Energy efficiency in Singapore

Here is another article based on the REEEP SEAP series on Pacific islands for the 2012 encyclopaedia, this time I will tell you a little about Singapore.

A lack of renewable energy resources forces Singapore to focus mainly on energy efficiency measures to tackles the challenge of climate change mitigation.

The island located on the Malay Peninsula is tensely populated, with just fewer than 5 million inhabitants. The small country is one of the “Four  Asian Tigers”. As a highly developed nation, 99,9% have reliable access to electricity. The tiny country doesn’t have any energy resources to speak of, and is a net importer of natural gas and oil, which often leaves the peninsula after being augmented in the local refineries. At a major business route and home of worlds second busiest port in 2005 in terms of shipping tonnage handled, this has been a long explored avenue to create wealth. Singapore itself also relies on fossil fuels, and most renewable energy options are expensive and rather hard to come by.

The country is amongst the world’s highest consumers and exporters of oil products, (20th and 18th respectively) which goes to show what a  major role fossils still have there, even though the economy is very service orientated. The government has identified energy efficiency as the most sensible option to reduce the economy’s carbon footprint, and green buildings, water technologies, green transport and Clean development mechanism are all seen as valid opportunities. Bus services and Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) metro are amongst the world’s best maintained.

Recent studies have proved these policies right; Singapore has Asia’s  fourth fastest return to investment for energy efficiency, and the third most attractive market profitability for energy efficiency projects. The industry, which is employing 30% of all Singaporeans,  has been able to reduce energy intensity by 15% between 1990 and 2005. This has raised expectations and the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint now sets a target of 30% less energy intensity by 2030. As from 2013, consumers of large quantities of energy will be regulated under the Energy Conservation Act. Many incentives to invest in efficient technologies are already in place or in the pipeline and will contribute towards climate mitigation as well as national energy security. Attractive tax benefits are available under the Tax Incentive for Energy Efficient Equipment, a programme valid for solar heating and cooling, a major contributor of high consumption across industry, services and households.

As a country with highly educated citizens and a remarkably open and corruption-free environment and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries there is still more that could be done; the contribution to climate change per person is, like in other highly developed nations, extortionate, and all efforts have to be made to guarantee a shift towards an economy not relying heavily on fossil fuels and their trade.

Original article by REEEP SEAP.  Previous blogs I wrote based on these articles include Tuvalu, the Philippines, and Tonga.

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