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New plans to improve industrial energy efficiency, in fight against climate change

The Government also plans to amend the Energy Conservation Act, the legislation that governs energy use among energy-intensive companies, says Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.

SINGAPORE: As part of Singapore's efforts to mitigate climate change, the Government will introduce new initiatives as well as enhance existing ones to improve industrial energy efficiency. The industrial sector is one of the largest emitter of greenhouse gases.

There are also plans this year to amend the Energy Conservation Act, the legislation that governs energy use among energy-intensive companies, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli on Wednesday (Jan 11).

Addressing about 40 industry sector representatives at his ministry's pre-Budget consultation session, Mr Masagos said Singapore has made good progress since the Energy Conservation Act was enacted in 2012.

Since then, the Government and industry have worked together to develop basic energy management practices and appoint sustainability managers for all energy-intensive industrial facilities. 

As a result, slight progress in industrial energy efficiency has been recorded, improving by 0.4 per cent in 2014. Still, that is lower than the 0.7 per cent target. 

“The achievement across the industry is quite varied. And we have to ensure now that the industry is more familiar with what they need to do,” said Mr Masagos. “Particularly in this case - putting in energy managers, putting in a reporting system. They are now more aware (of) what can be done; how efficiencies can be achieved.”

Mr Masagos stressed that there is room for improvement. He called on the sector to strive to achieve industrial energy efficiency improvement rates of one to two per cent annually - something that leading developed countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands have accomplished. 

Singapore formalised its commitment to reduce emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, when it ratified the Paris Agreement in September last year. It also pledged to stabilise greenhouse gas emissions, with the aim of peaking around 2030. 

Mr Masagos said the agreement, which came into force in November 2016, is a prime example of the need for all stakeholders to work together to achieve global sustainability. 

At the consultation session on Wednesday, industry representatives from the private sector, academia and non-governmental organisations also shared feedback and best practices in achieving energy efficiency.

One representative brought up the need to upgrade the skills of energy managers, as there is currently a lack of deep technical knowledge in the field. There were also proposals to encourage the sharing of expertise, as well as for financial incentives to be provided for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

The ministry will provide more details of the initiatives it plans to roll out after the Budget is announced on Feb 20.