Speech by Minister, Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry S Iswaran at the opening ceremony of the Experimental Power Grid Centre( EPGC) at Ices Jurong Island
Mr Lim Chuan Poh,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
A very good morning,
I am pleased to join you today for the opening ceremony of A*STAR’s Experimental Power Grid Centre (EPGC).
Smart Grid, a Critical Component in a Smart Energy Economy
2. A large proportion of the world’s electricity runs on power systems that were built over 50 years ago. The stability of these systems is affected by numerous challenges stemming from ageing infrastructure and surging energy demand. Coupled with an increasing drive to utilise clean energy solutions - which are often intermittent in nature - countries are finding it difficult to ensure the reliability, security and efficiency of their grids.
3. In response, governments around the world are developing intelligent and more efficient power grids, otherwise known as “smart grids”. Using advanced digital and two-way communication technologies, smart grids can increase operating efficiency and speed up the response to power imbalances and energy volatility. This, in turn, will reduce the cost of electricity for consumers. Smart grids will also increase grid reliability and reduce carbon emission by making the integration of clean energy sources and distributed generation possible. It is estimated that by 2015, the global smart grid market will total US$16 billion,representing a compound annual growth rate of more than 25 per cent.
4. While Singapore already has a robust and reliable power grid, we are investing ahead in smart grid technologies as part of our efforts to build a Smart and Innovative Energy Economy. Smart grids will pave the way for a competitive energy market. Its technologies will enable us to offer services that allow businesses and households to choose their electricity retailers and packages according to their needs. Smart grid technologies will also provide consumers with real-time information on their energy usage. Such information will allow consumers to make informed choices on how to use energy efficiently and save cost.
An Essential Infrastructure for Singapore’s Research and Development in Smart Grids - Singapore’s Marked Progress in Energy R&D
5. The S$38 million, one megawatt Experimental Power Grid Centre (EPGC) is a major Government investment in the development of a smart grid industry in Singapore. It also marks a significant milestone in Singapore’s 20-year R&D journey since we established the first National Technology Plan in 1991. EPGC will leverage on a wide spectrum of A*STAR research capabilities to develop innovative solutions and products, to save energy costs and reduce carbon emissions, while ensuring high reliability and quality.
6. With this facility, researchers and companies can experiment with novel energy technologies in a safe grid-like environment to evaluate their performance and reliability, before deploying them to “live” operational power grids. At the same time, with its ability to simulate the behaviour of renewable energy sources under various weather conditions, EPGC will also serve as a natural technology partner for companies which are exploring the integration of renewable energy sources in any climatic zone.
7. By offering a highly customisable platform, EPGC provides a unique value proposition which is attractive to both overseas and local industry partners. EPGC already is collaborating with Vestas, the world leader in wind technology, to co-develop technologies to enhance the capabilities of wind turbines. EPGC is also collaborating with SP Power Grid (SPPG) to further improve the reliability of our grid and help to improve the integration of distributed energy generation by looking for ways to address fault current issues. Such collaborations will open up business opportunities in new markets for the integration of renewable energy and distributed energy generation.
EPGC, a Catalyst in the Development of Smart Grid Industry in Singapore
8. The smart grid industry is multi-faceted, involving different players in various sectors. Beyond the immediate power grid industry, EPGC is also relevant to other domains, such as the marine and offshore sector.
9. In particular, EPGC has been leveraging on its capabilities in power and electrical engineering to develop micro-electrical grids on ships and offshore platforms. In that regard, I am pleased that EPGC has again demonstrated its strong industry relevance through its recent agreement with Rolls Royce, a global systems provider, to jointly undertake research on marine grid systems.
10. Beyond direct industry engagement, EPGC will also deepen its collaborations with various local stakeholders such as its partner agencies – the Economic Development Board (EDB), Energy Market Authority (EMA), JTC Corporation (JTC), and National Environment Agency (NEA). Some of these partnerships are already in place. EPGC has been working with EMA in the development of the Experimental Power Grid facility. Later this morning, EPGC will be signing an MOU with the Housing and Development Board (HDB). This collaboration aims to address the technological challenges in assimilating distributed energy generation and electric vehicles into housing estates.
11. Together with other on-going smart grid initiatives such as the Intelligent Energy System (IES) pilot project by EMA, EPGC will play an important role in growing the smart grid industry here in Singapore. EPGC will work closely with EMA to develop an intelligent micro-grid infrastructure with clean and renewable energy technologies on Pulau Ubin. EPGC will also explore collaborations with EMA to study the impact of intermittent renewable energy on the stability and reliability of the grid.
12. The opening of EPGC is a landmark in Singapore’s efforts to play a leading role in the development of smart grid technologies. The journey of EPGC began at a ground breaking ceremony just fifteen months ago, and I am glad that EPGC has already shown strong good progress, especially in its engagement with industry partners. This is evident in the MOUs that EPGC will be signing later this morning with partners like SPPG, National Instruments and Meiden. I congratulate A*STAR and EPGC on this exciting new milestone and wish you a fruitful journey ahead. Thank you.
 Lux Research (2009) Global Smart Grid Market Projections
Source: Ministry of Trade & Industry