S'pore should explore solar & nuclear power to boost energy security: Lim Wee Kiak

Singapore depends on natural gas for 95% of its energy supply.

Tan Min-Wei | February 23, 2023, 06:25 PM

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Sembawang Member of Parliament Lim Wee Kiak spoke in parliament on Feb. 23 about increasing the use of solar and nuclear power in Singapore to enhance Singapore's energy resilience.


Lim outlined the risk to Singapore's energy supplies, giving the example of the war in Ukraine resulting in a global disruption of energy prices.

Lim said that Singapore urgently needed to explore alternative sources of energy, and suggested that Singapore should ramp up the adoption of solar energy and consider the adoption of nuclear energy.

Solar grants

Lim remarked that in his opinion there were many residential, commercial, and industrial building rooftops where solar panels could be installed.

He suggested providing grants to private homes or companies to encourage them to use their rooftops for solar power generation.

He also further suggested that the Building Control Authority can consider revising its building code to make it mandatory to install of solar panels part of the Minimum Environmental Sustainability Standard for all new buildings.

Infusion of nuclear

Lim also encouraged the consideration of nuclear energy in Singapore.

Lim said that despite Singapore's small size, "we have never shied away from challenges due to Singapore's limited size constraints".

Lim said that there were numerous options that could be considered, such as building a nuclear power facility either on an offshore island, manmade rig in the sea, or underground.

He referenced France's development of an underwater nuclear reactor named Flexblue, while it is developing the technology to build an operate a nuclear reactor under the sea.

Under consideration previously

Lim said that nuclear energy had been under consideration in Singapore for several years, and that the Energy 2050 committee had identified it as one of three ways Singapore might achieve net-zero by 2050.

Lim said that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has been monitoring developments in the space in order to understand and assess its safety, security, and environmental implications.

But the time needed to implement a nuclear energy project could be within 10 to 15 years, and Singapore should be prepared in case nuclear power becomes an "inevitable option".

For such a project to be viable, Lim asked if there was a timeline for pursuing nuclear energy. He also said it was crucial to set a clear target to evaluate the feasibility of nuclear energy.

Diversification of energy sources

These solar and nuclear projects were ways that Singapore could enhance energy resilience, while cutting dependency on natural gas.

Lim welcomed Singapore recent expansion of its energy options through the importing of renewable energy from Southeast Asian neighbours.

But that would not significantly enhance resilience as such supply could be interrupted at any time.

Currently Singapore depends on a single energy source, natural gas, for 95 per cent of its energy needs, Lim said.

He ask about the risk of interruption of supply, and also asked about the current capacity of Singapore's liquid natural gas terminal.

Just as Singapore prioritised supply diversification for food, it should do the same for energy, Lim said.

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