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Singapore's Climate Change Strategy (Part 2)

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Our Strategy

Our approach towards industries is a "win-win" one. We acknowledge that industries in Singapore produce largely for international markets. Therefore, regulations that are too tight may create compliance costs that force industries to relocate elsewhere, with an adverse impact on the Singaporean economy without a significant reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, we will focus on improving the energy efficiency of our industries, which not only lowers their carbon intensity but renders them more cost-competitive in the current high oil price environment.

The global concern with climate change also brings with it new business opportunities, such as the export of carbon-efficient technologies to support the sustainable development aspirations of other developing countries and the provision of carbon services such as emissions trading. These opportunities match Singapore 's environmental, engineering, and financial expertise, and we will engage local industries to seek out such opportunities. This would contribute to global efforts in mitigating climate change.

We also have an Accelerated Depreciation Allowance Scheme that allows companies to fully depreciate the capital expenditure energy efficient equipment over one year instead of the usual three. This scheme encourages companies to replace old, energy-consuming equipment with more energy efficient ones and to invest in energy-saving equipment.

Proposed Measures

a) Promote Cogeneration

Cogeneration, or combined heat and power, is an efficient method of generating both heat and electricity in an integrated process, and is applicable in instances where both electricity and heat are required. By making use of the waste heat generated in the combustion process, cogeneration can increase the energy efficiency of power generation from about 40%-50% to more than 75%.

While cogeneration is a technology more commonly used in industrial facilities, it can also be extended to buildings in general. Cogeneration or even trigeneration (combined heat, power and chilled water generation) is currently used and test-bedded in some facilities in Singapore Trigeneration at a factory belonging to Aalst Pte Ltd. Aalst, a manufacturer of industrial chocolates, has installed a micro-turbine and waste-heat recovery system to test the trigeneration of power, heat and chilled water. The system was installed in September 2004 and is producing electricity, hot water as well as chilled water for use in the manufacturing process and for air-conditioning needs.


Buildings can be designed to encourage greater use of natural light and ventilation. Proper insulation also ensures that less energy is used to cool down buildings. Studies have shown that energy-efficient buildings can reduce energy use by 35%.

The Housing Development Board (HDB) being the largest developer in Singapore, has been actively studying, adapting and implementing measures that are environmentally friendly and energy-efficient throughout its entire building and development process, from planning, design, pre-construction to post-construction.

In its planning process, HDB emphasises the orientation of its buildings to minimise solar radiation into the units. It also uses insulated concrete wall for the gable ends facing the sun, and sun shades for western-facing dwelling units. To prevent heat transfer to the roof top units, there is an air gap to act as insulation between the secondary roof and the main roof.

In the design of precincts, greening is conserved, and vehicle-free access connectors are provided for a better living environment. In common area lighting, HDB has introduced the use of electronic ballasts to save energy.

Energy Savings in Buildings - Companies' Experiences

City Developments Ltd installed motion-detecting lights in stairwells of 13 commercial properties. This is expected to reduce electricity use in stairwells by 93%.

Promote Solar Energy The use of zero-emissions solar technologies will reduce greenhouse gas emissions. As PV cells become less expensive and oil prices continue to rise, the 'sunbelt' countries along the equator would likely be among the first for which PV electricity is competitive on a commercial basis. In line with our national push towards developing our alternative-energy industry, we will explore the use of solar photovoltaic cells in demonstration projects in both the public and private sector.

As noted, solar thermal water heaters are already an economically viable means of renewable energy. Currently, solar thermal water heaters cost more than conventional water heaters but have a payback period of 4 to 12 years. The government will further promote the usage of this clean form of energy, for example through awareness-raising.


Green Corners The Green Corners programme was launched in March 2003. Retail stores participating in the programme commit to one of the following: (i) sell energy-labelled products exclusively (e.g. Hong Tar) (ii) allocate a section of their showroom to featuring energy-labelled products (e.g. Gain City), or (iii) ensure that at least 35% of their displayed appliance models are energy-labelled (e.g. Best Denki, Best Tech and All Best). This programme seeks to help consumers select energy-efficient appliances by increasing the visibility of energy-labelled products.


Research and Development into Low-Carbon Technology

Technology will play a crucial role in our ability to address climate change adequately in the long term. Research into renewable energy will decrease our reliance on carbon-intensive fossil fuels, while developing energy-efficient technology and carbon sequestration techniques will reduce the impact of our growing energy needs. Similarly, new adaptation technology will help us address our vulnerabilities to climate change.

The objective of our research is not only to improve the current state of technology, but also to bring down production costs to a level that would make large-scale adoption commercially viable. In Singapore's context, our focus in the nearer term would be on energy efficiency technology as well as on solar photovoltaics and bio-fuels, both energy sources being abundant in the region. We will also continue to promote R&D in fuel-cells, both for micro-generation and transportation use.

Growing our Environmental Industry

The environment industry is estimated to be worth about US$600 billion globally and has been identified by EDB as a new strategic growth area for Singapore. A key contributor to this growth will be the alternative energy industry. Alternative energy technologies such as solar power and biofuels will be instrumental not just in our domestic efforts to address climate change, but also in global efforts as demand for renewable energy increases worldwide. Singapore's capabilities in engineering and environmental technology make it an attractive centre for the production of alternative energy products. Already we have attracted some investments in solar and biodiesel. These climate-friendly technological solutions if used in other countries can contribute to the global effort to address climate change.

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Many good-sounding ideas there.

In Britain there's often a discrepancy between what the politicians propose and what they do (I'm not sure how much this applies to Singapore) but in Singapore they've clearly thought the issue through with an openness to new ideas.

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Given the government's track record it's likely that many of the measures will be implemented ... I think that raising public awareness with regard to climate change will be more of a problem.

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