Ubin a step closer to clean power

Three sites proposed for companies to test renewable energy solutions
Feng Zengkun Straits Times 15 Oct 12;

A PLAN to supply Pulau Ubin with clean, reliable and more affordable electricity has moved one step closer to reality.

The Government has selected three plots of land on the island north-east of Singapore which may be suitable for green technologies such as micro-wind turbines and solar panels.

It plans to eventually invite companies to test their clean and renewable energy solutions on those land plots.

For now, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) wants to hire consultants to study the land plots and recommend possible types of clean and renewable technologies for them.

The consultants can also propose alternate sites.

In a call for proposals this month, the EMA said the consultants' suggestions should be "sensitive" to the areas' biodiversity and aligned with the island's "rustic and natural character".

The study will also include recommending feasible business models for the clean and renewable energy technologies. The deadline for proposals is Oct 23.

The nine-month study is part of the Government's plan to supply clean, reliable and cost-competitive electricity to residents and businesses on Pulau Ubin, which is currently used for activities such as fishing, cycling and kayaking.

The 100 or so islanders currently rely on their own generators as the cost of laying cables from the mainland is too high.

Last year, the EMA announced a local consortium will build an electricity micro-grid at Pulau Ubin's jetty area to test solar power and biodiesel energy technology.

Under the contract, the consortium will provide electricity at a price of not more than 80 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh), lower than the rate of $1 or more per kwh for diesel generators.

The green technologies deployed on the chosen plots of land will be hooked up to the micro-grid, which is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

When the whole project is up and running, the Government will assess whether it can reliably supply electricity from a micro-grid using intermittent renewable energy resources.

This will improve Singapore's smart-grid design capabilities and management of intermittent renewable energy sources, preparing it for "a future when renewable resources become more significant in our energy system", said the EMA in its tender document.

Users to Benefit from Electricity Micro-Grid on Pulau Ubin
Energy Market Authority press release 10 Oct 13;

Residents and businesses at Pulau Ubin can now enjoy cheaper, cleaner and more reliable electricity supply from a micro-grid incorporating biodiesel and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology. This is part of an EMA test-bed to assess the impact of intermittent energy sources like solar on grid operations.

Unlike conventional power generators which can provide a steady supply of electricity, solar is intermittent in nature as the amount of energy produced is dependent on weather conditions. In other countries, the increasing use of intermittent energy sources like solar and wind has resulted in power disruptions. This challenge needs to be carefully managed to ensure reliability of supply to consumers, especially when solar forms an increasing part of Singapore’s overall energy mix in future.

Witnessing the launch of the micro-grid on Pulau Ubin, Mr S Iswaran (Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry) said, “The learning points from the test-bed will help to enhance our ability to manage intermittent energy sources. It will enable Singapore to maximize the amount of solar and other forms of renewable energy we can deploy when those technologies become commercially viable. This in turn will contribute to our long term goal of diversifying our energy mix and moving towards a sustainable energy future for Singapore.”

About 30 residents and businesses have signed up for electricity from the micro-grid, built by a local consortium comprising Daily Life Renewable Energy Pte Ltd (DLRE) and OKH Holdings Pte Ltd (OKH), a wholly-owned subsidiary of SGX mainboard-listed OKH Global Ltd. An illustration of the Pulau Ubin micro-grid Test-bed is in Annex 1.

“Many Ubin residents and businesses I spoke to shared with me that they have been looking forward to this day. Instead of diesel generators, the island’s residents and businesses can now enjoy access to cheaper, cleaner and more reliable electricity supply.” said Dr Mohamad Maliki Osman, Minister of State for National Development and Defence, Mayor for South East District and Member of Parliament for East Coast GRC.

The test-bed also demonstrates emerging opportunities in the energy sector for Singapore companies. Mr Thomas Bon, Managing Director of OKH, added, “Both OKH and DLRE have worked closely together with government agencies, community leaders as well as the residents and businesses on Pulau Ubin, on all stages of this project. This micro-grid is a demonstration of our Singapore-based companies’ capabilities in smart grid Engineering-Procurement-Construction and will support our regionalisation plans to develop and promote Remote Area Power Utility Services as a sustainable business model.”

With the completion of the micro-grid, EMA is now exploring how other companies and research organisations could use it as a platform to develop and pilot energy-related technologies and solutions.