Boost for electricity retail market and solar power use

Singapore's energy market will get a boost, after several measures unveiled on Thursday by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

To promote more competition in the electricity retail market, the threshold for allowing consumers to choose their electricity retailer will be lowered from next month.

The Government will also aim to boost the adoption of solar power, starting with government buildings and spaces, Second Minister for Trade and Industry S. Iswaran said during the Committee of Supply debate.

Under existing rules, about 8,000 large consumers who use more than 10 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per month can choose their retailer.

This threshold will be lowered to 8 MWh from April 1, and then to 4 MWh from Oct 1.

The change will allow 15,000 more consumers to choose their electricity retailer and sign on to packages that best suit their needs, said Mr Iswaran.

He added that 15 town councils have already signed up and will collectively enjoy a discount of at least 10 per cent off the regulated tariff.

This works out to an estimated $640,000 in monthly savings.

The minister said companies will also benefit from the change, as they will be able to aggregate demand across various locations to meet the lower threshold and choose a retailer which offers the most competitive price.

The Energy Market Authority is studying the further expansion of the contestable segment of the market over the next few years to include all consumers, including households, said Mr Iswaran.

More will also be done to encourage the use of renewable energy, especially solar power.

"Among the various renewable energy options, solar has the greatest potential for wider deployment in Singapore," said the minister.

The Government aims to boost the adoption of solar power in Singapore's system to 350 megawatt-peak (MWp) by 2020.

This is about 5 per cent of peak electricity demand in 2020, a significant increase from Singapore's existing 15 MWp of solar power capacity.

The Economic Development Board will work with government agencies to deploy solar power across government buildings and spaces, said Mr Iswaran.

"This 'SolarNova' programme will also catalyse the growth of the clean-energy sector, and create opportunities for Singapore businesses," he added.

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