Electricity sale to KL won't impact supply, price in Singapore

This is starting point in Singapore's talks with Tenaga: EMC chief
Ronnie Lim Business Times 14 Apr 11;

CROSS-BORDER sales of electricity - such as the latest bid by Malaysia's Tenaga Nasional to buy some electricity from Singapore generating companies - will not impact on electricity prices here. This is the starting point from which Singapore is negotiating.

Dave Carlson, CEO of Energy Market Company, who said this in response to a BT query whether the move would adversely impact security of electricity supply here and prices, said that Tenaga has been discussing this with the Energy Market Authority (EMA), Singapore's electricity and gas regulator, and another point emphasised is to 'make sure that we don't sell electricity needed by Singapore consumers'.

BT reported last week that Tenaga wants to buy some 200 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Singapore to help it tide over some capacity shortages 'for a few months', due to problems with its natural gas feedstock supplies.

Following its meeting with the EMA, Tenaga separately also met the Singapore gencos, BT understands. Power industry sources contacted yesterday said that 'we are looking at it', but didn't indicate a timeline for the deal.

Operationally, some 200 MW of electricity can be transmitted through two 230kV submarine cables linking Malaysia's national power grid with Singapore's electricity transmission network at Senoko. And there have been previous instances of cross-border electricity supplies during emergency outages.

Sources earlier said that Tenaga was short of electricity capacity due to gas feedstock shortages for its plants, with this arising from maintenance of offshore gas platforms in Malaysia. Malaysia's gas supplies - which are heavily subsidised - are reportedly also running down in the peninsular because of robust demand.

On this end, the EMA had also sounded out the possibility of Singapore gencos commercially importing electricity in the medium term, or around 2018, as an option to help them diversify from their dependence on piped gas supplies from Malaysia and Indonesia. This is in addition to the LNG terminal which Singapore is building on Jurong Island currently.

Asked about how such cross-border electricity supplies will affect the market here, EMC's Mr Carlson said that there are already on-going discussions at an international level for an Asean-wide energy grid. 'The larger the market becomes, the more beneficial it will be,' he said.