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Singapore to import 100 megawatts of electricity from Malaysia in two-year trial

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Singapore currently does not import electricity. — Reuters pic
Singapore currently does not import electricity. — Reuters pic

SINGAPORE, Oct 26 — Singapore is set to import electricity from Malaysia as early as next year in a trial to diversify the country’s energy supply.

Making the announcement today, Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said: “We will kick this off by importing 100 megawatts of electricity imports for a trial period of two years to see how the market works and to see how the technical challenges can be overcome.

“This will allow the region to share the clean energy sources that different countries may have.”

He was speaking on the first day of the Singapore International Energy Week, an annual energy conference involving international policymakers and industry commentators, held in the Sands Expo and Convention Centre at Marina Bay Sands.

In a media release on Monday, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) said that it plans to issue a Request for Proposal by March next year for 100 megawatts of electricity imports. The amount is equivalent to about 1.5 per cent of Singapore’s peak electricity demand.

The highest monthly peak demand last year was 7,404 megawatts in May. 

Under the proposal, electricity imports could begin as early as the end of 2021 via the existing electricity interconnector between Singapore and Malaysia.

Singapore currently does not import electricity. 

More than 95 per cent of its electricity is generated from imported natural gas, of which the majority is from Malaysia and Indonesia. 

EMA said: “To meet our climate change commitments, there is a need to change the way Singapore produces and uses energy. Tapping regional power grids for cleaner energy resources is one strategy to further diversify Singapore’s energy supply.”

The statutory board added that the trial aims to assess and refine the technical and regulatory frameworks for importing electricity into Singapore to help facilitate larger-scale imports from the region in future.

An importer will be selected through an open and competitive selection process. Potential importers will have to demonstrate, among other things, their track record, their ability to secure demand from Singapore consumers and how they manage the carbon output of generation supply.

 Chan said that the trial is one way to encourage more players to adopt energy-efficient solutions.

“Moral suasion can only go that far. We will need to make sure that we have the right market structures, right incentives to drive the right behaviour in a sustainable way for the long term.”

Besides the trial, EMA will also introduce a forward capacity market in the coming years to provide greater certainty to energy producers on the energy demand in the next few years. 

Interested parties for the trial may email EMA at Regional_Grids@ema.gov.sg for more details. — TODAY

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