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Sembcorp, EMA jointly award grant to NTU to develop Singapore's first virtual power plant

Stanislaus Jude Chan

SINGAPORE (Oct 8): Sembcorp Industries and the Energy Market Authority (EMA) have jointly awarded a grant to Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to develop Singapore’s first virtual power plant (VPP).

The VPP acts like a “single utility-scale power station” and coordinates electricity produced from distributed energy resources (DERs) at end users’ premises.

DERs, which include solar and energy storage systems, currently complement traditional power plants which generate electricity centrally.

Using real-time information from a variety of DERs, the VPP will optimise the power output of these resources located across the island, Sembcorp and EMA say in a joint press release on Tuesday.

They add that VPPs can bring about many advantages such as flexibility, scalability and improved power grid resilience.

By allowing for more clean and distributed energy resources such as solar to be integrated into Singapore’s energy mix while keeping the power system stable, the VPP will also contribute towards Singapore’s efforts to meet its climate change commitments.

Through the VPP, energy fluctuations due to solar intermittency at different locations could be balanced automatically. It is also equipped with demand forecasting and optimisation algorithms that take into account Singapore’s power grid and market conditions.

“The energy landscape is changing and we need solutions that support our economic growth while safeguarding our environment at the same time. This is why solutions such as the virtual power plant are important as it helps us integrate cleaner energy sources into our energy system,” says Ngiam Shih Chun, EMA’s chief executive.

“A VPP will benefit Singapore through aggregation of renewable and energy storage resources to more efficiently meet the energy and sustainability needs of the nation,” says Matthew Friedman, Sembcorp’s chief digital officer.

As at 11.09am, shares in Sembcorp Industries are trading 5 cents higher, or up 2.4%, at $2.13.