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Singapore to import electricity from Malaysia for a two year trial

Singapore plans to import 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity from Malaysia for a two year trial starting next year to diversify the country’s energy supply.

The plan “will allow the region to share the clean energy sources that different countries may have”, according to Singapore's trade and industry minister Chan Chun Sing's announcement in a speech on the first day of Singapore's international energy week.

Singapore aims to assess and refine the technical and regulatory frameworks for importing electricity. This will help to smooth the path of larger-scale imports from the region in future.

A statement from the Energy Market Authority (EMA), a statutory board under the Ministry of Trade and Industry, said it plans to issue a request for proposal by March 2021 for 100MW of electricity imports. The imports will begin at end of 2021 via current electricity interconnector between Singapore and Malaysia according to the proposal.

Currently more than 95% of Singapore's electricity is generated from imported natural gas.

Meanwhile, the Singapore government has established an S$49 million fund for low-carbon energy research and test bedding in hydrogen and carbon capture utilisation and storage. The government will try to reach 1.5 gigawatt-peak (GWp) of solar deployment by 2025, Chan said.

Besides the trial, EMA will also introduce a forward capacity market in the coming years to provide greater certainty to energy producers on the energy demand in the next few years. According to Chan, Singapore will be part of the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project that known as a “pathfinder” to a broader ASEAN power grid system.

John Yeap, an infrastructure expert at Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law, said, “Singapore’s importation plan is a crucial further step towards bringing together the four nations of Laos, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore as a potential energy trading bloc, opening up not just the possibility of importing renewable energy from Laos into each of the other countries but also increased environmental and cost benefits through improved system stability and economies of scale benefits."

"The first phase of this trading bloc, involving just Laos, Thailand and Malaysia was implemented some years ago through an electricity wheeling and purchase arrangement which we assisted in designing and implementing, and it was by no means a given that Singapore, with its wholesale market model, would be able to find a way to integrate its electricity market with the bloc’s single buyer models. It is therefore tremendously exciting to see this development as it demonstrates the resolve of the four nations to advance the green energy agenda across their geographies,” he said.

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