Singapore’s energy market has come a long way since the Public Utilities Board (PUB) was established in 1963. Singapore’s energy market has progressed and restructured itself a great deal over the last five decades. In the coming years, we will see even more progress in our energy resilience—working towards maintaining a steady supply of energy, enabling greater market competition, as well as adopting alternative options for cleaner power generation.
Introduction to the Open Electricity Market
The Energy Market Authority (EMA), declared the full launch of the Open Electricity Market (OEM) in November 2018, effectively allowing all electricity consumers, regardless of size, to purchase electricity plans independent of the national utility, Singapore Power (SP). To consumers, the leading players in the Open Electricity Market are the wholesale electricity market run by the Electricity Market Company (EMC) and the electricity retailers, of which there are 29; still, only 12 are qualified to serve small-scale customers in OEM.
The EMC allows power generation companies to bid and sell their electricity with fluctuating wholesale prices based on demand and supply. Electricity retailers will settle with the wholesale market for the energy their customers consume.
The OEM has empowered consumers with the freedom and flexibility to choose their preferred retailers from which to buy their electricity supply with significant savings. These market liberation efforts have provided consumers with three options while enjoying the same energy consumption: an electricity retailer, the wholesale electricity market or sticking to the regulated tariff provided by SP.
Energising the Present
To date, about 95% of Singapore’s electricity is generated from natural gas. Natural gas, being the cleanest form of fossil fuel, will continue to be relied upon and make up most of the energy supply for the foreseeable future.
Without any significant energy resources that we can call our own, and only depending on imports from our neighbouring countries, adopting renewable energy options will be the most logical step going forward for us. Renewable energy can resolve Singapore’s energy security problem and reduce our dependence on only one source of energy supply. As Singapore's economy and population grow and electricity demand rise, the need to address issues of energy security and sustainability is more pressing than ever.
With our relative abundance of sunshine, solar energy presents itself as a very attractive alternative source of energy for the growing energy and sustainability needs for our maturing nation. Amid growing awareness of the impact of fossil fuels on climate change, Singapore has updated its pledge under the Paris Agreement. According to The Straits Times, Singapore will increase its built solar capacity by more than seven times from current levels to increase solar power generation to meet 4% of consumption by 2030.
In 2016, the world's largest floating solar photovoltaic cell test-bed in Tengah Reservoir was launched to study the performance and cost-effectiveness of the ten different solar photovoltaic systems. In just a few years, we will be on track to convert this test-bed into the world's largest solar farm to generate enough energy to power 16,000 four-room Housing Board flats. Across our small island, there are over 2,000 solar panel installations on HDB blocks, with more to be deployed in the coming years. To date, Singapore has met its 2020 solar target of 350 megawatt-peak (MWp). Since solar energy generation is dependent on area, Singapore's land constraints remain a challenge. This begets the next obvious question: what's the next best solution?
Powering the Future
Beyond the obvious need to develop and deploy ever more efficient solar PV systems to increase the energy yield per square meter, we need policies and processes to reduce the friction of bringing this energy to the market.
That's where Electrify comes in. With the development of a P2P energy trading platforms like Synergy, we can connect energy producers and consumers across a utility-scale grid. In partnership with Senoko Energy and ENGIE Factory, we developed SolarShare, Asia's first commercial platform powered by Synergy.
With SolarShare, we can trade energy through Singapore's main power grid between prosumers and consumers. Participants will have access to a real-time dashboard to monitor their energy flow and choose their green energy sources.
Households and businesses with solar panels installed on their rooftops can sell their excess solar energy to consumers with better returns. Consumers can use SolarShare to purchase sustainable green energy at competitive prices, while supporting their local solar energy provider.
With SolarShare, and Electrify's underlying Synergy technology, we have a viable market mechanism to encourage the growth of solar power in Singapore. A more dynamic energy market will be created to increase the demand for sustainable energy from a higher velocity of energy transactions. This, in turn, will drive demand and subsequent supply of solar PV systems on the grid and encourage new business models.
The drive to a sustainable future isn't just a government-led mandate; through the proliferation of decentralised systems like small-scale solar PV, this drive will be a grassroots-led revolution. And with P2P, we hope to grease the wheels of progress to get us closer to our sustainable future, faster.