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  • Writer's pictureGreen Denmark in Southeast Asia

Snapshot: From Red to Green – Singapore’s journey towards the green transition

Singapore has set sail towards the green transition, but without renewables and green fuels, the journey is difficult. They are aiming for solutions to be found through strong political will and investment ready capital – and you can be part of their journey!

Singapore wants to be climate neutral and has committed to complete neutrality by 2050. This is a big step for the “little red dot” and the journey they are facing is challenging, as Singapore is officially classified as a disadvantaged positioned country in regard to alternative energy sources.

Geography remains a fundamental challenge for Singapore’s green transition. With only 750 square meters of land, the space for solar cell parks is limited. The wind around the equator does not catch on, neither on the sea, where the space is also tight with 1000 ships entering the Strait of Malacca on a daily basis.

As a low-lying country by the sea, the threat of rising ocean levels are very real. Not to mention rising temperatures and more unstable weather, which add to the list of climate related challenges for this urban city in the tropics.

Opportunities for Danish companies

Singapore is fond of companies from Denmark – a country that is viewed as sharing many of the same challenges and ambitions. The narrative of two small countries punching above their weights and relying on multilateral collaborations is widely accepted. For Denmark, Singapore is an interesting partner, as they are skilled in trading and are facing challenges that we have the solutions to solve.

Singapore is expecting to use 500 billion DKK on climate adaption in the next 100 years, and have already set aside the first 25 billion DKK for securing the coast. The transition is currently being led by the Green Plan 2030, containing a long list of initiatives including reducing the energy-use in buildings, planting 1 million new trees, improving waste management, making schools more carbon neutral, creating new food production, outfacing diesel-engine cars and putting up 60.000 charging stations for electric vehicles.

The city state is also investing heavily into securing access to green energy. Singapore needs around 14 GW to run the country of which 95% is currently generated by fossil fuels.

The national plan for energy transition consists of four components:

1) Natural gas - though Singapore acknowledges that it is not a sustainable source of energy

2) Solar power – but the cloud cover is thick and the space is limited, so even exploiting it to the max can only cover 2-3 pct. of what is needed

3) Creating a regional electricity network

4) Hydrogen – Singapore is preparing to receive green hydrogen, which they see as key to reaching climate neutrality

Traffic in the Harbour

Singapore’s energy concerns are much bigger than transforming the city states own power sources. The country makes their living from being an international centre for shipping and aviation. The harbour is among the World’s busiest, and is the biggest refuelling station in the World with a fuel consumption on app. 50 million tonnes per year.

Singapore has realized that they need to offer green fuels to avoid that ships and airplanes will seek towards other harbours. Finnish Neste has recently opened productions facilities that hold a capacity of about 1 million tonne sustainable aviation fuel per year. As to shipping, Singapore has created a Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation, which is currently leading global pilot projects on the use of ammoniac as fuel.

The national plan for Singapore’s maritime decarbonisation is new harbour terminals, electric sea transport, fuelling standards and infrastructure, green targets for ships sailing under the Singapore flag, collaboration in IMO, investments in research, carbon accounts and financing.

Green Finance

Singapore is also a regional centre for finance, which they would like to make into a global centre for green finance. To pursue this, they have launched a carbon credit stock market (Climate Impact X) in collaboration with international banks. The goal is for companies to trade using credits in nature based solutions, but the challenge is creating a valid data foundation, which can secure and maintain trust in the system. Because of their own challenges, Singapore holds a positive regard for buying nature-based carbon offsets in other countries.

With its commitment to climate neutrality and its strong partnerships, Singapore is set to emerge as a key player in the global movement towards sustainable energy and climate action.

Contact the Royal Danish Embassy in Singapore for more information about business opportunities relating to the green transition and climate adaptation measures in Singapore

Mark Edward Perry

Head of Trade at the Royal Danish Embassy in Singapore

Phone: +65 9088 5567


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