• Mark Perry

Notable Renewable Energy Solutions and Initiatives in Singapore

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

Despite being recognised as an ’alternative energy-disadvantaged’ country under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Singapore's government has designed an environment for both businesses and residents to enable and encourage participation in the pursuit of renewables as well as environmentally sustainable solutions.

There are severable notable installations in Singapore, ranging from tourist attractions to commerical buildings and public housing.

The SolarNova Program – solar PV installation on government properties

Launched in 2014, the SolarNova programme is a Whole-Of-Government effort led by the Economic Development Board (EDB) and Singapore’s public housing board, HDB, to accelerate the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. [1]

The SolarNova program’s target is to install 350 MWp of solar power capacity by end 2020, on rooftops of government-owned buildings, residential housing blocks and state properties. [2]

Singapore targets to raise its solar power capacity to at least 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp) by 2030. This capacity equates to 4% of Singapore's total electricity demand today.

About 80% of Singapore’s residents live in public housing, built by Housing Development Board. Public housing projects will account for nearly 50% of all PV installations. [3]

Gardens by the Bay – sustainable garden in the city

One of Singapore's main tourist attractions, Gardens by the Bay, was built on sustainability and energy efficiency solutions.

Waste heat generated by chillers is captured to regenerate liquid desiccant. Electricity is generated on-site to run the chillers (used to cool the indoor conservatories).

A Combined Heat Power steam turbine is fed by horticultural waste from within the Gardens as well as other parks, to reduce the dependency on electrical grid. [4]

Keppel Bay Tower - First Commercial Building using Renewable Energy

On 1 Jan 2020, the commercial building Keppel Bay Tower (owned by Keppel Land) became the first development to use renewable energy to power all its operations. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels spanning 400sqm on the roof of the building and its podium block have been installed.

Keppel Land, through its electricity retailer, Keppel Electric, will purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) for green energy generated from PV panels installed on another sister company, Keppel Offshore & Marine’s yards in Singapore. The RECs are tradable document used to offset the use of non-clean energy.

These initiatives will result in a reduction of over 2,400 tons of carbon emission per annum. [5], [6]

Waste-to-Energy Plants (WTE)

Singapore’s disposal of solid waste has increased 7-fold from 1970. To reduce the volume of waste being sent to Singapore’s only landfill, incineration offers a feasible solution as it reduces waste volume by 90%. [7]

There are four incinerators on Singapore island. The incinerators have been continuously modernized over the years to improve efficiencies as waste-to-energy plants (WTE).

The National Environment Agency (NEA) developed WTE facilities on its own as well as with private sector developers under a PPP structure. In a PPP structure, the developer undertakes the development under the Design-Build-Own-Operate (DBOO) model. The developer secures its own financing, builds, owns, maintains and operates the WTE facility during the lifespan of the facility, typically 25-30 years. [8]

Keppel Seghers owns and operates 2 WTE plants on main island Singapore. The other 2 are operated by the National Environmental Agency. [9] Combined, these four WTS plants produce 2-3% of Singapore’s power. [10]

The fifth WTE plant is on the only landfill island and is used to generate energy for the island’s use.

The National Environment Agency does not anticipate reliance on WTE over the long term. The feasible way to managing waste is to eventually move the nation towards more sustainable waste management solutions towards zero waste nation. Meanwhile, new incineration plants will replace older ones that need to eventually be decommissioned. [11]

Integrated Waste and water Management Facility (IWMF)

Singapore is now building its first integrated waste management facility (IWMF) that can effectively process and maximize both energy and resource recovery from solid waste and used water.

This IWMF, costing more than DKK 25 billion, will be co-located with the Tuas Water Reclamation Plant (TWRP), leveraging on water-energy-waste nexus synergies.[12]

Phase one of IWMF is targeted for completion by 2024. When fully completed in phase 2 by 2027, the facility is estimated to be capable of exporting electricity equivalent to about 1,797,000 MWh per year (equivalent to 400,000 apartments). [13]

First Mechanical & Biological Treatment Plant (MBT), work-in-progress

In January 2019, the National Environment Agency awarded China Jinjiang Environment to proceed with the engineering, procurement and construction deal to build a pilot mechanical-biological waste-treatment (MBT) project in the Western part of Singapore.

This project seeks to maximize recycling and resource recovery from municipal solid waste and prolong the lifespan of the country’s only landfill on Semakau Island.

When completed, the MBT will have a waste- treatment capacity of 500 tons a day. The completed MBT plant will be the fifth in Asia.

The DKK 331 million tender for this project comes with a 20-year concession period, awarded to a consortium including Hangzhou Jinjiang Group, which is a controlling shareholder of China Jinjiang Environment, and Eastern Green Power. [14]


[1] https://www.hdb.gov.sg/cs/infoweb/about-us/our-role/smart-and-sustainable-living/solarnova-page [2] https://solarmagazine.com/solar-profiles/singapore/ [3] https://www.siew.sg/newsroom/articles/detail/2019/11/20/singapore-energy-statistics-2019 [4] https://www.gardensbythebay.com.sg/en/the-gardens/sustainability-efforts.html [5] https://www.kepcorp.com/en/file/media/media-releases-sgx/2019/29-dec-kbt-mr/keppel-bay-tower-infographics.pdf [6] https://www.straitstimes.com/business/companies-markets/keppel-bay-tower-to-be-singapores-first-commercial-building-fully-powered [7] https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/energy-comes-clean-at-singapores-only-landfill-semakau [8] https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2019/10/waste-to-energy-green-solutions-for-emerging-markets.html [9] https://www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/waste-management/3r-programmes-and-resources/waste-management-infrastructure/integrated-waste-management-facility [10] https://www.infrastructureasia.org/en/projects/keppel-seghers-tuas-waste-to-energy-plant [11] www.nea.gov.sg [12] https://www.nea.gov.sg/our-services/waste-management/3r-programmes-and-resources/waste-management-infrastructure/integrated-waste-management-facility [13] https://www.nea.gov.sg/docs/default-source/our-services/overview-of-iwmf.pdf [14] https://shentonwire.net/2019/01/01/china-jinjiang-environment-to-proceed-with-pilot-waste-treatment-project-in-singapore/

Get in touch for more information about business opportunities in Singapore:

Mark Edward Perry

Trade Advisor at Royal Danish Embassy Singapore

Phone: +65 9088 5567

Email: markpe@um.dk


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