REIDS initiative to build Asia’s first offshore renewable power grid system

An initiative led by Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) is building Asia’s first large-scale offshore power grid system that will integrate multiple renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, tidal, diesel, and power-to-gas technologies.

The project, with four hybrid microgrids, will be occupying over 64,000 sq m of land or roughly about eight soccer fields. It will be built at Semakau Landfill, which is located about 8km south of Singapore and is managed by the National Environment Agency (NEA). The offshore integrated system will have over 3,000 sqm of photo voltaic (PV) panels, including energy storage systems that are already in operation.

The Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator-Singapore (REIDS) initiative, led by NTU Singapore and is supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the NEA, will build the hybrid power grid system.

The integration of solar, wind, tidal-current, diesel, energy storage, and power-to-gas technologies will be tested in the large-scale project. It will ensure these energy sources operate well together and also facilitate the development and commercialization of microgrid technologies suited for a tropical island.

Once all four hybrid microgrids are fully built, they are expected to produce stable and consistent power in the megawatt (MW) range, suitable for small islands, isolated villages, and emergency power supplies.

The project is expected to produce energy amounting to the equivalent of the average energy consumption for a year of 250 4-room flats under Singapore’s Housing and Development Board (HDB). Fish hatcheries and nurseries located at Semakau Landfill will be among the first to be powered.

The deployment of the first hybrid microgrid was announced by Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources at the Asia Clean Energy Summit (ACES) held at the Sands Expo and Convention Center at the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

“The use of energy storage and microgrid control technologies will allow the landfill to reduce its reliance on diesel-based power and transition towards renewable energy. I am also pleased to share that REIDS will deploy 3 further microgrids on Semakau Landfill to test the interoperability of various microgrid solutions,”Zulkifli said.

NTU Chief of Staff and Vice-President (Research) Prof. Lam Khin Yong added that the deployment of the hybrid microgrid is a big leap towards low-carbon electricity production for Singapore and the region.

According to Goh Chee Kiong, Executive Director of Cleantech at EDB, Singapore has identified microgrids as a key growth area for the clean energy industry.

REIDS is the largest microgrid R&D platform in Southeast Asia and therefore is instrumental to Singapore’s ambition to achieve a global leadership position in microgrids and serve the regional markets.

Since its launch in 2014, the REIDS platform has been successful in attracting leading solution providers and regional adopters to develop, demonstrate and export microgrid solutions from Singapore.

REIDS has attracted investments from top energy and microgrid companies which aim to co-develop such solutions to serve the growing market in Southeast Asia. The REIDS initiative is expected to attract S$20 million worth of projects over the next five years, in addition to the initial S$10 million investment in infrastructure at the landfill.

ENGIE, GE Grid Solutions, LS Industrial Solutions (LSIS) and Schneider Electric will develop the four microgrid systems. Other partners include Accenture, Class NK, DLRE, Renewable Energy Corporation (REC), Trina Solar. LSIS and Sony were also recently announced as partners at ACES 2016.

The REIDS platform will pave the way for similar technologies to be developed and exported to serve the numerous remote communities in Southeast Asia and beyond. It has already attracted the interest of regional adopters such as island communities and utilities.

For instance, Bawah Island, an Indonesian island in the South China Sea, and Meralco, the largest electric distribution company in the Philippines, will partner REIDS to develop offshore microgrid projects.