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  Channel NewsAsia 5 Nov 07
SMEs urged to tap into renewable energy technology

Business Times 2 Nov 07
Green compliance an advantage: Spring
By Wee Li-en

NEW environmental protection measures may be technical barriers to trade for exporters, but being able to meet these requirements efficiently is a competitive advantage, says Spring Singapore chief executive Loh Khum Yean.

New environmental protection laws sometimes require technological improvements and even substitution, he told BT.

For example, a European Union (EU) regulation that took effect in June requires manufacturers to register and manage the risks of chemicals in the EU market.

It affects companies that make or import chemicals and products containing restricted substances of one tonne or more.

About 500 Singapore companies will be affected by the EU regulation, according to Spring, a statutory board within the ministry of trade and industry.

Industries need to find cost-effective and reliable solutions, Mr Loh said. 'Failure to comply could result in lost sales, product recalls or a tarnished image.'

Spring set up a centre in October last year to help companies understand and comply with technical regulations in export markets.

The Export Technical Assistance Centre, which organises technical workshops and seminars, has since reached out to more than 450 companies.

Companies that would like to find out how to get help to comply with technical regulations for their exports can register to attend a seminar by Spring Singapore next week.

The seminar is part of Spring's Quality and Standards 2007 three-day event which starts on Monday.

Other seminars at the event touch on effective supply chain management and how companies can gain business competitiveness from standards and accreditation programmes.

Some of the seminars are by invitation only, and some are free.

The fees to attend the seminar on environmental technical regulations is $150 a head. More information can be found at http://www.qualityandstandards.com.sg

Channel NewsAsia 5 Nov 07
SMEs urged to tap into renewable energy technology

SINGAPORE: At a renewable energy conference Monday, SPRING Singapore urged small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and businesses to tap into one of the most readily-available forms of fuel - solar energy.

The agency has previously announced initiatives to provide not only financial backup, but also research and development support for SMEs in this sector.

And according to a study by the National University of Singapore (NUS), if all HBD blocks were equipped with solar panels, energy they tap from the sun could provide for at least half of the energy consumption needs of HDB households.

As part of the efforts to reduce dependence on fuel, Singapore is seeking to develop better technology in renewable energy.

"Singapore faces a really interesting set of problems related to energy policy. They import almost 100 per cent of their fuel, which means they are one of the only countries in the world who imports more than 90 per cent of their fuel… and so being that dependent on foreign fuels makes Singapore's economy very vulnerable to price spikes/interruptions… security issues," said NUS post-doctoral fellow Benjamin Sovacool.

Many companies still hesitate to use renewable energy as initial start-up costs tend to be high.

But under SPRING Singapore’s Technology Innovation Programme, SMEs can get financial help to develop new products and processes, along with advice for research and development.

"We are producing over 4000 engineers a year in Singapore, so the universities are very equipped… the research labs in A*STAR (have) thousands of scientists… so the key is the know-how for the capital that is already here," said SPRING Singapore’s chairman Philip Yeo.

According to some estimates, renewable industries such as wind and solar energy can employ up to ten times the number of staff as their fossil counterparts. - CNA/ac

Related articles on Singapore: general environmental issues
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