Due to its relatively small size, the limited number of resources it has, as well as its increasingly urbanized atmosphere, Singapore has had little choice in moving toward renewable energy and energy efficient technologies. Because of its intense desire to go green, it has become an international destination for clean technology, especially in production and research and development. Singapore is highlighted as an international cleantech hub for a variety of reasons, including its investment into smart energy infrastructures and systems, its clean energy ‘Living Lab,’ attractive business location, an innovation to reach for a greener future, just for Singapore, but for the globe.
1) Singapore International Energy Week. The Singapore International Energy Week is a five day conferences where individuals from various backgrounds, including political, industrial, and academia come together from around the world to discuss various clean technology issues and it importance within the energy industry. The 2011 conference is entitled “Expression of Interest” and includes a number of key events, including Clean Energy Expo Asia, Asia Smart Grid 2011, Carbon Forum Asia, and Singapore Energy Summit. Singapore was selected as the host due in large part because of its importance as a main player in the energy industry.
2) Training More Clean Energy Specialists. In 2010, the Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, said that after the creation of a large new solar manufacturing facility, the largest cleantech investment to date in Singapore. Because of the growth of cleantech in the economy, the prime minister is starting a new initiative to train more than two-thousand specialists over a five year period. Loong believes that by having a large number of specialists, it will further attract high-value investments into the country when it comes to clean tech. According to Loong, a skilled workforce is an important component in retaining more investments.
3) CleanTech Park. CleanTech Park is a $52 million dollar project created through a partnership between the Economic Development Board and JTC Corp. Marked for completion in 2030, this over 50 hectares park will be the main eco-business destination as well as the center for all clean technology research and development for Singapore. Because of the size of the project, it will employ more than 20,000 people will full time jobs. To elevate integration between research institutes, the business industry, and academia, it is being buying next to the Nayang Technological University. All the strategies employed at the park will be green, including sky treillis, storm water management, green zone conservation, biodiversity protection, green community building, designated green corridors, and other features that will limit the demand for the utilization of non-green resources.
4) Singapore Blueprint. In April of 2009, the government of Singapore created a new blueprint initiative to assist in creating a greener, more energy efficient and sustainable country. With more than $692 million invested into a green plan that will be spread throughout five years, it is the hope that the blueprint will aid in building a clear and concise national strategy that will face current energy challenges. There are a number of projects being invested into, including solar energy, transportation, and research and development. For example, the Green Mark Incentive Scheme will assist buildings in becoming more energy efficient, money is going to support infrastructure for the development and testing of electric vehicles, and an increase in university-industry collaborations, such as a collaboration between Sembcorp Industries and the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute to create a system to treat complex industrial wastewater.
5) Education on Reducing Singapore’s Carbon Footprint. For Singapore, a lot of the ways in which to increase energy efficiency starts with educating the general public. Low Carbon Singapore is an online community that has been dedicated to assisting Singapore in lowering the total carbon emissions and move toward the ultimate goal of being a low carbon economy. The aim of the community is “to educate individuals, communities, businesses, and organizations on issues relating to climate change, global warming and clean energy, and to help them take action and reduce their carbon footprint through useful information, news, tips, and resources.” They do a lot of campaigns to lower environmental impact, such as the MyWatterBottle campaign, which encouraged Singaporeans’ to use refillable instead of one-time-use water bottles.
6) Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore. The Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore is one of the largest groups representing the interests of companies involved in carbon trading, renewable energy, energy efficiency, mechanism projects, and clean developments, and providing them with a platform to discuss, collaborate, and undertake different projects. This association looks to be the “voice” of the sustainable energy industry. They offer a variety of services, including business matching events, networking sessions, trade missions, dialogues with government agencies, and business intelligence reports.
7) Singapore Environment Institute. The Singapore Environmental Institute is a training organization created by the National Environment Agency and looks forward toward the conduct and development of training programs as well as knowledge-sharing platforms on general environmental awareness concerns, including weather, environmental laws, and resource conservation. According to the official website, the mission is to “enhance the competency of environmental professionals, local and overseas; share Singapore’s experience and expertise in the environment; and provide diverse platforms for knowledge exchange with environmental thought leaders worldwide.”
8 ) Singapore National Energy Policy. The goal of Singapore’s National Energy Policy is to determine the nation’s continued economic growth despite limited energy resources and the understanding how the disruption most energy supplies cause, including greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Parts of the policy include the promotion of competitive markets, diversify energy supplies, improve current energy efficiency, build the energy industry and invest further into energy research and development, and increase international cooperation.
9) E2 Singapore Incentives. E2 Singapore is one of the primary climate change and energy efficiency organizations in Singapore and has a number of incentives to assist buildings in meeting these standards. One is the Energy Efficiency Improvement Assistance Scheme. Funded by the National Environmental Agency, the incentive encourages manufacturing and building companies to get an energy appraisal and identify all areas where there can be energy efficiency improvement. Grants are allotted up to $200,000.
10) Singapore Economic Strategies Committee. Singapore’s Economic Strategies Committee in 2010 submitted a report outlining a number of key recommendations to the prime minister. The goal of committee is to “develop strategies for Singapore to build capabilities and maximize opportunities as a global city in a new world environment, so as to achieve sustained and inclusive growth.” The key recommendations included on what to do to become a Smart Energy Economy, including diversifying energy sources, investment in important energy infrastructure, increase energy efficiency, and price energy to reflect real costs and constraints.
Article by Shawn Lesser, Co-founder & Managing Partner of Atlanta-based Watershed Capital Group – an investment bank assisting sustainable fund and companies raise capital, perform acquisitions, and in other strategic financial decisions. . He is also a Co-founder of the GCCA Global Cleantech Cluster Association. He writes for various cleantech publications and is known as the David Letterman of Cleantech for his “Top 10″ series. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org