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Pulau Ubin to get clean power next year

Residents of Pulau Ubin will be able to power their homes with clean energy such as biodiesel and solar power by the end of next year, replacing the noisy and pollutive diesel generators they currently use.

The Energy Market Authority (EMA) announced yesterday that a local consortium has clinched the contract to design, build, own and operate a micro-grid test-bedding project on the island.

The consortium is a partnership between clean energy firm Daily Life Renewable Energy (DLRE) and property developer OKH Holdings.

The EMA declined to reveal the cost of the project, but said the consortium was selected via a competitive tendering process that ‘took into account the companies’ proposed solutions, experience in similar projects and price competitiveness’.

The planned micro-grid is an intelligent system that will harness electricity from clean energy sources and regulate the flow of power to its users.

The EMA’s move marks a milestone for the project, which was first announced in 2009. The highly coveted contract initially received 21 bids, out of which nine companies were shortlisted, including Sembcorp Utilities, Tuas Power and General Electric.

DLRE executive director Markson Tang told The Straits Times that the consortium was excited to have won the multimillion-dollar project, which will be co-funded by it and the EMA. His company has successfully implemented more than 40 such micro-grid systems in countries like the Maldives and Vietnam.

Many parts of Asia still do not have easy access to power, and such grids could provide a clean and efficient way of providing communities with energy.

Under the contract, the consortium will provide electricity at a price of not more than 80 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh), lower than the $1 or more per kwh price for diesel generators.

EMA said islanders can then use higher-load electrical appliances such as air-conditioners and refrigerators, enabling businesses to expand operations.

The hundred or so islanders currently rely on their own generators as the cost of laying cables from the mainland is too high.

The first phase of the project, which involves building the infrastructure around the island’s jetty area, will be completed by the first half of next year, and residents can expect electricity supply by the end of next year.

EMA chief executive Chee Hong Tat said the test-bed will enable the authority to prepare for a future when renewable energy sources become a more significant part of Singapore’s energy mix, and will help the Republic gain an understanding of the impact of using intermittent renewable sources.

‘If this project is successful, it will help to open up opportunities for Singapore companies to spearhead the adoption of such technologies in the region,’ he said.

This article originally appeared in The Straits Times.

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