Introduction: Singapore’s Energy Sources
Approximately 95% of our electricity in Singapore is produced from natural gas (Fig. 1). Other sources of energy for generating electricity include coal, petroleum products (e.g. diesel, fuel oil) and other energy products.[i] While natural gas is considered the cleanest form of energy source, Singapore continues using other sources to ensure energy security.
Traditionally, most of our country’s supply of natural gas comes from pipelines connected to Indonesia and Malaysia. This is known as Piped Natural Gas (PNG), which is supplied from the Natuna Gas Field (East Malaysian Sea) and the Grissik Gas Field.
In recent years, liquid natural gas (LNG) has started to play a bigger role in power generation. In 2013, the LNG Terminal was constructed to import, store, and re-export LNG to the region[i] (see Box 1).
Alternatives Sources of Energy: Solar
Besides generating electricity through conventional methods (combustion), the Government has started to explore alternative means of energy generation and management. Known as a sunny island, solar energy stands out as the energy source with the greatest potential for deployment in Singapore. Singapore receives sunshine all year-round, with an average solar irradiance of 1580kWh/m2/year (50% more solar radiation compared to temperate countries).[ii]
While solar energy is typically generated and consumed on-site, a number of energy players have emerged recently to supply off-site solar energy to consumers with insufficient rooftop space. Additionally, this usually requires a method to track solar generation and consumption. Companies that provide such services include Sun Electric and Sunseap Energy.
[ii] “Solar Photovolatic Systems,” Energy Market Authority. https://www.ema.gov.sg/Solar_Photovoltaic_Systems.aspx
Types of Technology Used for Electricity Generation
Combined-Cycle Gas Turbine
The most commonly utilised generation technology in Singapore is known as a combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) plant. Compared to a normal gas turbine, CCGT plants are more efficient. By using both a gas and steam turbine cycles, more energy can be extracted through two combined cycles. (see Box 2).
Cogeneration and Trigeneration
Steam produced from a CCGT still contains a valuable amount of energy that can be further extracted. Exhaust steam from CCGTs is commonly supplied to industrial users in the vicinity of the power plant. Some companies make use of this excess steam as part of their manufacturing process. Additionally, excess steam from power plants can also be used to produce chilled water through an absorption cooling/chilling process. Chilled water can either be used for industrial purposes.