SINGAPORE'S efforts to promote energy efficiency by businesses both big and small have reached an important milestone as the Energy Efficiency National Partnership (EENP) programme marks the successful completion of 10 years. Still, the journey continues to find new ways to promote energy efficiency in the country as more and more companies reap the benefits of being energy efficient and are motivated to continue to keep doing even better going forward.
The National Environment Agency (NEA), the Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Energy Market Authority (EMA) launched the Energy Efficiency National Partnership programme in April 2010. It is an industry-focused voluntary partnership programme for companies that wish to be more energy efficient, to enhance their long-term business competitiveness and reduce their carbon footprint.
The programme aims to support companies in their energy efficiency efforts through learning network activities, provision of energy efficiency related resources, incentives and recognition.
Significantly, as at Oct 1 this year, a total of 311 companies have joined the EENP programme as partners, representing more than 75 per cent of the total primary energy consumption in the country.
As the EENP programme is a voluntary effort, partners commit to work towards adopting an in-house energy management system (EnMS) at the organisational level to continuously and systematically measure and manage energy consumption and identify energy efficiency improvements.
This involves appointing an energy manager in the organisation; developing an energy policy; establishing energy targets; and implementing energy efficiency improvement plans.
The outstanding EENP partners are recognised for their efforts and achievements in improving energy efficiency through the annual EENP Awards which aims to foster a culture of sustained energy efficiency improvement in industry, especially the major energy consuming industries.
The annual EENP awards also aim to encourage companies to adopt a proactive approach towards energy management by identifying and sharing best practices for other companies to emulate. While there are several award categories in the annual awards, this year there are 11 recipients in the following five categories:
- Excellence in Energy Management;
- Outstanding SME of the Year;
- Best Practices;
- Outstanding Energy Manager of the Year;
- Best Energy Efficiency Practices in the Public Sector.
The accompanying box highlights the energy saving effort recognised under these five award categories and lists this year's award recipients.
The annual EENP awards are usually presented at an event in October. But life is not what it used to be and many things have changed this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
NEA will continue to hold the annual awards ceremony this year. Adapting to the pandemic circumstances, it is holding the event digitally for the first time on Oct 8. This year's EENP Awards recipients will be featured in an awards video at the opening of the event.
The EENP Awards 2020 event will be accompanied with an Industrial Energy Efficiency Sharing Session. Going beyond energy efficiency, this year's event will also focus on low-carbon related topics such as decarbonisation pathways for Singapore's industries.
The EENP award recipients are enthusiastic about their energy efficiency promotion efforts. Francis Tan Kok Vui, one of the two recipients of the Outstanding Energy Manager of the Year award this year says that energy efficiency can be another pillar of 'energy source'.
"There is a finite supply of fossil fuel. By using less input to produce the same amount of output, it is viewed as an 'energy source' because it helps to preserve the resource base. One can gain competitive advantage by being more resource efficient in energy resulting in cost savings for higher profits.
"When resources are more efficiently used, companies can build more resilience. Hence, there could be some positive effect on energy security especially in times of uncertainty. In the absence of immediate alternatives, improving energy efficiency by using less energy to produce the same amount of output is one of the most cost-effective ways for reducing GHG (green house gas) emission in the midst of global climate change," says Mr Tan who is manager, process & operation technology (utilities & logistics), technology and optimisation at the Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (Pte) Ltd.
The company is also a winner of the Best Practices award this year.
The other Outstanding Energy Manager of the Year award recipient this year is Lee Kim Leng, regional energy and sustainability program lead, corporate real estate and workplace services, HP Inc. Under his leadership, one of the energy efficiency steps taken by the company is the installation of solar panels on its buildings.
HP continues to look for new ways to decrease its energy footprint. "We are taking action to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption by setting bold goals for our global operations including Singapore to use 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035 and reduce greenhouse gas emission by 60 per cent, compared to 2015," says Mr Lee.
Interestingly, one of the Outstanding Energy Manager award recipients in 2013, Quah Han Song who was then with Infineon Technologies, is now the energy manager at Zeon Chemicals. The company has received the Excellence in Energy Management award this year.
Besides the private sector, the public sector too plays an important role in the national effort to promote energy efficiency. This year, two public sector organisations have won awards for having the Best Energy Efficiency Practices in the Public Sector. They are the Ministry of Communications and Information (MCI) and the Science Centre Board.
MCI has achieved a sizeable reduction in its energy consumption, showing what is possible if an organisation puts its heart into improving its energy efficiency. In 2019, MCI's energy use dropped by 32 per cent from its 2017 consumption level through completing various energy improvement projects.
MCI's projects included replacing air-cooled chillers with water-cooled chillers; replacing more than 80 per cent of the lights with efficient LED lighting over the past three years with various control features such as photocells and motion sensors; and all Air handling units (AHUs) were fitted with variable speed drives (VSDs) to improve air side efficiency.
NEA says that another way the EENP programme supports its industry partners in their energy efficiency efforts is through learning network activities. It adds that over the years, more than 170 learning events such as technical workshops on common industrial systems, share and learn sessions and the biennial National Energy Efficiency Conference (NEEC) have been organised to promote sharing among the EENP partners as well as enhance their competencies in energy management.
The NEEC's main objective as part of the learning network of the EENP programme is to provide thought leadership in energy efficiency, bringing together energy efficiency experts and industry energy professionals to share best practices and case studies of successful projects.
It is noteworthy that the EENP programme focuses on subjects like industry evolution, low carbon and capability development. Under industry evolution, the Singapore Certified Energy Manager (SCEM) programme has trained more than 1,300 engineering professionals to develop expertise and capability in professional energy management.
NEA says that collectively, under this effort, industrial facilities regulated under the Energy Conservation Act were able to achieve an annual average of 247 kilo-tonnes of carbon abatement as a result of the implementation of energy efficiency projects.
To focus on moving towards low carbon, the EENP programme highlights the importance of lowering greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate climate change as Singapore strives to reduce emissions. For instance this effort seeks the exploration of cleaner fuel alternatives such as hydrogen and to move away from HFC (hydrofluorocarbons) refrigerants which are commonly used in refrigeration and air-conditioning (RAC) equipment.
NEA says that HFCs are many times more potent than carbon dioxide in contributing to global warming when emitted into the environment. Compared to HFCs, HFO (hydrofluro-olefins) refrigerants are a more climate friendly alternative with a lower global warming potential (GWP). Therefore, owners and operators of manufacturing facilities are encouraged to adopt water-cooled chillers using refrigerants of low global warming potential.
Meanwhile, as part of capability building, an MOU was signed between NEA and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) during NEEC 2019 for a collaboration to set up an Energy Efficiency Technology Centre (EETC) at SIT.
The new centre aims to help companies, in particular small and medium enterprises (SMEs), discover and implement energy efficiency improvement measures, and build up local industrial energy efficiency capabilities.
While the EETC aims to provide affordable energy assessments to industrial SMEs in Singapore, it also trains undergraduates and seeks to upskill existing practitioners. EETC will be rolling out the first Energy Efficiency Upskilling Programme (EEUP) course for existing practitioners soon and it will be on the topic of Pump and Piping Network. Practitioners and engineers may look out for the opening of course registration.
Energy Efficiency National Partnership Awards 2020
Excellence in Energy Management
This award recognises companies that have demonstrated a high level of commitment to excellence in energy management. The award recipient under this category is:
- Zeon Chemicals Singapore Pte. Ltd.
Outstanding SME of the Year
This award recognises SMEs (in manufacturing or industrial business activities) that have demonstrated a high level of commitment to energy management. The award recipient under this category is:
- Ardentec Singapore Pte Ltd
- Fuisland Offset Printing (S) Pte Ltd
This award recognises corporate teams which had implemented energy efficiency (EE) projects that have led to improvements in the energy performance of their facilities. The award recipients under this category are:
- ExxonMobil Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
- Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (Private) Limited
- Stepan Asia Pte Ltd
- Roche Singapore Technical Operations
Outstanding Energy Manager of the Year
This award recognises outstanding energy managers who have demonstrated leadership in driving EE improvements across their organisation; and played an instrumental role in promoting EE initiatives within their organisation. The award recipients under this category are:
- Lee Kim Leng - HP Inc.
- Francis Tan Kok Vui - Petrochemical Corporation of Singapore (Private) Limited
Best Energy Efficiency Practices in the Public Sector
The award recognises outstanding public sector agencies that have demonstrated exemplary performance and commitment to energy management efforts and have been proactive in implementing EE improvements. The award recipients are:
- Ministry of Communications and Information
- Science Centre Board