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  Business Times 31 Oct 07
New $50m fund for clean energy R&D

Business Times 31 Oct 07
New taskforce to lead energy efficiency efforts
By Matthew Phan

Yahoo News 30 Oct 07
Singapore launches fund to for clean energy research

Straits Times 31 Oct 07
Clean energy research gets a $50m boost
Govt is providing funding over next five years to this strategic growth area
By Shobana Kesava

Straits Times 31 Oct 07
New body to coordinate efforts to improve energy efficiency

Today Online 31 Oct 07
Going clean and green
Lin Yanqin

Channel NewsAsia 30 Oct 07
Singapore launches fund for clean energy research

Channel NewsAsia 30 Oct 07
Taskforce set up to coordinate energy efficiency efforts

SINGAPORE: A new funding scheme, managed by a new taskforce called the Energy Efficiency Programme Office, may be set up to promote projects that are energy efficient.

Singapore has become more energy efficient over the years, but the National Environment Agency (NEA) said it is time to take a more integrated approach.

It is setting up a taskforce to coordinate efforts between the five biggest energy-consuming sectors power generation, industries, transport, buildings and households.

These sectors are represented by the NEA, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the Economic Development Board (EDB), the Energy Market Authority (EMA), the Land Transport Authority (LTA) and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Environment and Water Resources Minister, said: "We cannot do this at the expense of our economic growth. It's important, but certainly there must be a better way in which we can grow economically and at the same time, use energy more efficiently. Now we are coming together, through this office led by NEA, so that we can talk to EDB and talk to the various players. I think this is an important platform for us."

Lee Yuen Hee, CEO of NEA, said: "We are working very closely with the Economic Development Board so that when they attract investments into Singapore, we can work with them at the initial part when they are designing the plant of the factory to incorporate energy efficiency features."

The new Energy Efficiency Programme Office will promote the use of efficient technologies, develop energy management skills, and build up research and development capabilities.

Dr Yaacob added: "Innovative technologies that are already available can bring about significant energy savings with no loss of utility, convenience or function. Energy efficiency is a practical approach to meeting our energy needs, while satisfying both our environmental and economic goals."

The taskforce said its top priority is to create efficiency indicators that are relevant to each sector, and from there, it will build up a national picture of how Singapore is faring.

The NEA has created information booklets to spread the word on what energy efficiency is all about as part of a public awareness drive that will be rolled out next month. - CNA/so

Channel NewsAsia 30 Oct 07

Singapore launches fund for clean energy research

SINGAPORE : The government has set aside S$50 million to fund research and development on clean energy.

The money will be managed by the Clean Energy Programme Office and will be spread over five years.

The office is an inter-agency workgroup responsible for planning and executing strategies to develop Singapore into a global clean energy hub. The objective is to develop and export clean energy products and solutions to the international market.

Singapore is set to pursue the clean energy initiative aggressively, with emphasis on solar energy. This is because the Republic sees clean energy as a key growth industry for the country.

So the S$50m will be used to fund both the industry and research communities. It will allow them to work on research projects that have potential for commercialisation of new processes, technologies or products.

One example could be to develop concrete walls that can generate solar power.

The funding will help reduce project costs like manpower, training and equipment investment.

The public sector can qualify for the entire project cost, but companies in the private sector are only eligible for up to 70 percent of their total cost.

So interested organisations are encouraged to bid competitively for funding. Who would qualify?

According to the Economic Development Board (EDB), the key criteria would be "innovative and novel ideas" on clean energy. The proposed projects must also have the potential to be turned into commercial ventures.

Each year, the Clean Energy Programme Office will issue two calls for proposals on specified research areas.

The first call for proposals on solar energy is scheduled for this Friday.

In future, the focus may turn to wind and hydro-related systems and fuel cells.

So the new S$50m fund is clearly another push to boost the research community in the clean energy industry.

This announcement comes just days after Norway-based Renewable Energy Corporation said it will build a plant in Singapore.

The facility will be ready by 2010 and will be the largest solar manufacturing plant in the world. It will produce solar products that could power several million homes every year.

All these fall nicely into Singapore's plan to become a centre for the development of clean energy sources.

The Clean Energy Programme Office expects the industry to contribute S$1.7 billion to Singapore's GDP. Some 7,000 jobs are also expected to be created by 2015. - CNA/ch

Today Online 31 Oct 07
Going clean and green
Lin Yanqin

SINGAPORE'S famous penchant for efficiency is about to take on a green twist.

It could mean that any electricity-guzzling household appliances that do not meet certain standards could one day disappear from shop shelves here.

When you next shop for a car, it might come with a mandatory fuel economy label.

And that chilly office building you're now working in could, from next year, be forced to meet certain environment-friendly standards.

From encouraging industrial investors to build energy-efficient features into their facilities, to launching a $50-million research programme to boost growth in the clean energy industry here, the Government yesterday emphasised its intention to make energy efficiency the way to go.

A taskforce has been set up to coordinate efforts on all fronts. Led by the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO) will comprise agencies representing the major sectors of energy use: Power generation, industries, transportation, buildings, and households.

"Energy efficiency is a practical approach to meeting our energy needs, while satisfying both our environmental and economic goals," said Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

This contribution by Singapore to tackling climate change is necessary, he said ignoring the problem "will ultimately undermine economic growth".

And going energy-efficient would not only cut down on the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, but also improve businesses' cost competitiveness through less energy consumption, and curb reliance on imported fossil fuels as well.

The latest initiatives are in addition to a slew of other moves by the Government over the past year to promote energy efficiency.

Last month, it was announced in Parliament that all new buildings would have to meet the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA) Green Mark standards which rates a building's environmental impact and performance by looking at its energy and water efficiency, among other things from next year.

This requirement, said Dr Yaacob yesterday, would now be extended to existing buildings with a gross floor area of more than 2,000 square metres.

Another possibility being studied is that of mandating fuel economy labelling for all passenger cars. This comes after it was announced in March that the Green Vehicle Rebate would be extended for another two years to 2009, to encourage Singaporeans to buy fuel-efficient hybrid cars.

The average consumer will also be waiting to see the results of the NEA's study on possibly setting standards that will remove inefficient washing machines, irons and other such appliances from the market.

Already, the voluntary Energy Labelling Scheme has been made mandatory for certain appliances such as refrigerators and air-conditioners from this year.

"The electricity consumed by households in Singapore has increased 32 per cent over the last 10 years, even though the population grew by only 18 per cent," noted Dr Yaacob.

Meanwhile, the E2PO will keep track of national progress towards becoming more energy efficient and facilitate the exchange of information across agencies.

For example, said Dr Yaacob, cogeneration and trigeneration technologies systems that can generate a combination of electricity, heat or chilled water are out there on the market, but currently "this information is not available somewhere centrally where agencies can tap".

Also making up the E2PO are the BCA, the Energy Market Authority, the Economic Development Board (EDB), the Land Transport Authority, and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

Professor Lee Siew Eang, head of the National University of Singapore's Energy Sustainability Unit, said there has been a growing need for such a "nerve centre".

Such a central database would help ensure policies are aligned, funding doesn't overlap and there are no conflicts of interest that hinder results, he said.

And while Singapore's push for energy efficiency should involve all levels, from industry to consumer, Prof Lee stressed that limited resources mean a need to prioritise starting with areas that have the most energy wastage.

Announced separately by the EDB yesterday was the launch of the Clean Energy Research Programme. It comes under the Clean Energy Programme Office (Cepo), which was set up by the Government to coordinate research and development and the test-bedding of projects in clean energy.

Specifically, the research programme will have $50 million over the next five years to fund interdisciplinary and commercially-relevant research, and local and foreign organisations are encouraged to bid for such funding.

The Cepo will make two calls each year for proposals in specific areas, beginning with solar energy this Friday. Other focus areas that could come up in the future include fuel cells, wind and hydro-related systems.

Straits Times 31 Oct 07
Clean energy research gets a $50m boost
Govt is providing funding over next five years to this strategic growth area
By Shobana Kesava

TO GET clean energy production off to a good start, the Government is pumping $50 million over the next five years into an R&D war chest.

The money is up for grabs if a businessman or researcher has a brilliant energy technology project that can make a difference and it needs funding.

The funding will be administered by an inter-ministry and agency group formed specifically to kickstart the clean energy industry here.

Its head, Mr Ko Kheng Hua - who is also the Economic Development Board's executive director - told The Straits Times that they were not putting any limits on the amount, if proposals were good enough.

In fact, with enough exceptional projects, the group may ask for more money to add to its fund pot.

The one requirement: Whether corporate laboratories, companies, or research institutions, all must be based here.

The issue is no longer whether clean energy technology is commercially viable, but how soon it will be viable, Mr Ko said, explaining the race to get Singapore ahead.

'Clean Energy' is a term coined for energy generated by environmentally-friendly means - say by solar power or by fuel cells.

Singapore's Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council - a high powered council comprising international captains of academia and industry, and headed by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - identified clean energy as a strategic growth area for the country in April.

Yesterday's announcement is also part of the overall game plan to help catapult Singapore's clean energy industry from its current 'insignificant levels', said Mr Ko, 'to $1.7 billion by 2015, with 7,000 jobs created'.

There are also plans afoot to get the manpower for this industry up to scratch.

For now, the working group is calling for proposals for solar energy.

It will call for proposals for water and wind-powered energy in the coming rounds.

It will accept funding proposals from the end of this week.

A roughly 10-man panel will be convened to judge the worthiness of these projects.

One company which is planning to ask for up to $3.5 million is start-up company Solar 2D.

Its managing director, Mr Derek Djeu, 28, an American graduate from Princeton University who has taken up residence here, has a patent pending on its solar modules - solar panels that can bend to fit surfaces.

It is looking at ways to convert more light into electricity more efficiently.

At the National University of Singapore, Dr Stephen Wittkopf wants funds to study how solar panels can be best designed and made to suit the wet tropical heat.

'Right now these panels are made for temperate climes, but temperatures, humidity and cloud cover all affect how effective your solar panels are,' said Dr Wittkopf.

Visit rita.nrf.gov.sg/cerp for more details from Friday.

Straits Times 31 Oct 07
New body to coordinate efforts to improve energy efficiency

EFFORTS by various sectors to use energy more efficiently have been brought together under a single umbrella body for the first time.

Called the Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO), it brings together six agencies from the five biggest energy-using sectors in Singapore.

This will allow for a more coordinated approach, Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said.

The five sectors are power generation, industry, transport, buildings and households. The first three are the largest fuel consumers, and electricity is primarily used by industry, buildings and homes.

'The E2PO will draw on the combined knowledge and strength of these agencies to draw up a long-term plan that integrates whole-of-government efforts,' said Dr Yaacob, speaking at the Bayer Young Environmental Envoy and Eco-Minds Award Ceremony yesterday.

'An integrated plan, it gives us a better idea of our overall contribution in terms of energy efficiency - how much we can save as a nation,' he told reporters later.

Short of a major breakthrough in alternative energy in the near future, efficiency is the best option for now, he said.

The National Environment Agency will lead the task force, which also includes the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development Board, the Land Transport Authority, the Energy Market Authority and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research.

So it means, for example, when a new industrial facility is built, energy efficiency measures can be integrated at the design stage, said NEA chief Lee Yuen Hee.

The plan's four key thrusts are to promote energy efficient technologies and measures, build the capability to drive and sustain energy efficiency, raise awareness among businesses and households, and support research and development.

On the drawing boards right now is a 'long-term plan' called Energy Efficient Singapore. Data is being collated, and within the next six months, 'indicators' to measure energy efficiency in the various sectors will be established, said Mr Lee. Actual targets will then follow.

A fund will also be set up to support the programmes.

A time frame has not been given because, in some areas, the task force is 'starting from scratch' in establishing benchmarks, said Dr Yaacob.

Still, some of the lowest-hanging fruits include fuel economy labelling.

Mandatory labelling, in place for air-conditioners and refrigerators, may extend to other products. NEA may also impose minimum standards that will force inefficient appliances off shelves.

Other areas being looked at include more efficient power generation, and increasing use of public transport.

Dr Yaacob said that while some other countries were being more aggressive, Singapore's is the 'voluntary' route first, lest the markets get unfavourably rocked.

The bottom line is, he added, energy efficiency will help Singapore meet its energy needs, while satisfying both environmental and economic goals - carbon emissions go down, cost competitiveness goes up, and energy security improves as reliance on fossil fuels declines.

Tackling climate change also need not be at the expense of growth, and should be seen as a 'pro-growth strategy', he said, but 'ignoring it will ultimately undermine economic growth'.

Business Times 31 Oct 07
New $50m fund for clean energy R&D

SINGAPORE'S Clean Energy Programme Office (CEPO) yesterday launched a $50 million research fund to be disbursed over the next five years, to accelerate R&D efforts and support the industry's growth.

The inaugural call for research proposals begins this Friday, Nov 2, and is open only to proposals for solar power. But subsequent calls may cover fuel cells, wind or hydro-related systems, said CEPO.

As the key inter-agency workgroup responsible for helping Singapore develop as a clean energy hub, the CEPO targets the industry to contribute $1.7 billion to GDP and create 7,000 jobs by 2015.

The new Clean Energy Research Programme will 'kick-start' research activity in the field, it said.

Twice a year, CEPO will identify specific themes and call for research proposals, though 'open- theme' proposals may also be accepted, such that R&D efforts are both top-down and bottom-up.

Funding is available for both 'basic and applied research', but the projects 'would need to have potential for commercialisation of the new processes, technologies or products', it said.

The $50 million funding would provide grants to share costs for manpower, training, equipment or professional services.

The public sector will qualify for full support of approved qualifying costs, while private sector firms or for-profit entities can get up to 70 per cent funding.

Business Times 31 Oct 07
New taskforce to lead energy efficiency efforts
By Matthew Phan

SINGAPORE has consolidated efforts by various public agencies to improve energy efficiency under a single taskforce, the Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO).

Led by the National Environment Agency (NEA), the E2PO will coordinate efforts in Singapore's major sectors of energy use, namely, in power generation, industry, transportation, buildings and households, said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday.

The new office will bring together existing programmes and funding for energy efficiency, though a separate 'special fund' will also be set aside to support its programmes, said Dr Ibrahim.

No further details on the size of the fund were provided.

But the E2PO will pool existing funds worth about $100 million, including those earmarked for research and development or for subsidising energy audits, the NEA said.

Before E2PO, there was 'some coordination' between the agencies - namely, the Building and Construction Authority, the Economic Development Board, the Energy Market Authority, the Land Transport Authority and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research - on schemes for green buildings or hybrid vehicles, said Dr Ibrahim.

But this is 'the first time we are talking across agencies', rather than one-to- one, he said.

Sitting at the same table, agencies can share know- how, such as on technology, Dr Ibrahim also said.

There is currently no central database for agencies to tap, but the E2PO can change this, he said.

One of its top objectives is to gather data on the energy use of various sectors, so as to develop indicators of energy efficiency.

'Only when we know what the baselines are can we see where to improve,' said Dr Ibrahim.

The NEA has completed such studies for the luxury hotel sector - resulting in an Energy Smart Hotel scheme launched in August this year - but needs to do the same for energy intensive industries like petrochemicals and pharmaceuticals, according to its chief executive Lee Yuen Hee.

E2PO should be able to develop indicators within three to six months, he said.

The office also plans to heighten focus on the use of cogeneration and trigeneration technologies.

By simultaneously producing electricity, heat and chilled water, such plants can extract nearly 90 per cent of a fuel's stored energy, the NEA said.

This compares with just 44 per cent efficiency at Singapore's existing power generators, which already run highly efficient combined cycle gas turbines.

But such co- or trigen plants need to be physically close to the end-users, and integrated with industrial facilities.

The E2PO thus plans to work with companies - including MNCs planning multi-billion investments - at the initial design stages of construction.

It will also seek to develop know-how in energy management, remove market barriers to widespread adoption of measures, raise awareness, and support research and development.

Yahoo News 30 Oct 07
Singapore launches fund to for clean energy research

The government said Tuesday it has earmarked 50 million Singapore dollars (34.5 million US) to fund research on clean energy, such as solar power, over the next five years.

Under the programme, Singapore-based local and foreign research and development organisations, public sector agencies, private firms and non-profit research laboratories are encouraged to bid competitively for funding.

The research should focus on "innovative and novel ideas" on clean energy and the proposed projects must have the potential to be turned into commercial ventures, the government's Economic Development Board (EDB) said.

It said in a statement the Clean Energy Programme Office will start receiving proposals on Friday for research focused on solar energy.

Subsequent calls for proposals may include areas such as fuel cells, wind and hydro-related systems.

Singapore, an affluent island-state, has embarked on a programme to become a centre for the development of clean energy sources, with emphasis on solar energy as a key growth area, the EDB said.

The government targets the clean energy industry to contribute 1.7 billion dollars to gross domestic product and create 7,000 jobs by 2015.

Last Friday, Norwegian solar energy company Renewable Energy Corporation said it plans to invest more than 3.0 billion euro (4.31 billion US) building a manufacturing plant in Singapore to produce solar wafers, cells and modules.

It said the project has the potential of becoming the world's biggest complex of its kind with a production capacity of up to 1.5 gigawatts, or about 75 percent of the total global output in 2006.

The search for clean energy sources is fast gaining popularity amid efforts to cut carbon dioxide emissions which cause global warming.

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