Singapore firms eye plans to build small-scale power plants

Several new players as well as energy-intensive industries here are expected to build small-scale power plants in the coming two years, says the Energy Market Authority (EMA).

These will mostly cater to their in-house utility needs, although any surplus electricity they produce can be injected into the Singapore power grid.

For 2011, this includes Green Power which is planning to build 8.34 megawatts of combined cycle gas turbine (CCGT) capacity, and Wyeth Nutritionals, now part of pharmaceuticals maker Pfizer, which is planning a 5 MW CCGT facility here, the regulator said.

To help reduce energy costs, Wyeth in 2007 introduced a same-size 5 MW combined heat and power project at its Askeaton plant in Ireland which now produces almost 90 per cent of the electricity and steam needed there. And this looks to be what the company is also planning in Tuas.

Oil giant ExxonMobil’s two new 110 MW plants are also scheduled to come on stream next year, in time to supply utilities needed by its upcoming new US$5 billion second petrochemical complex on Jurong Island.

EMA’s indicative future capacity additions for 2011-2012 were cited in a just-released report by PA Consulting Group.

PA has been appointed by the regulator to review vesting contract levels in the electricity market here for 2011-2012, with such contracts helping to ensure that there is no undue market power wielded by any generating company.

According to the EMA, two new cogeneration plants are slated to enter the market this year - industrial gas provider Soxal’s 14.9 MW steam facility and Biofuel Industries’ 9.9 MW biomass plant which is fuelled by horticultural and industrial wood waste.

They will join existing small generators here including Japanese chemical maker ISK (9.6 MW), and pharmaceutical makers like Pfizer Asia-Pacific (4.8 MW) and Schering Plough (9.8 MW) which have cogen plants to cater to their in-house utility needs.

As for planned capacity in 2012, EMA said that IUT Singapore, which already operates a 2.13 MW bio-methanisation plant which creates energy from food waste, has indicated adding another 6.4 MW of CCGT capacity.

Norway’s Renewable Energy Corporation, which is inaugurating its S$2.6 billion integrated solar cell complex in Tuas this November, is also expected to start up a 45 MW cogen plant there in 2012.

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