The city-state is well known as a clean and green city which strives for environmentally sustainable development, with a continuously growing economy (Tay, 2015). For the past few years, it has shown significant interest in renewable energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D), including in ocean renewable energy (ORE). Singapore has provided a conducive environment for ORE to be further developed, through support from the Government in establishing various marine renewable energy test beds, encouraging collaborative projects among academic research organisations, industries and Government agencies, and providing funding and resources for highly innovative ORE technologies.
The Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator-Singapore (REIDS) project aims to test and demonstrate, in a large scale microgrid setting on Pulau Semakau Island, the integration of a broad range of onshore and offshore renewable energy production, energy storage and energy management technologies. The REIDS project, led by the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and National Environment Agency (NEA), was officially launched in October 2014 with ten industry partners and 2015 marked the start of key onshore and offshore projects. A test site for tropical tidal turbines will contribute to the offshore component of REIDS. In terms of regional collaboration, the Southeast Asian Collaboration for Ocean Renewable Energy (SEAcORE) is a platform initiated by the Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N) with partners from Southeast Asia to promote ocean renewables and create new markets for partner industrial firms (ERI@N Report, 2012-2014). This year, SEAcORE has been officially recognised by the Asian Centre for Energy (ACE) as its technical working group for offshore renewables – spearheading technology assessment and resource mapping methodology guidelines in projects involving marine resource assessment and turbine systems identification suitable for tropical conditions.
In addition, there are efforts to drive the commercialisation of ORE. OceanPixel is a Singapore start-up company that spun off from NTU, through ERI@N’s Wind and Marine team. It has positioned itself as the pioneer company dedicated to ORE in the Southeast Asian region. Several resource assessment and techno-economic feasibility projects between Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries including Indonesia and the Philippines are currently on-going through OceanPixel. 2015 marked the successful completion of different marine-related projects and a stronger commitment towards more innovative and effective means of fully utilising ocean energy sources and technology in Singapore.
SUPPORTING POLICIES FOR OCEAN ENERGY
NATIONAL STRATEGY AND TARGETS
Singapore is determined to reach its national targets to become economically greener and provide environmental and sustainable development for the whole city-state. Singapore has recently announced that “it intends to reduce its emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise its emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030” (UNFCCC, 2015). The Government sees renewable energy as an emerging field which needs to be closely studied and developed in tune to regional needs (SMI, 2014).
More than S$800 million public funding have been set aside by the Singapore Government for research in energy, water, green buildings, and addressing land scarcity of which S$140 million are allocated for research into clean energy technologies under the banner of the Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO) (EDB, 2015). Ocean renewable energy has been identified by ERI@N as a strategic research area.
Singapore, being a small city-state, develops its own solutions to address constraints in land and water resources by building partnerships between public agencies and industries towards the country’s sustainability agenda. An example of this is Singapore positioning itself as a “Living Laboratory” – “making its national urban infrastructure available to local and international companies who find it useful to develop, test, prove and showcase their solutions in a real-life urban environment that is also representative of many Asian cities” (EDB, 2015). This enables Singapore to harness the best technologies and industrial solutions from its partners.