Energy permeates all aspects of our everyday lives, yet the goal of ensuring secure, affordable, and sustainable energy for all remains a major global challenge. Significant technological progress has been made towards achieving this goal. However, implementation of new technology can prove difficult for various reasons such as lack of suitable sites and strong public opposition. In this module, we shall explore key energy technology, and discuss the challenges facing their widespread adoption. We will also talk about the energy situation in Singapore, and highlight the challenges and opportunities in the local context. There will be a guiding question each week, upon which we build an understanding of basic concepts required to answer the guiding question. We shall discuss the science and technology relevant to the guiding question, and examine other non-technological issues relating to the implementation of the technology.
Week 1: Introduction
Guiding question: What are the key energy challenges the world faces?
Definition of energy
Energy consumption vis a vis quality of life
- International Energy Agency (2016). World Energy Outlook 2016 Executive Summary. OECD/IEA: France. URL: https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/WorldEnergyOutlook2016ExecutiveSummaryEnglish.pdf
- McCollum, D.L., Krey, V., Riahi, K. (2011). An integrated approach to energy sustainability. Nature Climate Change 1, pp. 428-429.
- Roberts, S. (2008). Energy, equity and the future of the fuel poor. Energy Policy 36(12), pp. 4471-4474.
- Yergin, D. (2006). Ensuring energy security. Foreign Affairs 85(2), pp. 69. URL: http://faculty.nps.edu/relooney/0_New_820.pdf
Week 2: Overview of Singapore’s energy history
Guiding question: How does Singapore perceive and approach challenges in energy matters?
Singapore’s energy resources
Electricity generation in Singapore
Singapore’s energy trilemma
- Ministry of Trade and Industry.(2007). Energy for growth – National Energy Policy Report. MTI: Singapore.
- World Energy Council (2016). World Energy Trilemma Index 2016. URL: https://trilemma.worldenergy.org/#!/energy-index
- Carbonbrief.org (2013). Climate rhetoric: What’s an energy trilemma? URL: https://www.carbonbrief.org/climate-rhetoric-whats-an-energy-trilemma
- Ministry of Trade and Industry (2011). A changing energy landscape: The energy trilemma. URL: https://www.mti.gov.sg/MTIInsights/Pages/Energy-.aspx
- ESC Subcommittee on Ensuring Energy Resilience and Sustainable Growth. URL: https://app.mof.gov.sg/Portals/0/MOF%20For/Businesses/ESC%20Recommendations/Subcommittee%20on%20Ensuring%20Energy%20Resilience%20and%20Sustainable%20Growth.pdf
Week 3: Natural gas
Guiding question: What alternatives does Singapore have to PNG from Indonesia and Malaysia?
Singapore’s reliance on natural gas
Piped natural gas vs liquefied natural gas (LNG)
Drivers behind Singapore’s move towards LNG – Energy security and economy
Trans-ASEAN gas pipeline
- ASEAN Centre for Energy (2015). ASEAN Plan of action for energy cooperation (APAEC) 2016-2025. ASEAN Centre for Energy: Indonesia.
- Howarth, R.W., Ingraffea, A., Engelder, T. (2011). Natural gas: Should fracking stop? Nature 477, pp. 271-275.
Weeks 4 and 5: Nuclear Energy
Guiding question: Is nuclear energy viable for Singapore?
Nuclear power generation
Controversies of nuclear energy e.g. accidents, nuclear weapons
Singapore’s approach to nuclear energy
Nuclear energy in South East Asia
- Tott, M. (2008). The case for and against nuclear power. The Wall Street Journal. URL: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB121432182593500119.
- Ministry of Trade and Industry (2012). Factsheet – Nuclear Energy Pre-Feasibility Study. Singapore. URL: https://www.mti.gov.sg/NewsRoom/Documents/Pre-FS%20factsheet.pdf
- Caballero-Anthony, M. and Trajano, J.C.I. (2015). The state of nuclear energy in ASEAN: Regional norms and challenges. Asian Perspective 39, pp. 695-723.
- Lim Soon Heng (2016). A floating nuclear power plant – off Singapore? The Straits Times, Singapore. URL: http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/a-floating-nuclear-power-plant-off-singapore
Weeks 6 and 7: Solar Energy
Guiding question: Does solar energy hold significant promise for Singapore?
Solar energy technology: Concentrating solar power, and solar photovoltaics:
Challenges to implementation e.g. variability and unpredictability
Singapore’s approach to solar energy
Singapore’s approach to nuclear energy
Dissecting headlines: Can we rely entirely on renewable energy?
Visit to Tengeh Reservoir Floating Solar Test-bed
- Bolsen, T., Druckman, J.N., Cook, F.L. (2016). Reaction: Public policy challenges to scientific innovation on solar energy. Chem 1: pp. 518-519.
- Kunzig, R. (2015). Germany could be a model for how we’ll get power in the future. National Geographic. URL: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/climate-change/germany-renewable-energy-revolution-text
Week 8: Energy for a smart nation
Guiding question: What might “smart energy” mean for Singapore?
Singapore as a smart nation
Smart energy technology e.g. smart meter, smart grid
ASEAN power grid
Challenges e.g. privacy, cybersecurity
- Energy Market Authority. Demand side management. URL: https://www.ema.gov.sg/Demand_Side_Management.aspx
- Energy Market Authority. Demand response management. URL: https://www.ema.gov.sg/Demand_Response_Program.aspx
- ASEAN (2015). ASEAN Power Grid. URL: http://www.asean.org/storage/images/2015/October/outreach-document/Edited%20APG-3.pdf
- Electricity Information Sharing and Analysis Center (2016). Analysis of the cyber attack on the Ukrainian power grid. EISAC: USA.
Weeks 9 and 10: Energy conservation and energy efficiency
Guiding question: How might a private individual in Singapore approach and experience energy on a daily basis?
Energy conservation vs efficiency
Lighting – From incandescent light to LEDs
Guest lecture on social game for building energy efficiency
- The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2014). The Nobel Prize in Physics Press release. URL: https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/2014/press.html.
- Neslen, A. (2016). Lightbulbs excluded in EU regulations on energy efficiency claims. Guardian, UK. URL: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/12/lightbulbs-lighting-excluded-eu-regulations-energy-efficiency-advertising
Week 11: Pricing energy
Guiding question: What is the “correct” way to price electricity?
Energy subsidies and Singapore’s position
Liberalized markets and evolution of Singapore’s electricity market
- Nurdianto, D.A. and Resosudarmo, B.P. (2016). The economy-wide impact of a uniform carbon tax in ASEAN. J. Southeast Asian Economies 33(1), pp. 1-21.
Week 12: Project presentations
Week 13: Concluding week – Putting together the big picture
Guiding question: Can we resolve the energy trilemma?
Energy conservation vs efficiency
Energy generation and energy consumption – How they link back to the energy trilemma
Energy in the Singapore context
Class discussions will require students to critically assess data or reports/articles. Students should be able to use the background information from the classes to understand the given point of view and to formulate their own opinions on the issue. They should then be able to articulate their opinions succinctly in language that can be easily understood by laypersons.
Students will work in pairs to write an essay on a renewable energy technology that is not discussed in the seminars. They should be able to describe the basic scientific principles underpinning the technology (10%), discuss the pros and cons of the technology + explore the broader issues associated with successful implementation of the technology such as public opinion (15%), and discuss the feasibility of applying the technology in Singapore (10%).
Students will work in groups of five each to discuss in depth any topic relating to energy in the Singapore context not covered in the seminars. Possible examples include the energy-water nexus and climate change. Students shall do a presentation on the topic of choice. The presentation should cover at least two types of technology in relation to the topic and highlight issues spanning disciplines other than the physical sciences (physics and chemistry). Students will be assessed on their understanding of the technology and issues involved (as demonstrated by the clarity of the presentation). Students will not be graded on quantity (e.g. highlighting five different technologies will not necessarily warrant a higher score than highlighting two technologies). Rather, the presentation must comprehensively and holistically address the topic. Of the 40% allocated to this assessment, 5% will be based on peer assessment, 10% will be based on the student’s individual performance, and the remaining 25% will be a group score.