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Helping SATS to achieve savings in energy costs

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Mr Chen: "Improving energy efficiency in our operations is the most effective way to combat the rise in energy costs because it is practical and sustainable."

ONE of the two winners of the Outstanding Energy Manager of the Year award this year is Chen Jiayi, energy manager of SATS Ltd. This award category recognises outstanding energy managers who have demonstrated leadership in driving energy efficiency improvement across the organisation, and played an instrumental role in promoting energy efficiency initiatives within the organisation.

Mr Chen, who has been an energy manager at SATS since 2012, convinced the company's senior management to embark on a series of energy efficiency (EE) projects like retrofitting high bay lamps and chilled water systems, and optimisation of boilers. He helped his company management to understand the financial benefits of implementing such projects through life cycle cost analyses, and tapped various government incentive schemes to improve the economic feasibility of the projects. Mr Chen also made an effort to educate and convince the different business units of the benefits of energy efficiency.

Through close collaboration with them, he successfully implemented the following projects, which reduced the organisation's overall electricity consumption by more than 10 per cent from 2014's consumption level: modernisation of chiller plant for Airfreight Terminals 2, 3, 5 and 6; modernisation of chiller plant for Catering Centre 1; modernisation of chiller plant for Catering Centre 2; and upgrading of boilers for Catering Centre 2.

He was also instrumental in the installation of a 3.6 megawatt-peak solar array - one of the largest solar photo voltaic systems in Singapore - at Changi Airfreight Terminals 5 and 6. The solar array could generate about 4.5 GWh of renewable energy annually.

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Besides getting buy-in from the senior management and other business units to drive EE practices in the organisation, Mr Chen emphasised the importance of teamwork in driving EE and ensured that the efforts of the business units were acknowledged by the senior management.

Improving energy efficiency is one of the most cost effective ways to address the challenges of energy cost, energy security and global climate change, says Mr Chen.

"Mindful of the consequences of climate change, we actively minimise and manage our impact on the environment, and have embarked on several initiatives that have resulted in significant energy savings and reducing our carbon footprint.

"Improving energy efficiency in our operations is the most effective way to combat the rise in energy costs because it is practical and sustainable for our business."

Being energy efficient means optimising energy costs and being resilient to energy price shocks. It also means that equipment works efficiently with less downtime, and this requires a good maintenance regime. While it may be tempting to cut maintenance budget, companies should take a long-term view on the financial and operating benefits arising from maintaining their equipment well, Mr Chen adds.

Highlighting some of the energy efficiency initiatives taken by him at the company in recent years and how the company has benefited from them, Mr Chen says that SATS embarked on a chiller modernisation programme in 2014 under which it harnessed technology and retrofitted the entire chiller system, which helped it to save about 3.9 GWh per year: enough energy to power some 7,800 refrigerators for a year. This enabled SATS to reduce its electricity demand by about 10 per cent. It has also installed one of the largest solar arrays in Singapore and the system is expected to generate 4.5 GWh per year of electricity.

For developing in-house capability in energy efficiency, he says that effort is being made by a small team. "We work closely with our stakeholders and business units on the implementation of energy efficient initiatives, to ensure they can be integrated into our operations," he adds.

On the company's plans for promoting energy efficiency, Mr Chen says that SATS has established its 2030 goals to reduce emissions with the adoption of renewable energy. "We are also exploring ways to convert our waste to energy such as electricity and hot utility. We are also working with technology solution partners to implement co/tri-generation systems in our future facilities."

Asked how he felt on being named one of the two outstanding energy managers of the year, he said: "I feel honoured and happy that my efforts in spearheading energy efficient projects have been recognised on a national level."

SATS is Asia's leading provider of gateway services and food solutions. Its comprehensive gateway services encompass airfreight handling, passenger services, ramp handling, baggage handling, aviation security services, aircraft interior and exterior cleaning as well as cruise centre management. The food solutions include airline catering, institutional and remote catering, aviation laundry as well as food distribution and logistics. SATS is present at 62 cities and 60 airports across Asia and the Middle East. SATS has been listed on the Singapore Exchange since May 2000.