Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim asked the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) whether the decision to embark on nuclear power may be precluded by the much more rapid decline of costs per megawatt hour for renewables relative to the much slower decline in nuclear power; and (b) if so, whether resources directed towards nuclear plant construction may be better deployed towards renewables.
Mr Gan Kim Yong: Singapore has been exploring various solutions to decarbonise the grid as part of our commitment to achieving a low-carbon energy future under the Singapore Green Plan 2030, and our Long-term Low Emissions Development Strategy.
Singapore has limited potential to deploy renewable energy. At present, solar energy remains the most viable renewable energy option for Singapore. However, we have limited land for the large-scale deployment of solar panels. In addition, the presence of high cloud cover across Singapore and urban shading pose challenges such as intermittency.
Given these limitations, we are looking into importing energy to Singapore. We are also looking at developing the infrastructure and policies for low carbon alternatives like hydrogen, which can be used to transport renewable energy to Singapore. However, low carbon technologies such as hydrogen are currently nascent, and uncertainties remain on whether and when they can become cost-viable for large-scale deployment. We are also monitoring the developments in nuclear energy, as well as building capabilities to better understand and assess their safety, security and environmental implications.
It is against this context that the Energy 2050 Committee developed the three pathways that Singapore could take to achieve net-zero by 2050, one of which included the option of nuclear energy. Our future energy mix will depend on various factors, including the advances in various low-carbon technologies, as well as collaboration and trading of low-carbon energy across borders. Any decision to deploy new energy technologies will need to weigh carefully their safety, reliability, affordability and environmental sustainability. In the meantime, we will continue to enhance energy efficiency across all sectors and encourage consumers to play their part to conserve energy, to reduce our overall demand and reliance on energy.
Ministry of Trade and Industry
4 July 2022