Schools, govt agencies to find ways to cut electricity use during peak hours

SIAU MING EN Today Online 24 Oct 16;

SINGAPORE — Selected schools and government agencies here will be working with private sector players take the lead in shifting their electricity use to off-peak hours, to make the energy system more efficient.

For example, during contingencies like power failure or disruption to energy supplies, participating consumers can cut back on a pre-agreed amount of electricity use, and the capacity can be routed to where it is most needed, minimising the need to power up additional generators.

Called Project OptiWatt, Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, the Institute of Technical Education, JTC Corporation and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) will be working on managing their energy consumption.

Supporting such efforts will be companies like electricity retailers and those making equipment and materials for the energy sector, which offer programmes and solutions. For example, electricity retailer Red Dot Power has an incentive scheme that pays participating consumers to reduce electricity use during certain periods.

The aim of the project, launched by Trade and Industry (Industry) Minister S Iswaran at the Singapore International Energy Week on Monday (Oct 24), is to test the viability of demand-side management (DSM) measures for the energy industry.

“Through DSM, energy consumption can be shifted from peak to off-peak hours. This reduces the maximum load that the energy system needs to cater to, yielding system-wide benefits,” the Energy Market Authority (EMA) said in a press release.

A study by Professor Frank A Wolak, director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University, found that every megawatt (MW) reduction of peak demand in Singapore could mean system-wide savings of S$1.6 million, the authority said.

Already, a trial at A*STAR managed to shift 0.3 to 0.4MW of electricity load to non-peak hours without affecting its operations. This was done by adjusting the timer of its washers and sterilisers to run outside the peak hours of 11am to 2pm.

And a preliminary trial at NYP to study how its energy consumption could be reduced to respond to real-time system conditions found that the school could cut back the energy consumption of its chillers, which make up 7 per cent of its total consumption, for up to half an hour, with minimal impact on user comfort.

Also taking part in Project OptiWatt is SP PowerAssets Limited, which will explore how DSM technologies can be incorporated into the gird network planning process. “Reduction in peak demand and help manage the costs to expand the grid network and resource needs such as land,” said the EMA. In all, Project OptiWatt will involve 16 partners.

In June, some four years after it held a consultation exercise on introducing a Demand Response programme in Singapore, the EMA rolled it out in the wholesale electricity market. It allows consumers to reduce their electricity demand in exchange for a share of the benefits enjoyed by the system as a result, namely a reduction in wholesale energy prices.

The 16 partners:

Institute of Technical Education
Nanyang Polytechnic
Ngee Ann Polytechnic
Temasek Polytechnic
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
JTC Corporation
Diamond Energy Merchants
Red Dot Power
Seraya Energy
Air Liquide Singapore
Applied Materials South East Asia
Eltek Power
ENGIE Lab Singapore
Energy Research Institute @ NTU
Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University
SP PowerAssets Limited

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