ESS will participate in the wholesale electricity market to provide services necessary to mitigate intermittency caused by solar, as well as reduce peak demand. It will also provide insights into ESS's performance under Singapore's hot and humid environment and will aid in establishing technical guidelines for such deployments which are currently not available, EMA added.

Ngiam Shih Chun, EMA's chief executive, said energy storage systems are "one of the most promising solutions" to help Singapore integrate more solar energy into the power grid.

"We have been working with partners to facilitate the deployment of different ESS solutions. This is critical in supporting Singapore's target of at least two gigawatt-peak of solar deployment by 2030," he added.

Stanley Huang, group chief executive officer at SP Group, noted that the national power grid operator is committed to supporting Singapore's transition to a low-carbon and smart energy city-state.

"The deployment of ESS, designed for local conditions, will enable us to incorporate a greater amount of renewables and other sustainable energy solutions into our electricity grid," Mr Huang said.

Separately, EMA has worked with Sunseap and HDB to deploy distributed ESS at electrical switchrooms for five HDB blocks in Punggol. This project seeks to address solar intermittency for large-scale solar installations by using HDB blocks as test sites, EMA noted. Insights gained from this project will demonstrate how it can potentially be applied for future deployments in the Republic.

To guide the development of Singapore's ESS ecosystem, EMA also commissioned the Energy Research Institute @ Nanyang Technological University and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research to develop Singapore's first ESS Technology Roadmap. The roadmap provides insights on the technological trends and economics of ESS, and can be accessed online at go.gov.sg/ess-roadmap-2020.

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