Study to boost energy efficiency

Tender put out for expert to look at how Singapore can save energy in long term
Grace Chua 3 May 13;

HOW much more energy can Singapore's buildings, households, transport and other sectors save while still meeting demand? The Government is asking for expert help to work this out.

The National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS), a division of the Prime Minister's Office that aims to help Singapore address climate change, has called a tender for a consultant to look at the country's energy-efficiency potential across the whole economy until 2050.

The study is expected to take about 1 1/2 years and will be completed at the end of next year, and will be coordinated by the NCCS with the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources.

It aims to address questions such as: Could energy be saved by making lifts and lights in buildings smarter through the use of motion sensors? Could energy be recovered from food waste or waste grease? Could waste heat from power generation or industrial processes be used for other things? And, most importantly, how much would these solutions have to cost to be economically viable?

The NCCS is also calling a separate tender for a study, to be done by next March, on Singapore's industrial energy-efficiency potential. Both tenders were put up last week and will close later this month.

"The focus of the studies is to understand Singapore's long-term energy-efficiency potential, assuming current fuel mix and economic structure," said a spokesman for the secretariat.

Currently, Singapore gets some 80 per cent of its electricity from natural gas, though that is expected to rise to 90 per cent in the future. But it also relies on fuel oil and other petroleum products for transport and other industrial use.

If no action is taken, Singapore will emit around 77.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases - which scientists blame for global warming - in 2020. Most of it is carbon dioxide (CO2), with 60 per cent coming from industry.

In 2008, Singapore emitted 32.3 million tonnes of CO2, or 0.11 per cent of the world's emissions, according to figures collected by the United Nations. The Government has committed to cutting emissions growth by 7 to 11 per cent by 2020.

Consultants must assess the Republic's energy-efficiency potential for every five years up to 2030, and at 2050. The longer timeframe allows the study to take into account possible future improvements in technology that reduce energy use.

The findings will help guide an inter-ministerial working group on long-term emissions and how to reduce them. Already, large energy users must submit energy-efficiency improvement plans under the Energy Conservation Act, which came into effect last month. There is also a slew of grants and initiatives to fund a company's energy-efficiency efforts, but these often require firms to pay for improvements upfront before they get reimbursed.

A 2010 report by the Energy Studies Institute (ESI) think-tank here called energy efficiency the "fifth fuel" after oil, coal, gas and renewables. But while the technology may be available, the ESI cautioned, being efficient in energy use is not necessarily easy. A fear of disrupting production, lack of financing and management support, and space constraints are issues that firms face, the report said.