Enhancements to Energy Conservation Act to include better reporting of greenhouse gas emissions

Monica Kotwani Channel NewsAsia 8 Mar 17;

SINGAPORE: Large industrial emitters in Singapore will need to improve how they measure and report greenhouse gas emissions, in order for them to better understand and manage emissions.

These requirements will be set out in the Energy Conservation Act (ECA) which will be enhanced to help companies adopt more energy-efficient processes, announced Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli in Parliament on Wednesday (Mar 8).

"To pave the way for a robust carbon tax regime, we need to have a sound measurement, reporting and verification system in place," he said in his ministry's Committee of Supply speech. It was announced during last month's Budget that the Government will introduce a carbon tax on large direct greenhouse gas emitters from 2019.

Providing more details in a statement, the National Environment Agency (NEA) said large industrial facilities will need to submit a monitoring plan and, once approved by NEA, will have to submit an improved emissions report based on the plan.

NEA said that under the current ECA, registered companies have to report their energy use and their annual greenhouse gas emissions. But they are not required to submit their data based on an approved monitoring plan, nor do they have to adopt certain methodologies in their computations of such data.

NEA said there is room for improvement in the monitoring and reporting system, to ensure it aligns with international standards. It added that the enhancements will ensure a more robust and rigorous measurement and reporting standard for greenhouse gas emissions accounting.

As part of the enhancements, large industrial facilities will also have to adopt specified methodologies that are in line with internationally recognised protocols such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

IMPLEMENTING AND MEASURING ENERGY EFFICIENCY

Mr Masagos added that companies looking to expand their facilities will have to factor energy efficiency into their designs from the start. They will also have to measure and report the performance of their key energy-consuming systems.

NEA said industrial equipment has a long lifespan, so it is important to introduce such measures before the facilities are built.

For existing facilities, Mr Masagos said companies will be required to implement a structured energy management system. NEA said studies have shown that having such systems in place can reap energy savings of between 10 per cent and 15 per cent in the first few years. These companies will also be required to conduct energy efficiency assessments periodically to identify what more can be done to improve efficiency.

Mr Masagos said data from NEA shows that a large number of industrial equipment are inefficient. To address this, he said Minimum Energy Performance Standards would be introduced, starting with motors, and gradually extended to include other systems and equipment.

“These practices are in line with that of leading jurisdictions and will help companies to adopt more efficient equipment, conserve energy and enjoy life cycle cost savings,” he said.

Enhancements to the ECA will come into effect from 2018. As part of the Paris climate change agreement, Singapore pledged to reduce its emissions intensity by 36 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. It also committed to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

Mr Masagos said data shows that Singapore-based companies achieved an annual energy efficiency improvement rate of 0.6 per cent in 2015, a 0.2 per cent improvement compared to 2014. But he said this is still low.

“To meet our 2030 pledge, we need to work towards the 1 to 2 per cent improvement rates achieved by leading countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands.” he said.

CONSOLIDATION OF INCENTIVE FUNDS

Based on feedback that the Government needs to improve on its current schemes to help companies improve upon their energy efficiency, Mr Masagos said NEA will consolidate its existing incentive schemes into a single fund.

He said the new Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F) will be redesigned to better support companies to identify and undertake energy efficiency retrofitting. He said small- and medium-sized enterprises will especially benefit, through the co-funding of up to 30 per cent of their investments in more efficient technologies.

- CNA/mo

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