Out-Law News 2 min. read

Singapore’s hydrogen-ready power plant plans reflect higher energy demands

Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA) has announced plans to build two more natural gas, hydrogen-compatible power plants by 2030 to help ensure energy security and reliability amid growing electricity needs.

Bryan Chapman, Associate at Pinsent Masons MPillay, said: “This announcement reflects the continued reliance Singapore has on gas to meet most of its energy needs albeit with the expectation that as hydrogen production develops, it can be imported and used by such plants to help reduce carbon emissions and meet net zero targets.”

The plans are set out in a request for proposal to build and operate new generation capacity (46 pages / 636 KB). The EMA is inviting the private sector to build, own and operate two new hydrogen-ready combined cycle gas turbine generating units. It is the second set of proposals released by the EMA as part of its centralised process to guide and facilitate the development of new generation capacity to meet growing electricity demands. 

Singapore’s electricity demand has been increasing, driven by large electricity-intensive sectors including advanced manufacturing, digital economy, and transport. According to EMA predictions, Singapore’s power system peak demand will further increase by at least 3.7% in the next six years, reaching 10.1 gigawatt (GW) before growing to 11.8 GW by 2030.

Singapore is aiming to utilise hydrogen as a fuel from 2035 in efforts to reach net zero carbon emission targets by 2050. Currently, around 40% of Singapore’s greenhouse gas emissions are produced by the power sector. To combat this, all new and repowered power plants are required to be at least 30% hydrogen-compatible, and must be able to be retrofitted to run entirely on hydrogen in the future as hydrogen is considered as ‘greener’ fuel.

Will Stroll, a corporate law expert at Pinsent Masons MPillay, said: “Along with the development of hydrogen ready gas fired power plants, Singapore is investing in the necessary infrastructure to develop low-carbon ammonia supply chains in Singapore, including ammonia cracking facilities, storage and handling infrastructure. Ammonia is easier to transport and store than hydrogen and it is likely that ammonia will form a key part of the low-carbon strategy”.

The two new plants aim to help with both growing energy needs and the move towards ‘cleaner’ energy use in Singapore in line with 2035 and 2050 targets. The two new plants are expected to be up and running by 2029 and 2030. Both plants are expected to have a capacity of at least 600GW, enough to power around 864,000 four-room flats for an entire year. The proposals mean that there will be a minimum of nine hydrogen-compatible plants in Singapore by 2030.

The latest announcement follows on from similar plant developments announced over the last few years, such as the Keppel Sakra Cogen (600MW) and the Sembcorp Cogen (600MW) plants. These plants are expected to be completed in 2026, with a further plant, the YTL PowerSeraya (600MW) plant expected to be completed in 2028.

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