Singapore, affectionately known as the Lion City, is a sovereign city state and island country in Southeast Asia that lies one degree north of the equator. Although Singapore has few natural resources, its focal position and deep-water harbor have helped establish the city as one of the world’s busiest hubs for shipping.
Renowned for its prosperity, the city has strict local laws and impeccable cleanliness. Once a British colonial trading post, Singapore is home to an array of cultures, ethnicities and religions. Singapore’s resident ethnic makeup comprises of Chinese, Malay, Indian, Eurasian and Peranakan (Straits-born people of Chinese and Malay/Indonesian heritage) communities. While the Constitution enshrines Malay as the national language, the four official languages are English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil.
Today, Singapore has fostered a highly-developed and successful free-market economy alongside a stable political environment. Economic growth has been underpinned by exports, particularly consumer electronics, information technology products, medical devices, pharmaceuticals as well as robust transportation, business and financial services.
Boasting one of the highest per-capita GDPs in the world, Singapore’s education, technology and healthcare ranks highly as does quality of life. Infrastructure is extremely well-developed with 100 per cent of the population having access to electricity, piped water and sanitation. With a highly-efficient public transport system, the government’s next step is merging technology into every aspect of life on the island as it turns Singapore into a Smart Nation. Mobility is viewed as key to the functioning of a livable and sustainable city and trials for driverless and autonomous vehicles are being undertaken.
Half the size of Greater London, Singapore is highly urbanized and densely populated with most of its people living in public housing tower blocks. The city’s progress since independence in 1965 has been remarkable. Urban planning is a highly-centralized government function and there are several sophisticated plans that are guiding the city’s future, managing the environment, protecting green spaces and ensuring social programs cater to the community’s needs.
Singapore has it all — quality of life, sustainability, competitiveness, livability and a great sense of identity.
Far-sighted, holistic and comprehensive planning by the Ministry of National Development has been a constant in the life of Singapore. So, it can confidently consider future development needs through an integrated planning process. The public and stakeholders are consulted throughout the planning process on area-specific plans (such as rail corridors), and development control guidelines.
The Land Use Plan outlines the strategies to sustain a high-quality living environment for a population range of 6.5 to 6.9 million by 2030. It also sets aside land to meet national needs beyond then, so future generations have options and room for growth.
The strategies to sustain a high-quality living environment include:
Providing good affordable homes with a full range of amenities
Integrating greenery into the living environment
Providing greater mobility with enhanced transport connectivity
Sustaining a vibrant economy with good jobs
Ensuring room for growth and a good living environment into the future.
Good and affordable housing is a priority in meeting the needs of Singaporeans. The Housing Development Board (HDB) is charged with building affordable homes and transforming towns to create value and quality living; it caters for more than 80 per cent of the population. The board’s aim, set out in the January 2013 Land Use Plan, is to build up to 700,000 new homes by 2030 to meet predicted population growth. Of these, almost 200,000 are already in the pipeline. Many of the remaining 500,000 new homes will be in new towns and housing estates, infill sites in existing towns, land freed up by the redevelopment of old estates, and vacant land within and on the fringe of the city center.
The speed of constructing new homes will depend on actual demand. The latest planning concepts and technical innovations, supported by amenities, will be incorporated in new towns and estates. Existing towns will be rejuvenated through various government-funded development programs such as HDB’s Remaking Our Heartlands. More housing will be provided in and around the city core to enable more Singaporeans to live nearer to their workplaces and enliven business districts. These homes will have easy access to abundant green and recreational spaces, comprehensive amenities and services for the young and old, and an extensive public transport network, especially train lines.
Be they parks, open plazas and shaded atriums, or streets that people use every day, public spaces have a big effect on overall wellbeing. Well-designed public spaces provide relief from the dense urban environment by promoting life outside buildings and the opportunity to foster social and community connections with fellow residents. As the city grows, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) is planning for new public spaces and enlivening existing ones.
While good design enhances the appeal of a place, regular programming actively draws in new and repeat users. Plans to enhance public spaces have always included bringing nature into urban areas. To sustain usage, public spaces are accessible via public transport and getting around is easy in any weather, even for less mobile citizens. To encourage use of buses and trains, more covered linkways and walkways have been built to ensure a weather-proof last mile for the commuters to their destinations — housing estates, schools or workplaces. Creating people-centric spaces has meant closing some roads to cars such as in the entertainment districts Ann Siang Road, Club Street and Haji.
In downtown Singapore, the Tanjong Pagar Center, opened in 2016, has a sizeable public space called the City Room and it is integrated with an upgraded Tanjong Pagar Park. This is a prime example of how urban planning can help transform an area from just a business address into an attractive public destination.
Project Bus Stop in the Jurong Lake District demonstrates how community collaboration can help give public spaces relevance and purpose. It has free Wi-Fi; mobile phone charging points; interactive smart boards that provide content and services such as bus arrival timings, ebooks download and a journey planner; a green roof; bicycle parking; a swing and a mini art gallery.
With global warming and rising sea levels, coastal protection from floods is an urban planning concern and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has undertaken a study to develop innovative solutions. BCA inspects and maintains 15 kilometers of foreshore structures designed to protect coastal land. Among its innovations are the use of green materials such as large sand-filled geo-textile bags as an alternative to traditional stone revetments at East Coast Park.
The National Parks Board (NParks) has successfully woven nature into the urban built environment. NParks’ mission has evolved over the years, from creating a Garden City to a City in a Garden. Last year alone, NParks planted more than 52,000 trees and introduced 22 new species, earning Singapore the accolade of being the world’s greenest city, ahead of Sydney, Geneva, Vancouver and Frankfurt. It is estimated that one-third of Singapore’s urban area is covered by greenery. Under NParks’ stewardship, more than 350 parks and gardens allow all residents to enjoy the restorative benefits of nature close to home and work.
Parks and greenery soften the tone and texture of a built landscape and make a high-density urban environment more liveable. They provide recreational and social spaces, improve the wellbeing of residents, and bring relief to a busy and bustling city.
Singapore pursues innovative ways to connect its green and blue spaces through the Park Connector Network (PCN). Plans to extend this green network will continue with the Round Island Route and Rail Corridor (old railway line from city center to Malaysia in the north), stretching about 150 kilometers. Community and leisure activities are catered for along these routes.
Under URA’s Landscape Replacement Area policy, new buildings must provide landscaped areas equivalent in size to the development site area. JEM in Jurong is a prime example.
Green strategies such as tree conservation and retention of existing terrain are encouraged in the development of towns to protect areas of biodiversity. Bidadari, a housing estate in the making, was formerly a public burial ground. HDB’s plans for the estate feature a new regional park that will retain its hilly landscape and celebrate the area’s history and heritage.
Singapore has an education system recognized around the world. The Compulsory Education (CE) Act of 2003 implemented six years of free primary education for all Singaporean children from the age of seven. Students are placed in Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) secondary courses according to how they performed in the primary leaving exam. Fees are negligible. After four or five years of education, students sit national examinations for admission to tertiary education — junior colleges, centralized institutes, polytechnics and/or institutes of technical education.
All Singaporean children aged seven to 16 enrolled in Ministry of Education funded schools receive an annual Edusave contribution to provide for school enrichment activities and encourage them to excel in both academic and non-academic areas.
Five years ago, the Early Childhood Development Agency was created and given responsibility for the development and regulation of the preschool sector, covering both kindergartens and childcare centers.
The Singapore education system stresses the need to produce students and graduates that can be employable in the future economy. The two main national universities, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University, compare favorably with others in Asia and around the world.
As Singapore’s population ages, there is an increasing need to provide a comprehensive care services for seniors to age among family and friends in the community. These include hospitals, outpatient polyclinics and community-based services such as senior care centers, senior activity centers and nursing homes. For the past 10 years, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has been building acute-care and community hospitals as well as nursing homes to cater for the aging population. The number of acute hospitals has increased from 14 to 19, providing more than 10,000 beds, from 2006 to 2017.
In 2017, MOH launched the Healthcare Industry Transformation Map (ITM) for a future-ready healthcare system with the vision of championing a healthy nation for Singaporeans to live well, live long and with peace of mind.
Each HDB town is designed to be self-sustaining so residents do not need to venture out of town to meet their most common needs. Each town has education and healthcare facilities, sports complexes, recreation zones, multistory carparks and other common facilities. All HDB residential areas are connected to a public transport infrastructure, including underground, buses, and light rail transit.
Every residential complex has outdoor sports fields, illustrating the state’s commitment to the good health of its citizens. Children’s playgrounds are an integral part of the living environment and employ a variety of designs, advanced materials and variations in age-appropriate equipment; areas are also equipped for adults.
As a low-lying, densely populated island in the tropics, Singapore is vulnerable to the impact of climate change. The Sustainable Singapore Blueprint released by the Inter-Ministerial Committee has set out strategies to reduce energy intensity and improve its water conservation and recycling efforts. In addition, Singapore has pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To reduce the city’s carbon footprint, the BCA has set 2030 as the target year for 80 per cent of public and private commercial buildings to be green-mark certified. Incentives will be given to industry to reduce wastage as well as improve energy efficiency, especially air-conditioning systems, which account for more than 30 per cent of electricity usage.
The Land Transport Authority (LTA) has made the last Sunday of every month car-free in the civic district and plans to reduce carbon emissions further by cutting the number of Certificate of Entitlements, allowing car ownership of 10 years, to a zero-growth rate. Shared electric cars services and more than 500 electric charging stations will be rolled out in phases. Meanwhile, shared bicycles and the use of personal mobility devices have been legalized for the last mile of journeys to encourage use of public transport.
Apart from mitigation efforts, Singapore has put in place measures to strengthen coastal protection, enhance drainage systems, increase the resilience of water supply and protect natural biodiversity. Low-lying developments are required to provide underground rainwater collection tanks to mitigate the effects of downpours, later emptying into canals. The aim is to prevent canals and rivers overflowing, flooding in low-lying areas, damage to properties and endangering human lives.
Cities that are highly livable emphasize walkability and tend to have extensive, affordable and high-quality public transport systems that connect people to jobs, schools and amenities in an efficient and reliable way. In Singapore, travel needs are largely met by trains and buses.
The rail network in Singapore is the backbone of its public transport system. The Circle Line was opened in 2011 to connect between people in the east, west and north without passing through the busy interchanges in the city center. The Downtown Line, opened in stages from 2013 to 2017, serves to improve connectivity for commuters in the north-west and east. The Thomson Line primarily serves the population in the north and will be opened in stages from next year to 2021. With the introduction of these lines, as well as the Eastern Region Line, Tuas West Extension and North-South Line Extension, the rail network will increase by about 100 kilometers to 280 kilometers by 2021.
By 2030, the rail network will further extend to include:
Cross Island Line – providing a direct line to connect residents in the east and northeast directly to the towns in the central and western region, and augment the existing North-South and East-West Lines
Jurong Region Line – enhancing connectivity around the Jurong region, serving the future Tengah New Town, Nanyang Technological University and Jurong Industrial Estate
Circle Line Stage 6 – closing the loop for the Circle Line between the central east areas, and central and west areas. This will establish a more direct route to key employment areas in the Central Business District, Marina Bay and Harbor front
North East Line extension – extending northeast to serve Punggol Downtown and northern part of Punggol, to further accommodate the growing population in the area
Downtown Line extension – connecting the Eastern Region Line and enhancing the connectivity between the areas served by both lines.
The LTA’s master plan aims to make Singapore a great city to live, work and play in. The focus is on making public transport an even more attractive mode of travel and reducing reliance on private vehicles.
Singapore’s strategic location and extensive links to regional and global markets cement its place as the gateway and hub that connects Asia to the rest of the world. It is one of the world’s top transportation hubs for sea and air cargo. Singapore’s container ports are connected to 600 ports in over 120 countries, and Changi Airport is linked to 300 cities in 70 countries, with more than 6,500 weekly flights.
Singapore ranks first in Asia in the Global Logistics Performance Index and its performance in the area plays a key role in shaping a competitive business environment and supporting domestic needs. The Logistics ITM was launched in 2017 by the Singapore Economic Development Board with a 2020 vision to develop Singapore into a global leading logistics hub, helping enterprises better capture growth opportunities in the sector.
The logistics industry is divided into three categories: land, air and sea.
The maritime environment is fast-changing. For Singapore to remain competitive, a key differentiator will be the ability to create and sustain value propositions that will help grow and anchor the local maritime cluster. A high-level 2030 Advisory Committee was formed in 2016 to undertake a strategic review and chart a development strategy to take Singapore’s International Maritime Centre to 2030 and beyond.
Singapore has the world’s busiest port but other countries in the region are boosting their infrastructure with an eye on a bigger slice of the trans-shipment pie. To remain competitive, the city’s port operations will relocate from Tanjong Pagar and Pasir Panjang to the west of Singapore, in Tuas. In 2015, the city’s ports handled more than 30 million Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU) of cargo; that figure is expected to rise to 65 million as the Tuas mega port gears up.
Opening in four phases from 2021 to about 2040, Tuas will be several times larger than trans-shipment harbors in Europe. The Tuas megaport will be outfitted with new, smart and green technologies such as automated container port systems, drones, automated cranes and a new vessel traffic management system. It will include an aerospace industry transformation map developed by a multiagency team together with industry partners, unions and trade associations, was launched in the first quarter of 2018. It maps out strategies to build a future-ready aerospace industry in three key areas by pursuing operational excellence, driving innovation in emerging technologies and equipping Singaporeans with relevant skills.
According to a 2016 to 2017 Boeing forecast, world air-cargo traffic will grow by 4.2 per cent a year in the next two decades. Innovation and improved productivity are critical for Singapore to remain globally competitive.
Singapore’s Air Transport ITM highlights four thrusts: innovation, productivity, jobs and skills, and enterprise. They are aimed at driving innovation and improving productivity, expanding airport infrastructure capacity and deepening skills of workers in the aviation sector, to enhance the city’s aviation competitiveness. Industry agencies are considering innovative uses of unmanned Aircraft systems in Singapore’s urban environment. They will explore solutions in areas such as surveillance, inspection, package and maritime delivery, and the effective and safe use of airspace.
Changi Airport is Singapore’s gateway to the world, making a big contribution to the economy, providing jobs and enhancing the country’s position as a global hub for trade, finance and tourism.
The airport can handle up to 85 million passengers, but is fast reaching its capacity. Growth is expected to remain strong, supported by the demand for air travel in the Asia-Pacific. It is therefore critical for Changi Airport to expand its infrastructure and capacity.
The new Changi East will allow Singapore to cope with future growth in air traffic and make the most of the benefits that air connectivity brings to Singapore. It is a whole-of-government effort involving multiple agencies as well as Changi Airport Group and external experts. There are three main elements:
A three-runway system, in which an existing military runway is being extended and accompanying taxiways are being constructed to cater to more flights.
The third runway will be ready for civil aviation use in 2020, and the three-runway system will be operational in the early 2020s.
A network of tunnels and systems, including the baggage handling system and automated people mover system, to allow for the efficient transfer of passengers, baggage and airside vehicles within Changi East and between Changi East and the existing terminals. Terminal 5, which will cater for an extra 50 million passengers in its initial phase, a 60 per cent increase in Changi’s capacity. Extensive land preparation and drainage works at Changi East began in 2014.
Cycling is beginning to catch on, especially for short trips such as part of the daily journey to work, typically to the train station or bus interchange, or for intra-town travel. At present, cycling accounts for only one per cent of all trips in Singapore but the URA foresees growth in commuter cycling as more infrastructure and supporting facilities are built.
The National Cycling Plan, a collaborative effort involving agencies such as LTA, URA, NParks, HDB, Public Utilities Board (PUB) and SportSG, aims to develop cycling routes for recreational and short commuting purposes, which will be integrated into a comprehensive network throughout Singapore.
Under a 2013 plan, LTA is building a cycling path network of about 190 kilometers in HDB towns by 2020. The long-term aim is to provide all 26 HDB towns with a comprehensive cycling network so residents can cycle to Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) stations and neighbourhood centers.
At the same time, the authority recognizes that there are opportunities to facilitate cycling for longer distances, and one key strategy is to link up cycling paths in HDB towns to NParks' Park Connector Network.
By 2030, the 240 kilometers of cycling paths today will have grown into a comprehensive island wide cycling path network reaching well past 700 kilometers. The network will combine intra-town routes, inter-town routes, the PCN and round-island routes.
Bicycle parking facilities, on top of the thousands already provided at MRT stations, will also be encouraged in private developments. The bicycle racks will be provided in partnership with residential and commercial developers at the Singapore Sports Hub as well as at locations in Marina Bay and the Jurong Lake District. LTA will continue to work with town councils and other agencies to provide sufficient bicycle parking within HDB estates and at key community amenities.
Other supporting cycling infrastructure, such as bicycle crossings and direction signage, will be built to improve safety and convenience for cyclists. A code of conduct for cyclists and a national cyclist education program are also being developed. The LTA also has introduced bicycle-sharing pilot schemes.
Motorists of the future will have more reason to leave their cars at home, with a proposed change to parking provisions in private buildings that will also free up land for other uses. The proposed bill amendments not only give LTA more flexibility in calibrating parking provisions in private developments, it will pave the way for fewer carpark spaces in upcoming housing precincts like Kampong Bugis, Holland Plain, Bayshore and Jurong Lake District.
Presently, LTA stipulates the minimum number of parking spaces for various uses. For example, residential projects must provide one car space per residential unit. For office developments, provision of one car space per 450 square meters of gross floor area in zones spanning the central business district and Marina Bay; parking provision ratios are different in each zone.
But the trend towards fewer carpark spaces in new buildings has been gaining traction even under existing rules.
Some 704 carpark spaces were lost in 2011 when Market Street Car Park, Singapore’s oldest multistory carpark, was demolished to make way for a 40-story Grade A office tower (CapitaGreen). The new office tower houses only 180 carpark lots. Golden Shoe Car Park once housed 1,000 carpark spaces — the upcoming integrated development on the site will house 350 car lots and 17 motorcycle lots.
Therefore, under the proposed amendments to the Parking Places Act, LTA will be able to specify the number of parking lots in private developments in terms of a range with a lower and upper bound. The new provisions will allow developers to test new concepts of space and land planning and new parking concepts such as hub carparks — one that is shared by a few buildings.
In space-starved Singapore, 12 per cent of land is set aside for roads and transport infrastructure. With a growing population and more than a million vehicles on the road, the challenge lies in optimizing the use of that limited space.
Beeline is a demand-driven, shared transit experiment by GovTech and LTA through an open, cloud-based smart mobility platform developed to provide data-driven shuttle bus services for commuters. The platform enables commuters to book a seat through a smartphone app on buses provided by private operators. In March 2017, Grab, a private technology company offering ride-hailing transport services, launched a shuttle service in collaboration with GovSec. This new service, called Grab Shuttle, is powered by Beeline.
Through separate partnership agreements with the LTA, Delphi Automotive Systems and nuTonomy are trialing their shared autonomous mobility-on-demand concepts. If these trials prove successful, the projects will be developed into full-scale mobility solutions for towns in Singapore, bringing more comfort and convenience for commuters, especially for first-and-last-mile and intra-town travel.
LTA has signed agreements with companies to develop solutions for autonomous truck platooning to transport containers from one port terminal to another, as well as issued a request for information for the development of self-driving utility vehicles for waste collection and road sweeping.
Trials for autonomous mobility-on-demand services were launched, which are envisaged to comprise of a fleet of shared self-driving shuttles or pods that commuters will be able to book through their smartphones to bring them in air-conditioned comfort from their doorstep to the train station or other neighbourhood amenities. This provides for a more comfortable option for first-and-last-mile connectivity and brings greater mobility to the elderly and other commuters who may have difficulty in taking present-day public transport.
In addition, a three-and-a-half-year project is underway to develop and trial autonomous buses with the possibility to be deployed to serve fixed and scheduled services for intra- and inter-town travel.
A nationwide charging standard for electric vehicles (EVs) was adopted on 30 June 2016 for all new public EV charging infrastructure. LTA and EDB, which co-chairs the Electro-Mobility Singapore taskforce, announced that Type 2 AC and Combo-2 DC charging systems would be adopted.
BlueSG Pte Ltd will operate the program for 10 years and install an island-wide EV charging infrastructure of 2,000 charging points, of which up to 20 per cent will be available for public use. The EV car-sharing program will be rolled out progressively across Singapore.
Given Singapore’s busy airspace and densely populated urban environment, the flying of an unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) must be carried out in a responsible manner because of the risk to aviation and public safety.
It is envisioned that a Smart Nation will be a leading economy powered by digital innovation. To drive pervasive adoption of digital and smart technologies, several key strategic national projects have been identified as key enablers in Singapore’s Smart Nation drive:
National Digital Identity – for citizens and businesses to transact digitally in a convenient and secure manner
Epayments – allowing everyone to make simple, swift, seamless and safe payments
Smart Nation sensor platform – deployment of sensors and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices to make Singapore more livable and secure
Smart Urban Mobility – using data and digital technologies, including artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles, to enhance public transport
Moments of Life – bundling government services to the citizen at different moments of his/her life.
Ultra-high-speed broadband is a critical national enabler to spur the development of knowledge-based sectors, such as research and development, interactive digital media and creative industries. It will be a catalyst for development and deployment of innovative interactive digital services to homes, schools and businesses.
The Next Generation Nationwide Broadband Network (Next Gen NBN) will reinforce the status of Singapore as an info-comm hub and open doors to economic opportunities, business growth and social vibrancy. It is envisioned that this will eventually provide a nationwide ultra-high-speed broadband access of one Gbps and more, to all physical addresses including homes, schools, government buildings, businesses, hospitals and non-building access points.
In the past few years, fiber take-up by non-residential users has risen steadily, and passed 85 per cent in April last year.
The Next Gen NBN will provide ultra-high-speed broadband access of one Gbps and more, delivering a slew of next generation services at all physical addresses including homes, schools, government buildings, businesses and hospitals.
Data.gov.sg was launched in 2011 as the government's one-stop portal to its publicly available datasets from 70 public agencies. More than 100 apps have been created using the government’s open data.
The new data.gov.sg, now in public beta, goes beyond being a data repository. It aims to make government data relevant and understandable to the public, through the active use of charts and articles.
This website is an initiative of the Ministry of Finance that is managed by the Government Technology Agency of Singapore.
The government’s principles for open data are that it should be easily accessible, available for cocreation, released in a timely manner, able to be shared in a machine-readable format and be as raw as possible.
The Personal Data Protection Act (PDPA) of 2012 covers the collection, use, disclosure and care of personal data. It recognizes both the rights of individuals to protect their personal data, including rights of access and correction, and the needs of organizations to collect, use or disclose personal data for legitimate and reasonable purposes.
Today, vast amounts of personal data are collected, used and even transferred to third parties. This trend is expected to grow exponentially as the processing and analysis of large amounts of personal data becomes possible with increasingly sophisticated technology.
By regulating the flow of personal data among organizations, the PDPA also aims to strengthen and entrench Singapore’s competitiveness and position as a trusted, world-class hub for businesses.
The Act also provided for the establishment of a national Do Not Call Registry, allowing residents to opt-out of receiving marketing phone calls, mobile text messages such as SMS or MMS, and faxes from organizations.
The Info-communications Media Development Authority provides the foundation for various information and communication technologies services and media content to be created and to flourish in a well-established system. Today, Singapore is one of the most connected countries in the world in terms of broadband speeds, and local audiences to make informed choices about a wide range of media content.
The Next Gen National Info-comm Infrastructure, which includes a nationwide fiber broadband network connecting homes, offices, schools and other buildings, has been providing ultra-high-speed internet access in a highly competitive telecom market.
Another Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA) initiative, the Wireless@SG free hotspot service, offers access to users on-the-go in thousands of locations island-wide. For businesses, it provides a way to go online for their business needs as well as to offer a form of access to customers.
On the broadcast front, Singapore’s free-to-air channels have been broadcasting in digital since December 2013, using the DVB-T2 (Digital Video Broadcasting – Second Generation Terrestrial) broadcasting standard. To keep pace with emerging media trends, the IMDA has also developed a more comprehensive way of tracking media consumption patterns in the form of the Singapore Television Audience Measurement (SG-TAM).
As a small, resource-constrained country, Singapore imports almost all its energy needs, and has limited renewable energy options. Singapore's high average annual solar irradiation of about 1,500 kWh/m2 makes solar photovoltaic a potential renewable energy but the island state has limited available land for the large-scale deployment of solar panels. Other obstacles are high cloud cover and urban shading.
With the limited renewable energy options available to Singapore and the current technological capabilities, the country is not able to generate sufficient baseload electricity from renewable sources reliably. Nevertheless, Singapore aims to increase solar deployment from the current 47 MWp to about 350 MWp of electricity by 2020. By 2030, it is estimated that renewable energy could contribute up to eight per cent of peak electricity demand.
Since April this year, households and businesses in Jurong could buy electricity from a retailer with a price plan that best meets their needs. This soft launch of the Open Electricity Market is in the process of being extended to the rest of the country and will involve 1.3 million accounts, mainly households.
The Energy Market Authority (EMA) also has regulatory measures to further strengthen the reliability of Singapore’s electricity supply, 80 per cent of which is generated from gas that comes through pipelines from Malaysia and Indonesia. With these measures in place, Singapore’s electricity grid maintains its status as one of the most reliable in the world, with an average interruption time of less than one minute per customer per year.
As a small country without any natural or energy resources, Singapore’s energy challenge is a multifaceted one. Singapore needs to ensure a secure energy supply for a competitive economy, while developing a sustainable living environment.
Through several initiatives, EMA is a catalyst for Research and Development (R&D) to keep energy options open, enhance energy efficiency and strengthen the resilience of the power grid. Besides addressing industry-relevant challenges, these initiatives also promote knowledge exchange and capabilities development among end-users, technology providers and institutes of higher learning.
In the past few years, EMA has given almost CAD60 million to 25 companies and 11 institutes of higher learning or research under the RIE2015 Energy Innovation Research Program.
Under RIE2020, EMA will build on the past momentum and focus R&D efforts on the areas of power utilities, energy storage and smart grids. A sum of CAD44 million has been allocated to launch competitive grant calls and test-beds projects on this front.
Water demand in Singapore is about 1.628 billion liters a day, with homes consuming 45 per cent and the non-domestic sector taking the rest. By 2060, Singapore's total water demand could almost double, with the non-domestic sector accounting for about 70 per cent. By then, reclaimed water (NEWater) and desalination will meet up to 85 per cent of Singapore’s demand.
The sewerage network collects used water from domestic and non-domestic (e.g., industrial, commercial) sources. Used water is channeled through a combination of gravity sewers and pumping stations to the water reclamation plants, where it is treated in accordance with international standards. Part of this treated used water, which is safe enough to be returned to nature, is sent to a separate treatment system in the NEWater plants. The remainder is discharged to the sea.
Driven by increasing water demand, rising operational costs, manpower constraints and new challenges such as climate change, the PUB is leveraging digital solutions and smart technologies to strengthen its operational resilience, productivity, safety and security. The integration of smart water technology will be a key pillar of Singapore's water resource management to achieve greater efficiencies, and faster response time in planning, operations and service delivery. PUB is exploring two key innovations for remote water quality monitoring, the Remote Micro-Invertebrate Detector and the Autonomous Boat.
The Remote Micro-Invertebrate Detector is a portable low-cost device easily deployed onsite to provide real-time detection and identification of images using artificial intelligence. The unit is linked to a mobile app and chat-bot, which allows the system to perform 24/7 real-time testing of water samples onsite, respond to commands, send live image reports, and trigger alerts when anomalies are detected. PUB plans to use them on a larger scale by the end of 2020.
Because of desalination’s contribution, it is important for PUB to monitor the quality of seawater intake to the plants. PUB is test-bedding the Autonomous Boat, which has the capability to brave choppy waters to perform real-time water quality monitoring via onboard sensors, collect water samples, and take photos and videos of water conditions. Programmed to avoid obstacles in the water, the boat is also able to self-navigate to the designated sampling points.
Growth in Singapore’s population and economy has contributed almost a seven-fold increase in the amount of solid waste disposed of, from 1,260 tons a day in 1970 to 8,443 tons a day in 2017.
With waste quantities projected to continue increasing with growing affluence and population, Singapore's main challenge is finding sufficient land for waste disposal. It has therefore adopted a series of strategies for a more sustainable solid waste management system.
Singapore's integrated solid waste management system focuses on minimization and recycling, or simply the three Rs (3Rs) — reduce, reuse, recycle. Waste to Energy (WTE) incineration plants offer the best technical solution by reducing waste volume efficiently to conserve landfill space. The 3Rs play a crucial role by preventing waste generation at its source and bringing with them many benefits.
Under the National Recycling Program launched in April 2001, public waste collectors licensed by the National Environment Agency are required to provide recycling bins and recycling collection services to all HDB estates, private landed properties and condominiums/private apartments opted into the public waste collection scheme. The mixed recyclables are collected by dedicated recycling trucks and sent to materials recovery facilities for sorting and transportation to recycling facilities for further processing.
Today, there are four WTE plants located at Tuas and Senoko; and an offshore landfill, Semakau Landfill, which receives non-incinerable waste and incineration ash via the Tuas Marine Transfer Station. Waste collectors sending waste to the four WTE plants and Tuas Marine Transfer Station must have a waybill to indicate the type and source of waste.
The voluntary Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) is a joint initiative by government, industry and non-government organizations to reduce packaging waste, which constitutes about one-third by weight of Singapore’s domestic waste.
Between 1 July 2012 to 2017, the SPA signatories have cumulatively reduced close to 39,000 tons of packaging waste and saved about CAD90 million. This SPA, originally due to expire on 30 June 2015, has been extended for five years.