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SMEs to get funding for energy-efficient tech upgrades

SINGAPORE — Starting from Monday (April 3) , local companies will be able to tap the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) Energy Efficiency Fund to improve their use of energy resources.

TODAY file photo

TODAY file photo

SINGAPORE — Starting from Monday (April 3) , local companies will be able to tap the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) Energy Efficiency Fund to improve their use of energy resources.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular, are encouraged to upgrade their manufacturing facilities through resource-efficient technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Together with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), NEA has identified a list of standard retrofit projects, including revamp of lighting, motors and air-conditioning, that can help SMEs reduce their energy consumption and operating costs.

Owners and operators of local manufacturing facilities with annual sales not exceeding S$500 million will be able to recoup up to a third of their investment in manpower, professional services, equipment and materials that promote energy-efficient equipment or technologies, according to a statement by NEA.

In addition to helping offset the costs of buying and installing the new equipment, NEA has also simplified the grant application process to reduce the paperwork required.

The newly-launched fund consolidates the range of existing incentive schemes administered by NEA.

For example, a manufacturing SME that chooses to replace its existing motor with an energy-efficient one needs only to submit the motor energy performance test report issued by an accredited laboratory to NEA for verification of energy savings.

Companies can realise energy cost savings per annum ranging from S$130 to S$4,000, just from selecting a more energy-efficient model of motor, and the additional investment can be recovered within 1.2 to 2.4 years, said NEA.

Moreover, NEA will fund up to 30 per cent of the motor replacement project’s qualifying cost.

Manufacturing companies can also consider more complex energy-saving improvement projects, such as high-efficiency heating and cooling systems.

The funding support will also cover a wide range of energy-efficiency efforts, such as energy assessments, energy-efficient design of new facilities and energy-efficiency investments, where NEA will fund up to half the cost of a design workshop or S$600,000, whichever is lower.

NEA will also fund up to half the cost of energy audits and assessments, subject to a cap of S$200,000.

In Budget 2017, the Government announced the implementation of a carbon tax on the emission of greenhouse gases starting from 2019.

While the tax will generally be applied upstream — for example, on power stations and other large direct emitters — the manufacturing sector is one of the major users of electricity.

The industrial sector is the largest consumer of energy that accounts for 60 per cent of Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions, and improving the energy efficiency of the sector is one of the key strategies to reduce emissions and fulfil Singapore’s pledge under the Paris Agreement on climate change, said the NEA.

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