Energy in Singapore: a snapshot

Singapore total primary energy consumption

                  Singapore total primary energy consumption

A snapshot of Singapore’s total primary energy consumption is enough to realize how  an overwhelming majority of the energy in Singapore comes from fossil fuels. In particular, the island State heavily relies on petroleum resources and, for a smaller percentage of its energy needs, on natural gas.

An interesting observation is that, in spite of such a large chunk of energy in Singapore coming from fossil resources, no such resources are to be found below the Earth’s surface within the Singaporean territory. This means that the satisfaction of national energy needs  is provided by high level of petroleum and LNG imports. With an estimated electricity demand per capita of 7.9 MWh, the size of these imports have to be remarkable to meet demand levels, as shown by these graphs describing Singapore’s trading balance for petroleum and natural gas (source: U.S. Energy Information Administration, International Energy Statistics).

 

Singapore natural gas consumption, 2001-2011 (billion cubic feet)

Singapore natural gas consumption, 2001-2011 (billion cubic feet)

 

Singapore petroleum consumption, 2001-2011 (thousands of barrels per day)

Singapore petroleum consumption, 2001-2011 (thousands of barrels per day)

In this context, Singapore’s leading position in the Southeast Asian refining market and the recent drops in fossil fuels prices have contributed to the sustainability of the supply of energy in Singapore.

Nevertheless, the future oriented attitude of the Government brought Singapore to consider options for diversification in order to enhance the efficiency and cost profile of the Country’s energy supply.

Due to morphological conditions, there are not many renewable generation methods which perform well in Singapore. As a consequence, diversification efforts are focusing on the most promising technologies with respects to the Singaporean economy: solar photovoltaic and biomass.

Solar power is seen as a very high-potential and possibly game-changing resource to produce energy in Singapore. With more than 30 MWp already installed and operational on the Island, the Economic Development Board (EDB) is pushing forward with new bulk tenders within its SolarNova program, a demand-side measure taken to boost solar PV utilization by governmental entities and public housing blocks.

 

                     Solar PV plant on HDB block in Singapore

The reasons for such enthusiasm are evident, as Singapore’s position on the equator and occasional heavy rains guarantee outstanding irradiation all-year round and contained maintenance cost, as the dust that typically accumulates on the modules is washed away by the monsoons.

So, despite a still very high reliance on fossil resources, it looks like the scenario of energy  in Singapore is starting to change, leading the Southeast Asian movement towards a renewable energy transition and showing the path to a more sustainable and greener world.

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