Country Reports

Singapore has significant interest in renewable energy RD&D. Noteworthy milestones in Singapore’s Ocean Renewable Energy (ORE) activities include the development of various marine renewable energy test bedding sites, and collaborative projects between academic research institutes and industry, all of which benefit from the support of public agencies.

The Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator Singapore (REIDS) project aims to test and demonstrate, in a large scale, micro grid 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 the National Environment Agency (NEA), was officially launched in October 2014 with ten industry partners.

At the regional level, the Southeast Asian Collaboration for Ocean Renewable Energy (SEAcORE) was initiated by ERI@N with partners from Southeast Asia to promote renewables and create new markets for partner industrial firms (ERI@N Report, 2012-2014). The Asian Centre for Energy (ACE) has recognized ERI@N’s efforts in creating the SEAcORE network, making it its official technical working group on ORE in the Southeast Asia region. Techno-economic feasibility projects between Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries, including Indonesia and the Philippines, are currently on-going through the SEAcORE platform. In 2016, ERI@N organized the Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference as part of Singapore Energy Week (SIEW 2016), where more than 350 participants from Asia, Europe and North America of varied backgrounds, including academia, industries and policy makers related to ocean energy systems benefited from this event.

2016 was seen as a successful year with completion of different marine-related projects and a stronger regional commitment towards more innovative and effective means of fully utilising ocean energy sources and technology towards tropical remote regional needs.

 

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). This makes the country more determined to establish different energy efficiency measures and to harness alternative sources of energy. 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 has been set aside by the Singapore Government for research in energy, water, green buildings and addressing land scarcity, of which S$140 million is 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 as one of the prominent alternative energy by ERI@N specifically towards remote coastal and islandic region as part of its strategic research interests. Singapore, being a small city-state, yet develops its own solutions to address constraints in land and water resources by building partnerships between public agencies, academia 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.


ERI@N, supported mainly by the EDB, focuses on the areas of sustainable energy, energy efficiency infrastructure and socio-economic aspects of energy research. Its mission is to be a centre of excellence for conducting advanced research, development and demonstration of innovative solutions, which have both regional and global impact.

The Institute has considerable expertise and strength in areas of offshore energy, which includes wind, wave and tidal energy and complementary technologies, such as energy storage, micro grids, and smart energy systems, and collectively provide an integrated set of expertise from materials design & synthesis, device fabrication and modelling, and systems integration and optimization.

ERI@N’s Wind and Marine (W&M) research programme is aimed at improving the performance, lowering costs and accelerating deployment of offshore renewable technologies specific to the tropics, where unique technology challenges exist. It advances the technology development and commercialization through early collaboration with industry. It works closely with government agencies to understand regional needs, and with local and global renewable energy firms to identify technology gaps.

The W&M key research, development, and demonstration efforts of the team include the following:

  1. Tidal, wind and wave energy resource assessment towards Singapore and other regions of South East Asia;
     
  2. Test-bedding activities of marine renewables (e.g. Sentosa Tidal Test Site and Tanah Merah Wave Energy Test Site);
     
  3. Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator-Singapore (REIDS) – Offshore;
     
  4. Advanced materials and coatings development towards tropical needs and
     
  5. Regional and international collaborative projects related to resource mapping and test-bedding of ocean energy systems.


Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator-Singapore (REIDS)
REIDS aims to power Pulau Semakau, an island south of mainland Singapore, which serves as a landfill, purely through renewables, including ocean energy. First of its kind in the region, the hybrid micro grid will facilitate the development and commercialization of energy technologies suited for tropical conditions that will help address the growing demand for renewable energy technologies in Asia. REIDS will integrate multiple renewables and novel technologies such as power-to-gas technologies and smart hybrid grids, and enable the development of solutions suited for small islands, isolated villages, and emergency power supplies.


REIDS Onshore:
Renewable energy towards remote islandic conditions: The REIDS onshore project aims to solve engineering,  economic, environmental and societal energy transition challenges for off grid communities. It customizes grid science towards remote islandic needs and integrates various renewables. Technologies deployed at the test bed include solar photovoltaic, wind, tidal, energy storage, bioenergy, innovative water desalination, hydrogen production, etc. Presently, work is in progress to make the island energy self-sufficient with its renewable sources.


REIDS Offshore:
Environmental Impact assessment activity in Singapore: The offshore renewable energy integration and demonstration (Offshore REIDS) project, also termed as Tropical Marine Energy Centre (TMEC), has been initiated by ERI@N and financially funded by the ClassNK firm (a Japanese classification society) and seeks to pave the way for establishing the world’s first scaled marine renewable energy testing facility for tropical needs. In March 2015, the feasibility study for the test sites was officially launched and is expected to be completed by December 2017. During this project, the resource mapping methodologies are well utilized to identify the ocean energy potential of the southern islands of Singapore that have been identified from the Maritime port Authority of Singapore (MPA). Presently, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the test sites is being carried out to understand the impact of ocean energy system deployment on marine life and environment. The EIA includes investigating the baseline conditions, possible effects of the test sites in the surroundings, and other associated research, such as underwater acoustics, water purity, sea level changes, tidal flow effects, etc. Geotechnical and geophysical surveys are also being planned. The outcome of this project will be extended towards Singapore’s guidelines and standards development by working with Spring Singapore to support local supply chain’s marine energy resource mapping guidelines of new regions, such as our neighbouring region of Southeast Asia and other tropical islands and remote coastal regions. Overall, the present project aims to develop technologies and deployment methodology for meeting energy needs towards the remote island region.


GOVERNMENT FUNDED R&D
Flexible Distributed Generation using tidal in-stream energy system for remote island applications: Among the government funded projects is the “DG-TISE: Flexible Distributed Generation using tidal in-stream energy system for remote island applications”. This research grant aims to develop energy generation and micro grid systems for research work in the country (EDB, 2014). DG-TISE aims to develop “a novel sensing and signal analysis system which will provide a tidal energy resource measurement method to account for the geographical sea bed conditions and tidal current measurements”, and to evaluate and test bed a commercially ready turbine in Singapore waters. Research outcomes show promising turbine rotor designs that are efficient in low tidal flow conditions and robust towards environmental challenges, such as seaweed entanglement and biofouling resistance.


Sentosa-ERI@N Tidal Test Site

33313-singapore-1.jpgFloating hinged turbine support frame to house tidal turbines and vortex induced vibration devices (Left), Scaled (1:3) tidal turbine in tow tank (Middle) and successful deployment of the turbine at Sentosa Test site. (Right)

The Sentosa Tidal Test Site is a joint collaboration between Sentosa Development Corporation (SDC) and ERI@N, funded by the Ministry of Trade and Industry’s Core Innovation Fund. This project aims to display tidal energy extraction as a feasible and sustainable energy generating technology in Singapore and to provide opportunities to develop local technologies to harness the energy available in the narrow channel between Singapore and Sentosa. In November 2013, ERI@N and SDC officially launched the Sentosa Tidal Test Site (NTU, 2013).


ERI@N Tidal Turbine System
In the interest of promoting sustainable energy solutions to achieve energy security with reduced carbon footprint from tropical regions, the Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N) works with international partners in developing and test bedding tidal in stream energy systems for island conditions with micro grids architecture.

Recent developments include the deployment of scaled tidal turbines supported from the floating barges. Figure 2 shows the successful deployment of the first tidal turbine installation at PT BUMWI’s woodchip factory located in the remote Pulau Amutu Besar, Bintuni Bay, West Papua, Indonesia. The project was developed through a collaborative effort of Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore), along with Green Forest Product & Tech Pte. Ltd. (GFPT), and its exclusive supplier PT Bintuni Utama Murni Wood Industries (PT BUMWI), together with SCHOTTEL HYDRO, OceanPixel, Aquatera.

This project is one of the pioneering tidal turbine deployment in Southeast Asia and may act as a model for smaller scale energy developments in coastal areas throughout Southeast Asia. This project also shows that successful deployment of ocean renewable energy technologies could be possible through regional and international collaboration with the involvement of academic and industrial partnership. The island micro grid is currently using diesel generators to power its operations.

 

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Successful development & deployment of a barge based tidal turbine by ERI@N along with its industrial partners: Schottel Hydro, Ocean-Pixel, Aquatera.

 

A hybrid renewable energy solution, including tidal energy, will improve the operations of the island in terms of having a cleaner and relatively cheaper energy source. The continued monitoring of the deployed solution and of the project’s impact to GPFT and PT BUMWI’s locality will be a key in scaling up such initiatives. The present test bedding effort shows that a similar approach towards adoption of ocean renewable energy is achievable to empower remote islands in the Southeast Asian region. Taking this inspiration, there is now some traction in developing similar projects in locations such as those in Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, and the Philippines.


Technical Training Workshop on Ocean Renewables
As part of continuous efforts to increase the capabilities of ocean renewable energy stakeholders in the region, ERI@N together with Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) and Ocean pixel Pte. Ltd., has organized a training workshop on Ocean Renewable Energy for new entrants in the Southeast Asian marine and offshore energy market.

This workshop was held as part of the pre-conference events of the Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC 2016). ERI@N closely worked with the two partners as its technical lead on identifying the right topics and ocean energy experts to speak during the three-day workshop. The workshop was well attended by local small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in marine/offshore industry with interest in expanding their capabilities to ocean renewable energy. In addition, there were also participants from different Southeast Asian countries who are mostly the experts or currently doing the ocean renewable energy activities in their respective countries.


ASIAN WAVE AND TIDAL ENERGY CONFERENCE (AWTEC) 2016
The Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC) has been established as the regional conference affiliated with the European Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (EWTEC) series to facilitate the transnational and regional sharing of knowledge and understanding from research of wave and tidal renewable energy systems, their interactions with the environment and the identification of barriers to establishing the marine renewable energy industry.

Energy Research Institute @ Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N) was chosen to be the host of the 3rd AWTEC 2016 conference series. ERI@N, together with Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), organized AWTEC 2016 was well attended by more than 350 attendees, including researchers, engineers from industries, techno-economists, policy makers and stakeholders. The conference was rich with 11 invited plenary speakers, 31 technical sessions with over 168 oral papers and 30 poster presentations that helped in rich exchange of knowledge through profound discussions that promoted international and multi-disciplinary collaboration. The conference spanned to a week of events including preconference training workshops, three technical session days in the famous Marina Bay Sands venue (Singapore) and the last day of the week was dedicated to two technical tours (NTU Eco Campus and Floating Tidal Turbine Platform at LitaOcean Shipyard).

The conference drew support from 15 industry sponsors and had 11 exhibit booths during the conference where companies had the opportunities to display their technologies and expertise to the public. AWTEC 2016 was also supported by different embassies (Scotland, through Scottish Development International, Canada and The Netherlands) and intergovernmental organizations, like the ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE).

Among the major achievements of the AWTEC 2016 are:

  • MoU signing between OceanPixel and Aquatera;
     
  • DP Energy entering South East Asian Marine RE Market;
     
  • Envirotek, OceanPixel, Schottel Hydro, NTU, Aquatera (with support from Braemar Offshore, DHI, and ITP) progresses Tidal Demo Project for Singapore (~$500k);
     
  • Green Forest Product and Technology Pte Ltd with PT BUMWI, in collaboration with Schottel Hydro, OceanPixel, Aquatera, and NTU announces Successful commissioning of a tidal turbine grid-connected pilot project in West Papua, Indonesia (~$500k);
     
  • Over 30 companies from Europe (UK, Ireland, Germany), Canada, Japan, China, Australia participated in AWTEC 2016:
    - some notable names: Atlantis, DCNS, OpenHydro, WavePower, Albatern, Carnegie Wave, Schottel Hydro Scotrenewables,
       NovaInnovation, AW Energy, DP Energy, Tocardo;
    - Local: Braemar Offshore, Fugro, DHI, Lita Ocean,
     
  • Continuous support form ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) towards Southeast Asian Collaboration for Ocean Renewable Energy (SEACORE);
     
  • SEACORE-SEAMEC (Southeast Asian Marine Energy Centre) Collaboration.
     

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Asian Wave and Tidal Energy Conference (AWTEC) 2016.