Saturday, November 2, 2019

Solar Singapore

[There has always been talk about solar power in sunny Singapore. Here are two articles from 2016 and 2018. So this is not a sudden development. 

The problem is Solar requires considerable amount of land or space for installing solar panels, and even in sunny SG, solar is intermittent. As I type this, it is cloudy.

The reason why solar panels need so much land or space is because solar power is very energy diffused. Even with more than half of all HDB flats installed with solar panels, it would only produce about 10% of our needs. Even if we solar panelled EVERY roof in SG, we MIGHT get 20% of our energy. 

Here's the working of the various options. 

And here's a YouTube video on how Renewable energy is a scam:

Anyway, Singapore going Solar? It's nice, but it's not the real solution.

Singapore to ramp up solar energy production, with 1 in 2 HDB rooftops having solar panels by 2020

By Low Youjin

29 October, 2019

SINGAPORE — By next year, Housing and Development Board (HDB) residents can expect to see one in two flats sporting solar panels on their rooftops.

And by 2030, Singapore aims to produce at least 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp) of solar energy, said Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing on Tuesday (Oct 29).

That would be enough to power around 350,000 Singaporean households a year — more than 10 per cent of the peak daily electricity demand today, said Mr Chan, who was speaking at the opening of the Singapore International Energy Week conference.

The 2030 target is more than five times the current target of 350 megawatt-peak (MWp) of solar energy by 2020. As of the second quarter of this year, some 260 MWp of solar capacity has already been installed.

[SG use about 6000 to 65000 MW of energy. 350 MW is about 1/15 or so of our needs.]

Singapore is on track to meet its 2020 target, said Mr Chan, who added that “one in two HDB rooftops” will be fitted with solar panels by then.


Given Singapore’s space constraints, the Republic needs to come up with ways to maximise the number of solar panels installed here, said Mr Chan.

He said that solar panels can be deployed on reservoirs, on top of rooftops or even on the vertical surfaces of buildings.

"If we can do that, we will be able to significantly double the amount of space (available)," said Mr Chan.

The Government is currently studying setting up floating solar panels in Bedok Reservoir and Lower Seletar Reservoir.

For its part, national water agency PUB also announced in June that it intends to deploy Singapore’s first single large-scale 50 MWp floating photovoltaic (PV) system on Tengeh Reservoir by 2021.

It was also reported last year that Sunseap will be building a sea-based floating photovoltaic system, a five-hectare development located north of Woodlands Waterfront Park, along the Straits of Johor.

Other initiatives to support solar adoption include the use of vacant state land that is not required for development in the near future.

This was started by JTC Corporation in May.

The project, called the SolarLand initiative, uses mobile substations and solar PV systems that can be relocated to alternate sites, should the land be needed for other uses.

In a factsheet released on Tuesday, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) said that Jurong Island made an “ideal location” for the first SolarLand project due to the availability of vacant land that was large enough to accommodate it.

The current system deployed at Jurong Island can produce about 6.6 GWh of solar energy per year, said the EMA.

In his speech, Mr Chan added that Singapore will also support research and development into solar energy, and also streamline regulations to make it cost-competitive to deploy solar panels.

For example, research is ongoing for building-integrated photovoltaics, said the EMA. This could mean that solar panels could soon be integrated directly into a building's facade, rather than as separate rooftop installations.


In order to “do solar energy well”, Singapore will also need technology to store it, added Mr Chan.

However, the adoption of such energy storage systems (ESS) here is still “nascent”, and there is less than 1 MW of such systems installed currently, said the EMA.

Hence, Singapore aims to deploy 200MW of storage systems beyond 2025, said Mr Chan.

The EMA noted that the production of solar energy fluctuates due to weather conditions such as cloud cover, and this could lead to imbalances between electricity demand and supply.

Having adequate storage support will help overcome this, it added.

[And now let's see what the experts have to say about this plan.]

New solar targets ‘good start’, but unlikely to have significant impact, say experts

By Low Youjin

30 October, 2019

SINGAPORE – A recent announcement to ramp up Singapore’s solar energy production by 2030 is a step in the right direction, but the new targets are still too low to have much of an impact in the fight against climate change or on consumers’ electricity bills, experts said.

On Tuesday (Oct 29), Minister for Trade and Industry Chan Chun Sing announced that Singapore now aims to produce at least 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp) of solar energy by 2030.

This is more than five times the target that the Republic previously set, of producing 350 megawatt-peak (MWp) of solar energy by 2020, which it is on track to meet, he said.

Scientists have repeatedly warned that carbon emissions need to be drastically reduced by 2050 to keep global warming below 2°C — failing which there will be disastrous effects on global economies and societies — and one way to do that is through the use of more green energy such as solar power.

Professor Anthony Owen, a principal fellow at the National University of Singapore's Energy Studies Institute, said Tuesday’s announcement is a good step towards greening the Republic’s energy sector, but it will likely have “very little” significance for the climate as the solar targets are “so small by global standards”.

“However, in principle it’s a good start,” said Prof Owen, whose research interests include environmental impact of alternative power generation technologies.

[Recognise that under SG's unofficial "rules of engagement", non-government "authorities" are required to...  not undermine government initiatives. "In principle it's a good start" is actually a meaningless statement. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a step. Does that mean that if you take a step you are beginning a journey of a thousand miles? Sometimes a step is just a step. ]

Agreeing, Professor Subodh Mhaisalkar, executive director of Nanyang Technological University’s Energy Research Institute, said that 2 GWp of solar energy represents only a small percentage of Singapore’s electricity demand.

[Damning with faint praise?]

According to this year’s energy consumption statistics from the Energy Market Authority, solar power currently meets less than 1 per cent of the country's energy demand.

The new targets will represent about 4 per cent of Singapore’s current total electricity demand.

[See? From 1% to 4%. That's a 400% increase! Or a 300% increase? Whatever. It's impressive right?!??!]

Added Prof Subodh: “It is unlikely, even by 2050, that we will be in a situation where we have more electricity (generated) by solar than what we need.”

[What a wet blanket!]


The addition of more green energy to Singapore’s power grid may reduce the demand for electricity generated by non-renewable sources such as natural gas, but experts warned that this might not necessarily lead to drastic reductions in household electricity bills.

Solar is one of the cheapest sources of electricity today, noted Ms Kohe Hasan, a specialist energy and commodities lawyer at law firm Reed Smith.

For example, a new 60-megawatt solar farm project in Cambodia has announced a tariff rate of 3.877 US cents (5.283 Singapore cents) per kilowatt hour, the lowest power purchase tariff recorded in Southeast Asia, she said.

“It is hoped that in increasing (solar’s) contribution towards Singapore’s energy mix from less than 1 per cent to about 4 per cent, there will be a concomitant reduction in the tariff rate,” she said.

Prof Owen, however, expressed his doubts that this would happen.

He acknowledged that rooftop solar “effectively reduces market demand” for electricity during daylight hours, which consequently means that wholesale price of electricity should fall at these times.

But, he also pointed out that there are various factors that affect the operation and price-bidding behaviour of natural gas facilities.

“I would expect, on balance, that any retail price falls would be minor,” he said.


Singapore is working on ways to maximise the number of solar panels that can be deployed here, but space will remain an issue in this land-scarce country, experts noted.

One solution Mr Chan alluded to in his speech on Tuesday is the Asean Power Grid, an initiative conceptualised in the late 1990s that could see greater electricity integration in the region using renewable energy.

“Today in Southeast Asia, some countries have an abundance of hydro and other renewables,” said Mr Chan. “If we can connect the regional grid, it will provide greater resilience and stability for the entire system.”

Ms Kohe said that this is a feasible solution as cross-border power grid connections “could relieve burdens” related to excess power generation capacity.

However, she stressed that this is dependent on participating parties agreeing to support one another and work together to deal with technical issues, such as synchronising the various countries’ respective grids.

She added: “(The Asean Power Grid) offers the dual benefits of stronger energy and economic ties among member states, and the expansion of Asean’s influence in the global economy and environment.”

[It will depend on how the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) is structured and organised. If it ends up with Singapore drawing on power generated in Malaysia, we would have gotten out of our dependence on Malaysia for water to a dependence on Malaysia for power. That does not bode well for SG. If the APG is structured more transnationally - that is, even tho the power is generated by say Malaysian hydroelectric generators, the power is sold to SG by a transnational ASEAN organisation that is apolitical - then the APG may work for SG.]

Meanwhile, Prof Subodh believes that a better alternative would be a future where solar energy is used to contribute to the production of hydrogen.

He said that hydrogen is the “ultimate clean fuel”, especially if it is “green hydrogen” generated from renewable energy sources that have zero carbon footprint.

Hydrogen itself, he said, produces water as a by-product when it is burnt.

Mixing hydrogen with natural gas would require little physical infrastructure changes, and it will also “burn a lot cleaner” than just natural gas alone.

He added that safety should not be something to be concerned about if a dedicated hydrogen power plant is ever built in the future. Prof Subodh explained that unlike natural gas, hydrogen is not combustible on its own.

“If we can handle LNG (liquid natural gas), we can handle hydrogen,” he said.

[All these seems to me to be attempts to dance around the idea of nuclear power. For now. ]

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