Efficiency managers for firms that guzzle energy

By 2013, Singapore will make energy- hungry companies monitor usage, appoint energy managers and draw up plans to improve efficiency.

The requirements were announced by Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim yesterday along with other steps to improve efficiency. They will apply to firms that consume more than 15 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of energy a year - enough to power 3,000 to 4,000 HDB four-room flats for the same period. Some 130 firms fall into this category.

The new energy-efficiency rule will be contained in a proposed Energy Conservation Act, which will spell out energy management requirements for industry and other sectors.

While energy labelling and standards currently exist or will soon come into force for cars, buildings and appliances, the new legislation - to be introduced later and targeted to take effect in 2013 - will be among the first energy-efficiency legislation to cut across all sectors here.

Firms like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which uses about 65 GWh a year, will be subject to the new rules.

Its engineering services director Lim Hock Heng said the first improvements in energy efficiency would be easy, but subsequent improvements would cost more.

Said Mr Lim in an e-mail: ‘To sustain continuous reduction in energy usage, we foresee that significant capital outlay will be required.’ GSK’s current energy- saving measures include using solar panels on its buildings in Jurong.

To help firms build the necessary capabilities, the National Environment Agency (NEA) will introduce a new partnership scheme in April, on top of existing energy-efficiency grants and schemes.

Under the scheme, NEA will help firms learn how to manage their energy use, and get them to share energy-management knowledge with each other.

The public sector will also play its part in saving energy. Dr Yaacob told the House: ‘From Fiscal Year 2011, all ministries will set energy-efficiency targets.’

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