Singapore is setting up a new US$25 million fund to support the development of energy storage and related technological solutions.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, S Iswaran, announced that this fund has been set up with the aim of strengthening the stability and resilience of the country’s power grid.
Energy storage programme will generate opportunities
Noting that energy storage is an “emerging area that has the potential to help manage solar intermittency”, he says that the new Energy Storage Programme (under the national Energy Innovation Challenge which is in total a US$300 million initiative spanning 2011 to 2015) will support the development and integration of large-scale systems that will meet local needs as well as generate opportunities through solutions that can be exported.
Iswaran says that there are two key developments which have resulted in significant shifts in the country’s (and the world’s) energy sector:
The extraction of unconventional gas and oil
The increase in renewable energy around the world
According to the 2014 BP Statistical Review of World Energy, renewables now account for more than 5 per cent of global power output and continues to grow robustly.
Solar photovoltaic installations grew by 38.4GW last year – a jump from previous years where it lingered around 30GW.
Singapore’s solar development
Singapore has no significant local energy resources of its own and is therefore heavily reliant on fossil fuel imports to meet its growing energy needs.
The use of various forms of renewable energy could improve the country’s energy diversity and security, as well as reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. However, due to the city’s lack of space and the absence of strong winds or marine currents, Singapore has very limited potential to deploy any renewable energy resources, apart from solar photovoltaics, biomass, and waste-for-energy combustion.
Singapore’s government is currently very focused on developing its solar energy and has set a target of 350MW by 2020. This is up from 20MW last year under its SolarNova programme, which aims to accelerate the uptake of solar technology in Singapore by having public agencies procure PV installations across government buildings and spaces. The first aggregated tender will be launched in 2015.
The EMA and Singapore Power (SP) have also shortened the grid connection process for solar PV installations from 27 to seven working days and administrative requirements, imposed on solar PV owners, have also been made less restrictive.
According to a white paper, Accelerating Renewable Energy in Singapore by the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), the main obstacle for solar panel owners in Singapore has been the restrictions on individuals or companies to sell excess renewable energy to the power grid and to reap profits from it. With energy storage solutions in place, hopefully the unnecessary waste of excess solar will be a thing of the past.