JUNE 17, 2021
SINGAPORE — A solar farm will be built at the Semakau Landfill, covering about one-sixth of its 350ha space, if plans by government agency JTC Corporation and oil giant Shell come to pass.
On Thursday (June 17), JTC and Shell signed a memorandum of understanding to explore developing this solar farm at the landfill on Semakau Island, which is south of mainland Singapore.
It is expected to have a capacity of at least 72 megawatt-peak, which is enough to cut Singapore’s carbon emissions by 37,000 tonnes a year.
The energy generated can power up to 17,500 households for a year.
Solar panels have been deployed on the island before, but on a far smaller scale, spanning some 0.95ha.
The solar farm, which is expected to take up 60ha, is thus set to be the first large-scale solar project in Singapore where a landfill is used for clean-energy generation.
It is supported by the National Environment Agency (NEA) — which oversees the landfill — and the Energy Market Authority (EMA), and is in step with Singapore’s target to increase solar deployment to at least 2 gigawatt-peak by 2030.
"Photovoltaic (PV) solar cells which are about half as efficient, will cover about 12,000 acres or 48 sq km for the same output. And this is just to generate 20% of our REDUCED electricity needs (5000 mw-peak, or 5 gigawatt-peak). Finding 48 sq km of unused space in Singapore to be a solar farm to generate just 20% of our power needs is not very feasible."
For a start, the energy produced will be used as a renewable source for Shell’s Pulau Bukom Energy and Chemicals Park, which is about 2km northwest of Semakau Landfill.
In a statement, JTC, Shell, NEA and EMA said that generating solar energy on this scale comes with its share of complexities and challenges.
A joint task force comprising Shell and the government agencies has been set up to ensure that an “optimal balance” is achieved.
JTC and Shell will next conduct a Request for Information exercise next Thursday to find innovative solutions from the market.
A Request for Information is a means to collect written information about market capabilities and practices, which may be used in formulating requirements for tenders and quotations.
Calling solar Singapore’s most promising renewable energy source and a “key switch for decarbonisation”, EMA chief executive officer Ngiam Shih Chun said that he looked forward to the project’s successful roll-out as it would demonstrate how Singapore can be creative in its solar deployment.
Ms Aw Kah Peng, chairman of Shell companies in Singapore, added that the multi-agency partnership was a showcase of the creativity and collaboration vital to successful energy transition.
“With a common goal of enabling more and cleaner energy, we look forward to exploring with our partners this opportunity to maximise the use of Semakau in a way that is compatible with its primary purpose as a landfill.”