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Greener, more efficient gas plants at power firm

Senoko Energy began converting three old oil-fired plants with a 750MW capacity into two gas-fired ones with a capacity of 862MW. -ST
Grace Chua

Sun, Feb 10, 2013
The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - Senoko Energy, Singapore's largest power-generation firm, has completed a $1 billion repowering project that could cut its carbon emissions by an estimated one million tonnes a year.

Starting in 2008, the company began converting three old oil-fired plants with a 750MW capacity into two gas-fired ones with a capacity of 862MW.

Not only are the new turbines cleaner, they also use less fuel than the oil-fired turbines, which were commissioned three decades ago. On Wednesday, the company officially announced the completion of the conversion.

The gas-fired turbines operate on a combined-cycle basis, to burn gas, produce electricity and heat, tap waste heat, boil water, and generate electricity from steam. If they work round the clock, the daily output of the new turbines is enough to power more than 4,000 four-room HDB homes for a year.

In all, Senoko has 3,300MW of generation capacity and supplies about 30 per cent of local energy needs. The upgrade also increases its ability to take advantage of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the upcoming terminal set to open this year, said Senoko president Brendan Wauters.

He said LNG will eventually make up about 20 per cent of the firm's feedstock.

The new plants emit 40 per cent less carbon dioxide than the old ones for the same amount of energy produced, he added.

Today, almost 90 per cent of Singapore's electricity is generated using natural gas, according to Energy Market Company reports.

Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said that more generating companies here were expected to undertake similar repowering projects. "These are exciting developments for the power sector, as our gencos embrace new and cleaner technologies to improve performance and capitalise on the growth opportunities within the sector," he said.

Some companies made the switch previously, and others will add new gas-powered generation capacity in the next two years.

GMR Energy (formerly Island Power) plans to complete an 800MW power station on Jurong Island at the end of this year. YTL PowerSeraya replaced three oil-fired steam turbines with an 800MW gas-fired plant in 2010, so it is not planning to convert more just yet, said CEO John Ng.

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