Laws to be amended to drive industrial energy efficiency

NEO CHAI CHIN Today Online 12 Jan 17;

SINGAPORE — The Government will announce measures this year to give the industrial sector a bigger push to become more energy efficient, with changes to be made to the Energy Conservation Act, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli yesterday.

This is to achieve Singapore’s commitment under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

The ministry will announce its plans at its parliamentary Committee of Supply debate in March, and Mr Masagos told about 40 representatives from the sector at a consultation session yesterday that there will be new initiatives as well as the enhancement of some existing measures.

Industry is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in Singapore, accounting for about 59 per cent of total emissions in 2012. The sector pledged to improve energy efficiency — which essentially means producing the same amount of goods using less energy — by 0.7 per cent in 2014, but fell short of the target with actual improvement of 0.4 per cent.

“Certainly we can do more,” said Mr Masagos, pointing to Belgium and the Netherlands improving industrial energy efficiency by 1 to 2 per cent annually.

Asked why Singapore’s industrial sector fell short of its target, he said the Energy Conservation Act was introduced in 2012 and the sector needed time to adjust and understand what it had to do. The sector is varied, but companies are now more familiar with reporting requirements and how efficiencies can be achieved, he said.

Under the Energy Conservation Act, energy intensive users in the industry sector (consuming 54 terajoules or more a year, or about the energy consumption of 3,300 four-room public housing households) had to appoint certified energy managers from April 2013, and monitor and report their energy use and annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Energy managers, senior management and company heads at the consultation session said government grants will help. Grants are important for small or medium companies that do not have access to as much capital as multinational firms. And government schemes should not be too onerous to apply for, they added.

Large firms are able to apply solutions to a large base of equipment and can leverage central solutions, which smaller firms are not able to do, said Mr Lee Kok Choy, managing director and Singapore country manager of Micron Semiconductor Asia.

While companies can equip new plants with energy-efficient equipment, the retro-fitting of existing plants is trickier — for one, the return-on-investment must be justifiable, attendees said.

And after reaping low-hanging fruit, the next step may be very complex. “The typical industry will have 2,000 to 5,000 pumps. Let’s say 50 per cent of the pumps are easily replaceable — we call it the roughing pump, which can be changed easily, and it will not affect the manufacturing process. The other 50 per cent are process pumps and directly relate to the process (such as bringing in the gas and pumping out chemicals) … That chain is much more challenging,” said Mr Jagadish C V, chief executive of Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Co.

Singapore also lacks energy experts with skills specific to industries such as oil and gas or food manufacturing, some attendees said.

The Government could be clearer on its environmental priorities when there are competing objectives — for instance, treating waste water and harmful gas emissions are desirable but would consume energy, noted a participant.

New plans to improve industrial energy efficiency, in fight against climate change
Nur Afifah Ariffin Channel NewsAsia 11 Jan 17;

SINGAPORE: As part of Singapore's efforts to mitigate climate change, the Government will introduce new initiatives as well as enhance existing ones to improve industrial energy efficiency. The industrial sector is one of the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

There are also plans this year to amend the Energy Conservation Act, the legislation that governs energy use among energy-intensive companies, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday (Jan 11).

Addressing about 40 industry sector representatives at his ministry's pre-Budget consultation session, Mr Masagos said Singapore has made good progress since the Energy Conservation Act was enacted in 2012.

Since then, the Government and industry have worked together to develop basic energy management practices and appoint sustainability managers for all energy-intensive industrial facilities.

As a result, slight progress in industrial energy efficiency has been recorded, improving by 0.4 per cent in 2014. Still, that is lower than the 0.7 per cent target.

“The achievement across the industry is quite varied. And we have to ensure now that the industry is more familiar with what they need to do,” said Mr Masagos. “Particularly in this case - putting in energy managers, putting in a reporting system. They are now more aware (of) what can be done; how efficiencies can be achieved.”

Mr Masagos stressed that there is room for improvement. He called on the sector to strive to achieve industrial energy efficiency improvement rates of one to two per cent annually - something that leading developed countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands have accomplished.

Singapore formalised its commitment to reduce emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, when it ratified the Paris Agreement in September last year. It also pledged to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions, with the aim of peaking around 2030.

Mr Masagos said the agreement, which came into force in November 2016, is a prime example of the need for all stakeholders to work together to achieve global sustainability.

At the consultation session on Wednesday, industry representatives from the private sector, academia and non-governmental organisations also shared feedback and best practices in achieving energy efficiency.

One representative brought up the need to upgrade the skills of energy managers, as there is currently a lack of deep technical knowledge in the field. There were also proposals to encourage the sharing of expertise, as well as for financial incentives to be provided for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The ministry will provide more details of the initiatives it plans to roll out after the Budget is announced on Feb 20.

- CNA/dl

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