Reducing Your Energy Usage to Help Sustain a Green Environment

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Home > Articles > Reducing Your Energy Usage to Help Sustain a Green Environment

 Reducing Your Energy Usage to Help Sustain a Green Environment

Tan Chee Teik | General
January 13, 2017
​We experience the effects of climate change today. Companies must address the issue of carbon emissions before time runs out.

EVERY company, large or small, can benefit from the reduction of the use of energy. Owners and managers can spread the message of saving power. They can adopt the use of sustainable energy solutions by using renewables to generate power.

Fossil fuels from the ground can run out in the near future but renewals such as generating electricity from wind, water, or solar cells can provide energy economically. Commercial wind turbines operate at wind speeds of above 4.5 metres per second but the average wind speed in Singapore is only about two metres per second. This is not sufficient to generate great quantities of power using this source. Hydroelectric power generation is also out of the question as there are no large rivers. However, we have plenty of sunshine all year round so companies can tap on this source as the prices of solar cells continue to fall to economic levels.

According to the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS), Singapore's high average annual solar irradiation of about 1,500 kWh/m2 makes solar photovoltaic (PV) a potential renewable energy option for the nation. Some challenges are that we have limited available land for the large-scale deployment of solar panels. In addition, the presence of high cloud cover across Singapore and urban shading poses challenges such as intermittency. 

They add: “With the limited renewable energy options available to us and the current technological capabilities, we are not able to generate sufficient baseload electricity from renewable sources reliably for Singapore. Nevertheless, Singapore is aiming to increase solar deployment from the current 47MWp, to provide around 350MWp of electricity by 2020. By 2030, it is estimated that renewable energy could potentially contribute up to eight per cent of Singapore's peak electricity demand.”

Addressing Climate Change
The primary argument for renewal energy is to avoid human-caused climate change by reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Singapore contributes around 0.11 per cent of global emissions. We are nevertheless taking steps to reduce our carbon emissions.

Singapore ranks 123rd of 142 countries in terms of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per dollar GDP, based on International Energy Agency (IEA) data.
Two areas to augment the use of solar energy are the Housing and Development Board's (HDB’s) initiative to install solar panels on rooftops of high-rise public housing developments, and the Economic Development Board's (EDB’s), and PUB's floating photovoltaic (PV) project, which will pilot solar panel installations on water surfaces at certain reservoirs.

The floating solar-cell test bed at Tergeh Reservoir in the Tuas area is one of the largest of its kind in the world. Over six months from December 2016, the S$11 million project will be studied for performance and cost-effectiveness of the various systems. The power generated will be piped to the grid to fuel Singapore’s electricity needs. Each solar photovoltaic system has a peak capacity of 100 kilowatts, enough to power 30 four-room HDB flats for a year.

The national water agency, PUB, will study the environmental impact on the reservoir, such as the effect on evaporation, water quality, and biodiversity.

Over at the Semakau Landfill, south of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University scientists are building a large power grid system on 64,000 square metres of land. The system will study the combination of sun, wind, and sea, as well as from diesel, storage, and power-to-gas technologies, to ensure all these energy sources operate well together.  

Energy Management Systems
The Energy Market Authority (EMA), PUB, and Singapore Power have called for proposals in October 2016 to develop and test technologies that will allow electricity, water, and gas meters to be read remotely. The trial should start in early 2018 and last for six months.

At present, due to manpower shortage, meters are read manually only once every two months. With the new meters, consumers can see how much utilities they are using every 30 minutes. The new system will help households and small businesses cut down on unnecessary use of utilities and save on manpower. Managers can show workers how much energy is used and discuss with them how to reduce the amount.

Buying Power from Others
Apple Singapore’s power requirements for its Singapore campus far exceeds what the photovoltaic systems installed on its own buildings could generate. It entered into an Offsite Power-Purchase Agreement (PPA) which allows companies to meet clean energy demands by indirectly consuming clean energy generated at other locations. Apple’s offsite PPA with Sunseap, a local solar power provider, will utilise solar energy generated across over 800 buildings in Singapore. Smaller companies can also tap into this idea to buy solar energy from other parties.

A company can instil the message of using sustainable energy for a greener environment to the staff by holding workshops, green campaigns, and contests for department to compete to see who uses less energy. A company that contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions is respected by its customers and employees.

​Mr Tan Chee Teik is a freelance journalist. He is a regular contributor to M360 and Today’s Manager

Copyright © 2017 Singapore Institute of Management

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