Singapore’s Daunting Environmental Challenge

The population of the Republic of Singapore is approximately 5.86 million people[1]. The island nation has an area of only 278 square miles and is one of the wealthiest countries in Asia. However, Singapore has very limited natural resources and must import all fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas).

In 2018, Singapore utilities used natural gas (95.4%), renewable energy (2.8%), coal (1.3%), and petroleum (0.5%) to generate electricity in the country[2]. Solar and biomass are the primary source of renewable energy in the country.

In 2016, Singapore signed the Paris Climate Agreement, committing to an 36% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels[3]. The Singapore government has committed to increase capacity of grid-connected solar from 71 MW in 2016 to 350 MW by 2020.

Singapore utilities and marine company, Sembcorp Industries has begun work on a 60 MW floating solar power plant at the Tengeh reservoir. The solar facility will sell power under a 25-year power purchase agreement to the Singapore Public Utilities Board.

The floating solar power plant will use double-glass panels and high-density polyethylene floats which are UV-resistant to prevent degradation from the intense sunlight. The solar facility is scheduled to be completed and fully operational in 2021.

Singapore is dependent on imports of liquified natural gas (LNG) to fuel the overwhelming majority of the electric power plants. The country’s government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and toxic air pollution. However, Singapore is facing a daunting environmental challenge due to the country’s small area and high population density.

Jack Kerfoot

Website – “Our Energy Conundrum”


[1] Singapore Population (2020) –  August 25, 2020

[2] Singapore Government, “Energy Market Authority” 2019

[3] Carbon Brief “Paris 2015: Tracking Country Climate Pledges”

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