Singapore’s Drive for Cleaner Energy And Commitment to a Greener Future
Singapore, renowned for its forward-thinking approach to energy sustainability, has refrained from deciding on deploying nuclear energy. However, the city-state remains committed to exploring diversified energy sources, with a keen eye on the potential of nuclear energy in its change towards a low-carbon future. Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong affirmed this stance during his remarks at the Singapore International Energy Week on October 23.
The Energy 2050 Committee Report, issued last year, identified nuclear energy as a viable pathway to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, potentially supplying up to 10 percent of the country’s energy needs. However, Minister Gan emphasized that the government has not decided on nuclear energy and instead focused on strengthening its capabilities in nuclear safety, emergency preparedness, and response.
Singapore’s initial pre-feasibility study on nuclear energy, conducted over a decade ago, deemed the available technologies unsuitable for deployment in the city-state. Nevertheless, Singapore recognizes the need to familiarize itself with advanced nuclear energy technologies that offer enhanced safety and cost competitiveness. This strategy allows for serious consideration once these technologies become viable.
To bolster its knowledge and expertise, Singapore is collaborating with international organizations like the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and neighboring countries to facilitate information exchange and collectively enhance the region’s capabilities. Small modular reactors, which are designed to cool passively and safely during emergencies without external intervention, have piqued Singapore’s interest as a potentially safer alternative to conventional large-scale reactors.
Aside from nuclear energy, Singapore has made significant strides in pursuing alternative low-carbon energy sources, notably hydrogen. The Energy Market Authority (EMA) and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore have shortlisted six consortiums to develop low or zero-carbon ammonia power generation and bunkering projects on Jurong Island. The project aims to provide a cleaner energy solution, with ammonia as a prominent carrier due to its established international supply chain.
Singapore’s National Hydrogen Strategy, announced last year, has been pivotal in experimenting with advanced hydrogen technologies approaching commercial readiness. Based on the Request for Proposal, the government will select a lead developer for the project. This groundbreaking initiative will test and deploy ammonia as a fuel source, generating electricity and enabling ammonia bunkering on a significant scale, thus setting a global precedent for the future of energy.
Despite the potential for cleaner energy sources, the EMA chief executive, Ngiam Shih Chun, acknowledges that costs may initially be higher. However, he highlights that technological advancements have historically led to cost reductions, as seen in the case of solar energy. To embrace these new technologies, consumers may need to accept higher energy costs, necessitating measures such as carbon taxation to factor in externalities. This aligns with Singapore’s commitment to building a more sustainable and environmentally responsible energy future.