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Schools, govt agencies to find ways to cut electricity use during peak hours

SINGAPORE – Selected schools and government agencies here will be working with private sector players to take the lead in shifting their electricity use to off-peak hours, to make the energy system more efficient.

TODAY file photo

TODAY file photo

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SINGAPORE –  Selected schools and government agencies here will be working with private sector players to take the lead in shifting their electricity use to off-peak hours, to make the energy system more efficient.

For example, during contingencies like power failure or disruption to energy supplies, participating consumers can cut back on a pre-agreed amount of electricity use, and the capacity can be routed to where it is most needed, minimising the need to power up additional generators.

Launched by Trade and Industry (Industry) Minister S Iswaran at the Singapore International Energy Week on Monday (Oct 24), Project OptiWatt is aimed at testing the viability of demand-side management (DSM) measures for the energy industry.

Delivering his opening remarks on Monday, Mr Iswaran said DSM allows consumers to actively manage their energy consumption in response to market conditions and thereafter, optimise their electricity bills.

The power system also becomes more efficient as electricity demand peaks are smoothened, he added.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Energy Market Authority and 16 partners on Monday, which include various Institutes of Higher Learning, government agencies, private companies, electricity retailers, research institutions and the electricity grid operator.

The IHLs and government agencies will explore adjusting their consumption patterns without affecting existing operations, said Mr Iswaran.

These partners include Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP), Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, the Institute of Technical Education, JTC Corporation and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), who will be working on managing their energy consumption.

Supporting such efforts will be companies like electricity retailers and those making equipment and materials for the energy sector, which offer programmes and solutions. For example, electricity retailer Red Dot Power has an incentive scheme that pays participating consumers to reduce electricity use during certain periods. 

The EMA said a study by Professor Frank A Wolak, director of the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University, found that every megawatt (MW) reduction of peak demand in Singapore could mean system-wide savings of S$1.6 million.

For instance, a preliminary trial at NYP studied how its energy consumption could be reduced to respond to real-time system conditions found that the school could cut back the energy consumption of its chillers – which cool the air – for up to half an hour, with minimal impact on user comfort.

NYP said it shut down one of its seven chillers for 30 minutes during peak demand hours in October. “We were able to achieve quite a significant power consumption savings of 7 per cent during that period, and we were very happy with it,” said Mr Henry Heng, Deputy Principal (Organisational Excellence) of NYP. “In the future we have agreed we will continue to do the power savings by shutting down out chiller when there are big electrical demands.” In exchange, it will get monetary incentives based on the reduction in consumption.

Meanwhile, a trial at A*STAR managed to shift 0.3 to 0.4MW of electricity load to non-peak hours without affecting its operations. This was done by adjusting the timer of its washers and sterilisers to run outside the peak hours of 11am to 2pm.

In June, some four years after it held a consultation exercise on introducing a Demand Response programme in Singapore, the EMA rolled it out in the wholesale electricity market. It allows consumers to reduce their electricity demand in exchange for a share of the benefits enjoyed by the system as a result, namely a reduction in wholesale energy prices. ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SIAU MING EN

The 16 partners:

  • Institute of Technical Education
  • Nanyang Polytechnic
  • Ngee Ann Polytechnic
  • Temasek Polytechnic
  • Agency for Science, Technology and Research
  • JTC Corporation
  • Diamond Energy Merchants 
  • Red Dot Power
  • Seraya Energy
  • Air Liquide Singapore
  • Applied Materials South East Asia
  • Eltek Power
  • ENGIE Lab Singapore
  • Energy Research Institute @ NTU
  • Program on Energy and Sustainable Development at Stanford University
  • SP PowerAssets Limited 

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