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How Singapore’s clean energy drive can support commitment to a greener Asean Power Grid

Singapore’s leadership in this space is driven by domestic needs: currently, most of its power comes from natural gas, and the government has set a long-term target of reducing that to a little over 50 per cent by substituting clean electricity. Some of this alternative energy will come from domestic sources such as rooftop solar and potentially geothermal, nuclear, or hydrogen. However, given land constraints, electricity imports will be a necessary factor in Singapore’s future energy mix.

However, future needs are likely to be met through other sources, due in part to requisite infrastructure upgrades to expand interconnections and power flow for the LTMS-PIP, and in part to the general security and resilience benefits of power diversification. Singapore’s Energy Market Authority recently gave conditional approval for a series of alternative electricity imports: agreements for 1,000MW of solar, wind, and pumped storage hydropower from Cambodia; 1,200MW of offshore wind projects in Vietnam; and up to 2,000MW of solar from Indonesia were signed in 2023.

Singapore’s preference for clean energy is driving new ideas for power routes, such as high-voltage undersea transmission cables, which enable direct electricity trade with Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Singapore will also need to hash out operational and pricing agreements for cross-border power purchases of solar and wind, which, given their variable output, require different terms from traditional power sources.

Expanding interconnections will generate major savings for Asean. A recent DNV study estimates Asean could save US$800 billion through 2050 if countries tap into renewable energy through multilateral trade. Equally importantly, the study shows that expanded