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Singapore: a “living lab” for clean energy research

First published on the Cleantech Investor website, November 2009. Copyright Cleantech Investor Ltd. 2009.

Key announcements at Singapore International Energy Week 2009

With a trio of announcements during Singapore International Energy Week - singapore.iew.com.sg - the Singapore Energy Market Authority (EMA) - www.ema.gov.sg - has outlined the framework for Singapore to become a test bed for key clean technologies over coming years. As a nation which depends upon imported energy, energy security is high up the agenda for Singapore. Singapore aims to build a knowledge bank of real life experience of the implementation of innovative technologies in fields such as smart grids and electric vehicles. This knowledge will potentially be exported to other countries in the region and around the world, - and will of course also be used to determine the nation’s future energy strategy.

During his keynote speech at Clean Energy Expo Asia 2009, Mr David Tan, Deputy Chief Executive of the EMA, announced that the Singapore EMA has provided support for clean energy research as a “living lab”. The EMA aims to facilitate the integrated roll out of clean energy solutions. Mr Tan announced the development of an electricity infrastructure with clean and renewable energy for Pulau Ubin, a small island of the northeast coast of Singapore. On Pualu Ubin, which currently has no power grid, local villagers depend upon diesel generators. The EMA plans to develop five interconnected intelligent renewable energy micro-grids to serve the island. The EMA is launching a call for proposals from companies to design build and operate the first Intelligent Micro-grid on the island.

Meanwhile, during his opening address to the Smart Grids Conference, Mr Lawrence Wong, Chief Executive of the EMA, announced the launch of a pilot project for an “Intelligent Energy System”. This project aims to develop and test comprehensive smart grid solutions, and will deploy advanced metering infrastructure and communication, IT and data management systems. The pilot will be located at the Nanyang Technological University and its neighbouring area (including the Jalan Bahar CleanTech Park). Singapore’s A*STAR science and technology agency is already building an Experimental Power Grid Centre which will facilitate research and development in the area. The pilot project is conceived as a platform on the main grid from which to test smart grid applications and assess the business case for future investments.

The EMA is calling a tender to select companies interested in offering smart grid solutions to work with Singapore Power to implement the project.

The third announcement came at the opening session of the Plug In Singapore electric vehicle conference, where Mr Tan reiterated the “living laboratory” analogy and confirmed that the EMA is particularly interested in the concept of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) power. Singapore is now looking for interested companies to participate in the EV test-bed project which was launched in May (see Spotlight on Singapore: Building an EV economy). EV companies can register under the Transport Technology Innovation and Development Scheme (TIDES). There will also be a competitive tender launched next year to select an EV infrastructure service provider.

A key aspect of the Singapore EV test bed is that it is envisaged as an open platform for all auto-manufacturers and EV charging technology providers. EMA, together with SPRING Singapore, is working on a Technical Reference for public EV charging systems, which should be launched next year and which aims to set minimum standards for the development of EV charging systems.

A full review of Singapore International Energy Week, which included a host of events across the range of energy related topics (with a particular focus on clean energy) will be published in a forthcoming issue of Cleantech magazine.


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