Singapore to Build Back-up Power Plant to Boost Energy Resilience

June 2023

Singapore plans to strengthen the country’s energy resilience, with the Energy Market Authority (EMA) announcing plans to build 2 open cycle gas turbine (OCGT) generation units. The units, which run on natural gas with diesel as a backup, are expected to go operational in June 2025, and can each produce up to 340 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Additionally, the OCGTs can also take up to 30 per cent hydrogen and, with the necessary enhancements, run fully on hydrogen, a potential solution to help the country achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.

The implementation of this critical power infrastructure can be quickly tapped to augment any unforeseen shortfalls in power supply and minimize risks of disruptions, with current OCGTs already supplying electricity during peak demand periods even without power disruptions. While they are not as efficient as the more common combined-cycle gas turbines (CCGTs), they are more effective and efficient to start up compared to CCGTs, which would require up to 14 hours to reach full generation output from a cold state, and would need to run for 6 hours before they can be shut down, and six hours before they can be restarted. This makes CCGTs unable to respond quickly to changes in demand patterns compared to OCGTs, especially during peak periods.

However, existing OCGTs are more than 30 years old and due for replacement, with the government required to step in to build new ones due to a lack of commercial interest from the private sector to set up new OCGTs, as they are less competitive than CCGTs. However, OCGTs are expected to continue playing a role in the country’s energy demands, particularly to meet surges in demand, while CCGTs continue to play a role in ensuring sufficient capacity.

(Source: Straits Times)

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