SINGAPORE: Singapore will be one of the few countries in the world to boast a fully green waterworks system following the completion of a large-scale floating solar panel system at Tengeh Reservoir, it was announced on Wednesday (Mar 4).

The 60 megawatt-peak (MWp) floating solar photovoltaic (PV) system is expected to be installed by 2021, and will generate sufficient green energy to meet the needs of daily operations of the five water treatment plants in Singapore as well as the Marina Barrage. The tender for the system was awarded to Sembcorp Solar Singapore last month.

“The power generated from this system alone is sufficient to meet the energy of all our water treatment plants at local reservoirs,” said Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli in his Committee of Supply Speech.

“With this, Singapore’s waterworks will be one of the few in the world to be 100 per cent green. PUB is also making strides towards improving the energy efficiency of NEWater and desalinated water production.”

This will mean that in total, PUB will have a total solar capacity of close to 70MWp, which can potentially generate enough energy to power about 19,000 four-room HDB flats and will reduce PUB’s carbon emissions by around 37 kilotonnes annually – the same as taking 8,000 cars off the roads.

PUB and the Economic Development Board (EDB) launched a 1MWp test-bed at Tengeh Reservoir in 2016, before awarding a tender for building two 1.5MWp PV systems at Bedok and Lower Seletar reservoirs to local engineering firm BBR Greentech.

“With Singapore’s water demand projected to almost double by 2060, there is a need to ensure a sustainable way to produce water. NEWater and desalinated water are weather-resilient sources, but they are energy intensive and correspondingly costlier,” said PUB.

“PUB has been proactively seeking ways to reduce the grid energy required for its water treatment processes or replace it with renewable energy. PUB’s reservoirs have good potential to harness solar power given the large expanse of water surface, particularly in land-scarce Singapore.”

In addition to reservoirs, PUB has already installed solar PV systems on the rooftops of its infrastructures, namely Bedok Waterwork, Changi Water Reclamation Plant, Choa Chua Kang Waterwork, Marina Barrage, WaterHub and Tuas Desalination Plant.

“This is a major step that the PUB has taken to significantly reduce its carbon footprint to make its operations more environmentally sustainable, and contribute to Singapore’s overall national climate change mitigation efforts,” said the national water agency.

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