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Singapore is testing out several electric vehicle (EV) prototypes and technologies. The Electric Vehicle Taskforce led by EMA and LTA announced the launch of the electric vehicle test-bed on Sat [25 Jun
2011]. The aim of the test-bed is to test different EV prototypes and charging technologies in Singapore’s urbanised environment. The test-bed will be at 3 outdoor and 2 indoor charging stations and involve 5 Mitsubishi i-MiEVs and 4 Smart Daimler electric cars. From 9, the number of electric cars taking part in this test-bed is expected to grow to 95 before the trial ends in 2013. By then, there will also be 63 charging stations. The 5 stations will collect data on charging patterns as part of the test-bed. The data will also help determine the optimal ratio of charging stations to vehicles.

The charging stations will be installed near the homes or offices of test-bed participants and it will cost a flat rate of S$180 per month for unlimited charging of their electric vehicles. After a full charge of over 8 hours, the electric cars can run for about 90km to 160km. Companies interested in the test can apply for the TIDES-PLUS scheme which waives all vehicle taxes such as ARF, COE, road tax and excise duty for 6 years. The LTA said the cost of buying a Mitsubishi i-MiEV, for example, is about S$90,000 after waiving vehicle taxes under the scheme.

– Finally, the official testing of Singapore’s first batch of fully electric cars seems to be taking off, after a roughly 1-year delay during which the rest of the world has been moving further ahead. The electric cars such as the Mitsubishi i-Miev are no longer prototypes as the article claims, but are now full-fledged production vehicles wth retail sales started since Apr 2010.

Yes, there are people keeping track of such things and I happen to be one of them. Back in 2009, the article that ran said that the test-bed was "expected to run for three years (2010-2012)". It is now 2011 and the trial is supposed to end in 2013. Looks like everything has shifted 1 year. In addition (or rather, subtraction), V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid) is no longer mentioned. The scale of the test also seems to have been reduced. At the end of 2009, it was reported that 50 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars will make their way here from Sep 2010. The trial seems to have started with only 5 i-Miev’s (down from 50) and another 4 Smart electric cars. In 2010, it was initially said that there would be 26 charging stations which can do 8-hour charges, with one of them being a "quick charge station [that] can do so in 45 minutes". We are down to 5 charging stations and no mention of a 45-minute quick charge station.

Like I’ve said before, yes, it is good that the Singapore government is looking at adopting electric vehicle technology. But now I have to say that we have got to move quite a bit faster if Singapore is to have any kind of leadership position in technology adoption or transition to the post-Peak Oil era. Not only do we need to move faster in adopting alternative transportation technologies, but also in adopting alternative energy technologies. But that, is a story for another day.

See also :

1. Singapore electric vehicles : Government agencies EMA and LTA to study EV introduction

2. 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car to be more affordable, plug-in hybrid planned
3. 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV to comprise first batch of 50 Singapore electric cars arriving in Sep 2010

4. Singapore : Robert Bosch appointed to set up EV charging station infrastructure

via :
Singapore electric cars testing starts with 9 electric vehicles

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channelnewsasia.com :

Singapore prides itself on being a clean and green city but a booming economy and a high-consumption lifestyle have made it one of the world’s biggest carbon polluters per person. Singapore’s green credentials are strong and it is establishing itself as a regional renewable energy hub. Yet, if all Asians emulated Singaporeans’ modern and often luxurious lifestyles, greenhouse gas emissions would spike alarmingly. "If everyone in the world enjoyed the same level of consumption as the average Singaporean, we would need three planets to meet the demands placed on our resources," WWF spokesman Chris Chaplin said. Singapore was listed by Maplecroft as the world’s 7th largest CO2 emitter relative to its population size. Ahead of it were only UAE, Australia, the US, Canada, Netherlands and Saudi Arabia.

Despite a punishing auto levy and road charges, the number of motor vehicles in Singapore reached 925,518 in 2009, up more than 27% in 5 years. Singapore authorities insist that the country has no choice but to rely on imported fossil fuel. With an area smaller than New York City, Singapore has no space for wind power, and is devoid of hydro and geothermal power sources. Nevertheless, the Singapore government is committed to the fight against climate change. Singapore is investing heavily in clean energy and is building an LNG terminal that will be ready by 2013. It is also pushing its people to do more recycling, doubling its rail network by 2020 and testing electric vehicles for commercial use. In addition, Norway’s REC opened one of the world’s biggest solar manufacturing facilities in Singapore in Nov 2010, costing nearly $2 billion, and Danish wind-turbine manufacturer Vestas already has a global R&D centre there.

– Whenever I go to places like Malacca, Malaysia for short breaks, I am reminded of how a society’s choices have an impact on resource and energy usage. I was discussing just this with a colleague not too long ago. He had remarked that the buildings in Malaysia, ah, not to put too fine a point to it, generally are not quite as well maintained as those in Singapore. My take on that was it was their people’s choice, and looking at it from a Peak Oil and/or environmental perspective, that may not be such a bad thing. After all, that means lower maintenance cost, and reduced demand for resources and energy. I doubt many of my colleagues and friends see it that way. Actually, I kind of doubt that even those in Malaysia see it that way.

Conversely, a look around the Singapore of end-2010 looks to me like one of those resource-intensive, high-energy usage scenarios of the future : shiny new buildings, brand new cars, newly paved roads, bright lights everywhere. Shopping malls completely decked out with seasonal decorations, supermakets full of food from all over the world. As for the supermarkets, their motto could well have been something along the lines of "it’s always in season somewhere". Oranges from California. Apples from New Zealand. Mangoes from Pakistan. Peakoilers often talk about "3000-mile Caesar salads". How about 10,000-mile chickens from Brazil? Or a brand called "Air Pork" that is imported from Australia – no prizes for guessing how it gets here to Singapore. You really can’t make this stuff up.

In recent times, it has been apparent to me that even though I am continuing to track my own country’s attmpted progress in bringing in electric cars, putting up solar panels, inviting clean energy companies to setup shop here, the pace of economic growth and hence resource usage seems to have completely outstripped these efforts. It is always a fine balance between economic growth and ecological preservation, and we don’t really seem to have found it – yet. But at least we should try to work towards it.

See also :

1. Singapore electric vehicles : Government agencies EMA and LTA to study EV introduction

2. Singapore : First Zero Energy Building launched with largest solar power installation in Southeast Asia

3. 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV to comprise first batch of 50 Singapore electric cars arriving in Sep 2010

4. Singapore to consider nuclear power to improve energy security
5. Singapore : Robert Bosch appointed to set up EV charging station infrastructure

via :
Singapore in tough environmental balancing act

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channelnewsasia.com :

26 charging stations will be set up for Singapore’s Electric Vehicle (EV) test bed programme. The inter-agency Taskforce led by the Energy Market Authority and the Land Transport Authority has appointed Bosch to set up the infrastructure. For a start, the charging stations will cater to the first batch of Mitsubishi i-MiEV‘s being brought in for the test-bed. EV models by other car manufacturers are expected to become available in 2011.

All but one of the charging stations can fully charge an electric vehicle within eight hours. The remaining quick charge station can do so in 45 minutes. Bosch will work closely with each EV user in the test-bed programme to site the locations of these charging stations. The quick charging station will be sited at a location which the EV users can conveniently access. The charging infrastructure will be ramped up over time to match the take-up rate of EVs in Singapore.

– Good news for prospective Singapore electric car owners and users. This should be a much better idea in the long run and more sustainable than the handful of CNG refueling stations that have been put up around the island. Recent feedback from some taxi drivers I talked to has confirmed my opinions on CNG – according to them, CNG is not as cheap nowadays, the range is limited, and yes, the tank takes up valuable space. And of course CNG is still a fossil fuel.

EV adoption in Singapore should make an interesting study. Singaporeans are a pragmatic lot, so for any alternative solution to work, it has to be affordable and convenient, and there has to be little compromise in terms of power and range. I was talking to a colleague about EV’s this week – he’s not alone in this, but to him an acceptable electric vehicle range has to be at least the same as conventional cars, which would be say 400-600 km (250-370 miles). So until pure electric cars fall in price, we are of the opinion that plug-in hybrids would be much more acceptable over here in the meantime.

See also :

1. Singapore electric vehicles : Government agencies EMA and LTA to study EV introduction

2. 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car to be more affordable, plug-in hybrid planned
3. 2010 Nissan Leaf electric car specifications : 107hp, 24KWh lithium-ion batteries, 100-mile range

4. 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV to comprise first batch of 50 Singapore electric cars arriving in Sep 2010

via :
Singapore : Robert Bosch appointed to set up EV charging station infrastructure

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bloomberg.com :

Singapore should consider using nuclear power and depend less on foreign workers in its efforts to transform the economy in the next decade, a government-appointed panel said. The recommendations have been accepted by the government and will be addressed in the budget to be unveiled on 22 Feb 2010. Singapore is seeking ways to ensure its economy expands in a more sustained manner after three recessions in the past decade, with its most recent slump the deepest since independence in 1965. The panel announced 7 proposals to restructure the economy. They include making the city state a hub for global companies seeking to expand in Asia, improving energy security and being more flexible in land usage. The committee urged the government to study using nuclear energy as a future source of power and the import of coal and electricity. It also recommended the creation of a "waterfront city" on existing port facilities run by PSA International in the south of the island when the lease expires in 2027. The panel recommends that the government develop an "underground master plan" to create more space as there may be limits to how much land it can reclaim.

channelnewsasia.com :

The Economic Strategies Committee (ESC) on Monday [1 Feb 2010] gave extensive recommendations to ensure energy sustainability and the full optimisation of Singapore’s land space, given the island-state’s limited resources. Among the plans is a new waterfront city at Tanjong Pagar, currently a port area comprising Keppel and Pulau Brani. Besides land constraints, Singapore also faces energy resource constraints. The committee suggested that Singapore study the feasibility of using nuclear energy in the long term, an idea which Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in 2008 said he "hasn’t ruled out". The ESC said the option could help meet base load electricity demand as well as Singapore’s energy security in the long run. In the medium term, the committee suggested Singapore should explore coal and electricity imports to diversify its energy sources. Importing energy will also free up valuable land in the country.

– This is the clearest confirmation yet by the Singapore government on its plans for nuclear power, which I have been advocating since at least 2006 (see my feedback to the government during the National Climate Change Strategy consultation). Until this pronouncement, all prior communications had been vague, along the lines of "we are not ruling it out". Of course the "coffeeshop talk" folks would murmur that once the Singapore government even so much hints at any new initiative even in vague terms, it has already been decided upon and WILL be implemented rapidly and efficiently, without so much as a peep from the rest of the people. Perhaps. But I shall leave the political pontifications to those so inclined.

Myself, I am glad that the Singapore government has decided to take a bold move towards embracing nuclear energy. As I have been saying all along, and now as the government panel itself has also said, what we need is baseload power, and with current technology we have about two choices – nuclear and coal. What *is* a little unfortunate, though, from my point of view, is that the government seems to be choosing *both* nuclear *and* coal. Now I’m sure that as a Kyoto signatory, Singapore probably wouldn’t be going out building conventional dirty coal power plants willy-nilly. Or at least, we environmental activists surely hope not. The hope is that they will at least try to adopt some form of clean coal system. And while I have some reservations (some rather big reservations) about clean coal, if it is at all technologically feasible, you can trust the Singapore government to try to pull it off. Well. Like they say : you win some, you lose some.

A mixed congratulations then to Singapore. +10 points for embracing nuclear power, -5 points for considering coal at the same time. To be fair, I have tracking both initiatives coming on the horizon, plus the one about the LNG terminal, so all this is hardly much of a surprise. So keep posted, as we shall track how the execution goes on these plans.

See also :

1. Asia going nuclear amid rising oil prices, global warming concerns
2. Should we build more nuclear power plants? Yes
3. Energy security: a look at other fuel sources
4. Indonesian firms to build LNG terminal (and why Singapore should go nuclear)
5. Singapore : Nuclear power not ruled out

via :
Singapore to consider nuclear power to improve energy security

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channelnewsasia.com

Singapore will receive its first batch of electric vehicles (EVs) next year as part of a national EV test-bedding programme. The Energy Market Authority (EMA) said 50 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars will make their way here from Sep 2010. EMA deputy CEO David Tan said the authority is now looking for companies to participate in the programme and be an early adopter of EVs in Singapore.

Mr Tan said a multi-agency EV Taskforce will also be rolling out a small network of charging stations. A competitive tender will be launched in 2010. On top of that, a study will be carried out to determine the number of EV charging stations and their specific locations. Most of the charging is expected to be done overnight in the car parks of the EV users’ homes or offices. The deployment of these EV charging stations will be timed to coincide with the actual take-up of EVs under the testbedding programme for Singapore electric cars.

– A slight departure from the Renault-Nissan combo mentioned earlier, but nevertheless it is good to know that the first *real* electric cars are coming over to Singapore finally. Ok, let me define "real" here as an actual electric car you can look forward to buying from a showroom soon, something that is a mass production model, not a one-off thing, and not something so high-end that you get movie stars and government officials on some kind of a waiting list.

It’s something that the "Average Family Man" might want to buy, and just as importantly is able to afford. Something from a well-known, trusted car-maker brand that would benefit from the same distribution, dealership and service network that would be required to support the entire lifecycle of the car, without you having to register your own one-man dealership to import *one* special electric car into the country (yes, I do know someone who almost had to do that). All the above, that to me, makes for "real". Now it may not be *your* definition, but it’s just *my* definition 🙂

And finally, not to forget that in Singapore, over 80% of the population stays in high-rise apartment buildings, so having our folks trying to haul 100-feet electric power cords down from our homes to the carpark to plug into our EV’s or plug-in hyrbids is pretty much out of the question. So we will also need a "real" EV charging network to match, and it’s good to see that the Singapore government is working on that as well.

See also :

1. Singapore electric vehicles : Government agencies EMA and LTA to study EV introduction

2. 2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car to be more affordable, plug-in hybrid planned
3. 2010 Nissan Leaf electric car specifications : 107hp, 24KWh lithium-ion batteries, 100-mile range

4. Hong Kong to introduce electric cars by end 2010
5. Smart power grid : Singapore to introduce intelligent energy management system

via :
2010 Mitsubishi i-MiEV to comprise first batch of 50 Singapore electric cars arriving in Sep 2010

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channelnewsasia.com :

Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA) is launching a 3-year pilot project aimed at helping households and businesses save more on electricity bills. The initiative comes on the back of higher consumption patterns and more diversified energy sources. Due to the current design of Singapore’s electricity grid, users do not know how much electricity is used until the monthly power bill. The growing use of renewable/alternative energy like wind power and solar power will also create complications as power sources become intermittent and variable.

To address these challenges, EMA is rolling out the "Intelligent Energy System" project aimed at developing smart grid solutions. It includes deploying smart meters to more homes, which provide households with real-time information on their electricity usage, and help them shift demand away from peak periods. Having a smart electric grid will also ensure continued reliability in electricity supply, using renewable energy sources, and offer the ability to tap into electric cars as an energy storage system to feed power back to the grid during peak periods, also known as V2G (Vehicle-to-Grid). As technology takes off, there will be increasing demand for electricity charging by plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric cars.

– The Singapore government continues to execute on its long-term energy strategy. With the advent of Peak Oil, the era of cheap energy and certainly cheap electricity is over. The next best things to do, then, are to look into renewable/alternative energy sources, energy conservation, and certainly, energy management systems, such as grid tie solar systems, and intelligent electrical power distribution systems such as this "Intelligent Energy System".

The other notable point is the one about plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles acting as smart cars when plugged into the grid for recharging (or discharging, if that were the case) to act as a sort of distributed battery system. It would certainly be most interesting to see how this might work out seeing how it is quite likely that at night the cars would need recharging while the sun isn’t shining. Which brings us back to the point that the peakoilers are making : "we need all of the above, and every bit helps" – to which the corollary might state : "but we still need reliable base-load power", though a smart power grid would certainly be useful to help even things out a bit.

See also :

1. Energy authority mulling over market for electricity futures
2. Singapore to trial EVS (Electricity Vending System) with 1000 users from Nov 2008
3. Singapore : Nuclear power not ruled out
4. Singapore electric vehicles : Government agencies EMA and LTA to study EV introduction

5. Singapore : First Zero Energy Building launched with largest solar power installation in Southeast Asia

via :
Smart power grid : Singapore to introduce intelligent energy management system

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channelnewsasia.com, manilatimes.net :

The inaugural Singapore Green Building week started with the launch of Singapore’s first "Zero Energy Building". The Zero Energy Building along Braddell Road, a three-storey office building, cost S$11 million [USD $7.9 million] to retrofit and is expected to generate as much electricity as it consumes. It has various green features which act as a test bed for clean energy technologies before being introduced into the industry. The visitor’s centre has plants on its walls which help reduce external wall temperatures by up to 12 degC while a solar chimney sucks out the warm air from the room. Panels help shade the building from the sun and bounce natural light into the interiors.

A massive array of solar panels of 1,300 sq metres [14,000 square feet] – almost half a football field and the biggest such installation in Southeast Asia – covers the roof. The solar photovoltaic power panels can generate about 207,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually. Three hours of sunlight would be enough to supply the building’s energy requirement for a day. At night and when there is no available sunlight, the building can tap energy from the grid. While it might cost 5% more to retrofit existing buildings with green design and technologies, experts said the payback is not as long as some might expect. Cash incentives are already in place under the Green Mark certification scheme to encourage buildings to go green. The Singapore government aims to get 80% of all buildings on Green Mark certification by 2030.

– Another good eco/green initiative from the Singapore government, which, post-Kyoto, has been making quite a bit of progress in the area of renewable energy and other pro-environmental issues, from various tax incentives for green vehicles such as hybrid cars, to setting up a waste-to-energy power plant, water-recycling plants, and ongoing clean & green campaigns.

The Zero Energy Building will be a landmark Singapore development, and will pave the way to building green homes and other office buildings in line with the government’s move towards Green Mark certification of all new buildings as green buildings and ongoing retrofitting of existing ones.

In Asia, Singapore aims to be one of the pioneers in building green homes, with the development of the Treetops@Punggol public housing project being a prime example. Though there is not quite enough land in Singapore for a full-scale solar or wind power project to provide grid power, as alluded to in my earlier post, ongoing developments will still tackle the issues of energy efficiency, and for eco-homes, solar power would still feature prominently with the existing power grid providing supplemental power.

Hopefully, the Singapore experience will show that the world needs a systems approach to tackling energy and environmental issues from many different angles, as opposed to slogans such as a "carbon zero building" or a "zero energy home". For homes, the cost of residential solar panels is still high though it has been coming down significantly, and of course it ought to be recognized that "eco-" or "green"-ness entails much more than putting up solar panels – we need a total systems solution that, as the peakoiler community is saying nowadays, necessarily includes "all of the above", whether it be energy efficiency, renewable/alternative energy sources, nuclear power, hybrid/electric cars, vehicle-to-grid (V2G), green building design, intelligent grids, cooling/heating system design, water and materials recycling, and more. The works, in short. The future of solar energy is bright, but what we really need, is truly "all of the above".

See also :

1. Singapore company converts Waste2Energy
2. Energy security: a look at other fuel sources
3. Singapore : Nuclear power not ruled out
4. Singapore electric vehicles : Government agencies EMA and LTA to study EV introduction

5. Singapore opens largest CNG refuelling station in the world

via :
Singapore : First Zero Energy Building launched with largest solar power installation in Southeast Asia