SINGAPORE: A Bill that would make it mandatory for some companies to set energy targets, audit their energy consumption and adopt industrial equipment that meet minimum energy efficiency standards was passed in Parliament on Monday (Apr 3).
Non-compliance with the enhancements to the Energy Conservation Act (ECA) could mean energy-intensive companies might face heftier penalties, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli.
The Act, introduced in 2012, requires 180 energy-intensive companies to implement basic energy management practices. They include monitoring energy use and appointing energy managers to look into ways of improving energy efficiency for these companies.
In tabling the Bill, Minister Masagos Zulkifli said 60 per cent of Singapore’s carbon emissions in 2014 came from the industrial sector. The sector also makes up about two–thirds of the ation’s total energy consumption rate.
He said changes to the Energy Conservation Act are thus necessary to ensure Singapore meets its annual energy efficiency improvement rate of between one and two per cent annually, double or triple the current amount. Mr Masagos said such improvement rates are to ensure Singapore achieves its pledge set out in the Paris Climate Change Agreement to reduce emissions targets.
Enhancements to the Act will include improving the energy-efficiency of industries, improving their greenhouse gas emissions reporting and the new Vehicular Emissions Scheme to encourage motorists to buy greener vehicles.
NEED TO "CONSTANTLY RE-EXAMINE" ENERGY EFFICIENCY
While companies included under the Act have put in place basic management practices, Mr Masagos said data shows many companies do not have a structured framework to manage the use of energy and guide efforts to improve efficiency.
With the enhancement to the Act, companies will now need to adopt a structured system that will require them to “constantly re-examine” and improve energy efficiency efforts. Mr Masagos said senior management for these companies will be responsible for setting policies and targets relating to energy, its evaluation and action plans. Companies will be required to have the Energy Management System plan by 2021 or 2022, depending on the size of their facilities' energy consumption.
These companies will also be required to conduct regular energy audits, and be required to submit the first audit, known as the Energy Efficiency Opportunities Assessments by 2021.
Another key change that takes effect next year will require companies with new industrial facilities and expansion projects on a major scale to undergo design reviews that incorporate energy efficiency measures. “Many companies have given feedback that the lifespan of industrial equipment can be very long – 30 years or more,” Mr Masagos said. “Thus, it is challenging to introduce new technologies midway as it disrupts their operations. Instead, it is better to identify and incorporate energy efficiency opportunities at the start of the project.”
MORE EFFICIENT EQUIPMENT NEEDED FOR ENERGY-INTENSIVE COMPANIES
Mr Masagos said data obtained under the Act also showed that there is much room for improvement in the energy efficiency of common equipment such as motors. To that end, he said the Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) would be extended to cover industrial equipment and systems, starting with motors in 2018.
MEPS currently imposes standards on household appliances. Mr Masagos said the scheme has been successful in raising the energy efficiency standards of household products.
BETTER GREENHOUSE GAS REPORTING STANDARDS AND ENHANCED VEHICLE EMISSIONS SCHEME
Mr Masagos said enhancements to the Act would include reporting greenhouse gas emissions as previously announced. This means large emitters will be required to submit a monitoring plan, and a report based on the approved plan. Companies will also have to standardise their greenhouse gas emissions computing data, in line with methodologies set out by the National Environment Agency.
The final enhancement to the Act includes revisions to the Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS), which will be replaced with the Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES). Previously, only carbon dioxide emissions were taken into consideration in measuring a vehicle’s emissions.
Under the VES, four other pollutants, including carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons emissions will be measured. Mr Masagos said the enhancements to the Bill could result in at least a seven per cent reduction in Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions.