The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the brakes on travel, transport, trade and economic activity across the globe, and severely impacted the energy sector. The International Energy Agency (IEA) reported (https://www.iea.org/topics/covid-19), based on its analysis of daily data through mid-April 2020, that countries in full lockdown are experiencing an average 25% decline in energy demand per week and countries in partial lockdown an average 18% decline.
Amidst the evolving energy landscape, three areas stand out, requiring governments to take stock and to find urgent solutions:
- Energy security remains a cornerstone of the global economy, and even more so in a crisis;
- Resilient energy systems are more indispensable than ever for modern societies that strives to function remotely from the traditional work places;
- Clean energy and sustainability must be incorporated in earnest into the revival plans for the economy.
These concerns are a clarion call for digital transformation of the energy sector. More than any other time, this is the opportunity for the energy industry to embed digital technology in our essential systems and critical infrastructure whilst demand is diminished, to build an energy system of the future that is flexible, resilient, scalable, accessible and clean. This is the opportunity to retire dated systems and leapfrog into an improved energy infrastructure which drives economies without burdening the environment.
Well alive to such issues, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) has collaborated with Keppel Offshore & Marine (KOM) to launch a Joint Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop marinized energy storage systems (ESS) solutions and IIoT-based smart grid solutions for offshore/marine environment. Shortlisted participants will have the opportunity to testbed their solutions through Keppel O&M’s Floating Living Lab (FLL). The FLL is expected to be operational by end 2021, and will be the first-of-its-kind offshore floating testbed in Singapore. The FLL will have on-board:
- LNG bunkering, cargo handling and power generation facilities
- A smart grid and power generation that includes LNG, Solar Photovoltaic and Energy Storage Systems (ESS) such as batteries;
- Keppel O&M’s proprietary IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) platform, AssetCare, with a Digitalised Energy Management application to enable machine learning on energy output optimisation as well as predictive analytics for efficiency and reliability; and
- A dedicated area for work with the wider eco-system to testbed and demonstrate innovative technologies in the marine and floating power space, such as biofuels, hydrogen or electrification solutions for harbour vessels.
A total of S$10 million in funding support is being made available for shortlisted participants. Funding will only be made available for research activities in Singapore with up to 100% funding for proved direct qualifying costs and further funding of up to 20% of indirect costs for institutes of higher learning, research institutions and not-for-profit organisations.
Applications close on 24 June 2020. Further information can be found at EMA's website (https://www.ema.gov.sg/ema-keppel-partnership.aspx).
Another major initiative is the ambitious plan to digitalise the grid and increase the deployment of low-carbon or renewable energy sources on Jurong Island (JI). JI is a largely self-contained and access-restricted island, and is home to many petrochemical companies. The current Request for Information (RFI) seeks information on innovative technical ideas and concepts that can contribute to the following areas:
- Maximise solar deployment on JI and explore creative deployment of Energy Storage Systems;
- Pilot and subsequently develop and operate a JI-wide smart grid or network of smart grids, to coordinate conventional and renewable energy sources across JI to optimise energy supply and demand; and
- Test-bed innovative low-carbon technologies and other renewable technologies (e.g. tidal), to further reduce JI’s carbon footprint.
The spaces proposed to be made available for these projects include plots of land with access constraints, roof and infrastructure spaces including service corridors, storage tanks and jetty dead sea spaces – non- lettable areas which should be better utilised.
The RFI is available on GeBiz and closes on 11 June 2020.
In these unique times, it is heartening that there is no let up in efforts to transform the energy sector. As businesses and organisations take this pivotal period to review their operations, conditions are ripe to take concrete steps towards a cleaner, more sustaintable and resilient energy infrastructure.
This article is produced by our Singapore office, Bird & Bird ATMD LLP, and does not constitute legal advice. It is intended to provide general information only. Please note that the information in this article is accurate as at 27 May 2020. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates on any changes as soon as these are communicated to us. Please contact our lawyers if you have any specific queries.