SINGAPORE: The blackout across multiple estates in Singapore this week is a reminder that the country must continue strengthening energy resilience, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Trade and Industry and Foreign Affairs Tan Wu Meng said while announcing initiatives to strengthen Singapore's power systems on Thursday (Sep 20).
Speaking at the Energy Market Authority (EMA)'s Energy Innovation event, Dr Tan said that the incident brought home the importance of energy security.
"Very recently, we felt the importance of energy security and energy resilience in a very real way when electricity supply was disrupted to many Singaporean homes in the early hours of Tuesday morning," said Dr Tan.
"I was up late that night, after meeting some of my residents. I saw the social media updates coming in around 1.30am - that was a few minutes after the blackout occurred," he said.
"I also saw the many emails and WhatsApps from the EMA team, which were working very hard throughout the night, responding, looking into what happened."
The authority is continuing its investigations into the incident, said Dr Tan, adding that "whatever the findings, we will learn, and we will improve".
GRANTS TO STRENGTHEN POWER GRID
Dr Tan announced that a total of S$15 million in research grants has been awarded to seven projects with the aim to strengthen Singapore’s power grid and to improve the resilience of Singapore's power systems and energy markets.
The projects, which were chosen by EMA after a grant call last May, are expected to be completed by 2021.
They will utilise technologies such as blockchain, data analytics and artificial intelligence.
The institutions involved in the projects include the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore University of Technology and Design.
Meanwhile, EMA and Enterprise Singapore also jointly launched a grant call for small- and medium-sized enterprises to develop solutions for optimising energy demand, as well as in solar energy deployment at home and abroad.
In a first, the Government is also extending the SkillsFuture Earn and Learn Programme to polytechnic and Institute of Technical Education graduates pursuing power engineering roles in the public sector, granting S$5,000 to each eligible individual, Dr Tan announced.
"The expansion of this programme to the public service sends a very strong signal that the Government is committed to preparing our power engineering professionals for the changes ahead," he said.
EMA’s chief executive Ngiam Shih Chun said that although Singapore has one of the world’s most stable and reliable power systems, it cannot be taken for granted.
“Emerging trends such as distributed generation of energy and smart grids are transforming the energy sector," he said. "The Government is therefore supporting these projects which have the potential to enhance the efficiency and reliability of our electricity and gas systems, building upon emerging trends.”