Singapore poised as 'lab' for green energy

Oct. 20, 2011 at 2:20 PM
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SINGAPORE, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Singapore can serve as a "living lab" for green energy solutions, a government official says.

The Southeast Asian city-state's limited land mass, totaling just 274 square miles, doesn't allow for mass solar energy production or renewable energy options such as hydropower and wind power.

Instead, the government's Energy Market Authority aims to position Singapore's highly urbanized landscape as a "living lab" for public-private partnerships or joint ventures between companies and government agencies for the development, testing and commercialization of clean technology.

"We recognize that technology is changing, and energy solutions that are not feasible for Singapore today may become viable in future," Chee Hong Tat, chief executive of EMA told news.

In July 2008 Singapore pledged to spend $1 billion through 2014 on a series of green-tech initiatives, including achieving a 35 percent improvement in energy efficiency from 2005 levels by 2030.

The government also aims for Singapore to play a significant role in Asia's wind, solar and biofuel manufacturing sectors.

"We will improve the way we use key resources such as energy and water, even as we seek to expand our use of renewable resources, so that we can achieve growth with fewer resources and make Singapore more competitive in the long run," Singapore's Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development declared.

In its first energy report since the agency was formed in 2001, EMA said this month that Singapore's natural gas use increased to 78.7 percent in 2010 from 62.1 percent in 2003. Electricity generated from petroleum products fell to 18.7 percent from 35.1 percent during the same time period.

Singapore's first liquefied natural gas terminal is slated for completion in 2013, which will "enable Singapore to broaden its access to fuel sources from around the world," Chee said, noting that the government's 2009 decision to develop the terminal was driven by the need to protect against supply disruptions.

By 2030, Singapore also aims to have 80 percent of its buildings "green mark" certified, a benchmarking scheme that incorporates best practices in environmental design and performance.

The government has pledged $100 million in funding for existing buildings to upgrade, with owners eligible for up to 35 percent in subsidies for retrofitting.

Singapore was ranked the greenest of 22 Asian cities this year in a study Commissioned by Germany's Siemens AG and carried out by the United Kingdom's Economist Intelligence Unit.

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