Singapore consumers could soon enjoy cheaper and more stable electricity prices even as they help generate system-wide savings, S Iswaran, Minister in Prime Minister’s Office told delegates at the Singapore Energy Summit (SES) today.
The win-win scenario could emerge once an electricity demand response programme is implemented in 2015. In an opening speech at the summit at the Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre Mr. Iswaran, who is also the Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, announced that the Energy Market Authority of Singapore (EMA) has completed its consultation process on the demand response scheme.
More details of the scheme will soon be released but Iswaran explained that “demand response will allow consumers to participate more actively in the market by curtailing their demand in response to high prices. This can moderate price spikes, lower energy costs and generate system-wide savings. These savings will then be passed through to consumers who curtail their demand.”
Besides improving the overall efficiency of the electricity market, demand response can lower peak electricity demand, reducing the need to start up less efficient power plants during peak periods and promoting efficient long-run investments for system expansion.
The electricity demand response scheme is part of the government’s ongoing efforts to develop Singapore’s energy sector. Some initiatives are already bearing fruit, Iswaran said. He cited the completion of the S$1.7 billion Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Terminal on Jurong Island, which started commercial operations in May this year with two tanks and an initial throughput capacity of 3.5 million tonnes per annum (Mtpa).
The terminal’s capacity will increase to 6Mtpa by the end of the year when a third tank is completed. The government has already announced plans for a fourth tank and associated regasification facilities, raising, throughput capacity to 9Mtpa by 2016.
Iswaran said the LNG Terminal has broadened Singapore’s access to natural gas sources worldwide and is expected to catalyse opportunities in LNG-related activities such as LNG trading, break bulking and bunkering over the longer term.
The government is also working to develop an electricity futures market in Singapore, with trials to begin next year and a market launch targeted in the second half of 2014. Already, several power-generating firms have indicated an interest in collaborating with the Singapore Exchange (SGX) on the futures market initiative.
“Six major players in the market have already come on board and they are going to work with the SGX and that is a good critical mass because they account for a substantial part of the market in Singapore. Now they have to work through the mechanics and technicalities, which is why we’re giving them time,” said Iswaran during a doorstop with the media following his speech. The six t are Keppel Merlimau Cogen, Sembcorp Cogen, Senoko Energy, Tuas Power Generation, Tuaspring and YTL PowerSeraya.
In addition to these initiatives, the government is taking steps to maximise solar energy potential in Singapore when the technology becomes commercially viable, he added. EMA is collecting data on solar output across Singapore and enhancing its power system operations to include solar forecasting capabilities. It will soon launch a consultation paper on the regulatory framework for intermittent generation sources, aimed at facilitating the large-scale deployment of solar energy.
During the summit, Singapore will sign two bilateral Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates respectively to strengthen partnerships in the energy sector.
“This is part of another important effort in building strong collaborative efforts in the energy space because it is clear that there are many moving parts in the energy sector; whether it is from the point of view of supply, whether it’s in terms technology, or whether its in terms of various other initiatives you can undertake on the demand side like efficiency,” Iswaran told journalists.
Source: SIEW, October 28, 2013