Singapore has successfully transitioned from an oil-based economy to one based on natural gas over the past 20 years and has plans to further transition to renewable and “lower carbon” energy over the next 30-40 years. An updated Nationally Determined Contribution released before COP27 in November 2022 confirmed Singapore’s commitment to achieve net zero by 2050 and reduce its emissions to 60 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2030, with a peak coming earlier than that.
Natural gas today makes up 96% of Singapore’s electricity generation needs, almost all imported via pipeline from Malaysia and Indonesia or imported as LNG. Singapore has firm plans to further develop its role as an LNG trading hub, building on its current global status as a regional centre for oil and gas while it steps up research in renewables to meet its long-term targets.
Even with that research, natural gas will continue to be a dominant fuel for electricity generation in Singapore in the immediate future – something noted by the nation’s Energy Market Authority. That’s because solar is about the only renewable option for the country with limited or no potential for wind, geothermal or tidal renewable energy.
The Public Utilities Board (PUB) and Economic Development Board announced plans for large-scale solar PV systems to drive solar energy adoption in Singapore. This includes the deployment of a floating solar facility with a 50MWp capacity on Tengeh reservoir, and one of the world’s largest sea-based offshore floating solar testbeds of 5MWp north of Woodlands. Authorities have also awarded a construction tender for two solar PV systems on Bedok and Lower Seletar reservoirs.
By 2030, Singapore aims to generate at least two gigawatt-peak (GWp) of solar energy, equivalent to more than 10% of its total electricity demand today. By 2050 Singapore aims to supply 43% of its power needs from solar, a challenging target due to the country’s small geographic size and intermittency of sunshine.
Because of these challenges, the Singaporean government continues to seek other innovative methods to lower the emissions profile of power generation.