Why Singapore Imports Green Electricity from Indonesia is Finally Explained

Solar power plants

Singapore recently made headlines as it expressed its interest in importing “green electricity”, specifically electricity generated from new and renewable energy sources (EBT), from Indonesia. Shedding light on the rationale behind this request, the National Energy Council (DEN) has provided insights into Singapore’s energy situation.

According to DEN member Herman Darnel Ibrahim, Singapore faces a significant challenge due to its limited access to renewable energy sources. Among the various renewable options available, solar energy appears to be the most viable for Singapore’s unique circumstances.

“Upon closer examination, it becomes evident that Singapore lacks access to abundant renewable energy sources like geothermal and hydro. In this context, solar energy emerges as the most feasible alternative,” remarked Herman during the Energy Corner program on September 13, 2023, as reported by CNBC Indonesia.

Yet, Singapore encounters another hurdle in its pursuit of solar energy—land scarcity. The skyrocketing land prices in the Lion City make it increasingly difficult to find suitable areas for large-scale solar installations.

In light of these challenges, Herman underscores that Singapore’s primary motivation for seeking renewable energy imports from other nations, including Indonesia, is to diversify its energy sources and bolster energy security.

“However, in Singapore, the extensive land requirements for solar energy are hampered by the exorbitant land costs. Consequently, Singapore is proactively exploring alternative sources to ensure a stable renewable energy supply,” Herman explained.

Furthermore, Herman revealed that Singapore is actively exploring renewable energy options in neighboring regions, including Johor Bahru, Malaysia. Simultaneously, Singapore’s request to import electricity from Indonesia aims to secure its downstream energy needs.

“I have received information suggesting that Singapore is exploring potential renewable energy sources in Johor, Malaysia, among other places. For us, the objective is to secure a reliable source of renewable energy, particularly for downstream consumption. Moreover, it’s important to note that international agreements will likely necessitate that any exported energy comes from EBT sources,” emphasized Herman.

As it stands, Deputy Coordinator for Transportation and Infrastructure at the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Rachmat Kaimuddin, disclosed that Singapore’s electricity requirement amounts to a substantial 4 gigawatts (GW). The agreement between the two nations stipulates that Indonesia will supply at least 50% of this demand, equivalent to 2 GW.

“Our information suggests that Singapore has projected its demand for 4 GW of AC green electricity, derived from solar energy, by the year 2035. This calculation translates to six times the peak gigawatts. Currently, Indonesia has secured approval for an allocation of approximately 50%,” Rachmat Kaimuddin revealed during the Indonesia Sustainability Forum (ISF) Press Conference held at Park Hyatt, Jakarta, on Friday, September 8, 2023.

In addition, Rachmat detailed that Indonesia’s initiation of electricity exports to Singapore is anticipated to occur between the years 2026 and 2027.

Singapore’s quest for clean energy from Indonesia underscores the significance of regional collaboration in addressing energy needs and advancing renewable energy solutions.”