News & Event

Condos switching to LED lights
By Amanda Lee, TODAY | Posted: 02 June 2012 0615 hrs

SINGAPORE: More than 30 condominiums island-wide are making the switch to Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) lights in a move to cut electricity costs and conserve electricity in the long run.

They have signed up under the energy (electricity) management programme headed by the Association of Management Corporations in Singapore (AMCIS).

AMCIS is a not-for-profit association that seeks to improve the standard of property management and reduce the cost of managing estates.

Launched in December 2010, AMCIS chief executive Francis Zhan said a dozen condominiums were involved during the trial project and the "results were encouraging".

Based on the current electricity tariff of 29 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh), a condominium with over 900 units working with the association can save about S$220,000 annually and S$1.1 million over five years, according to Mr Zhan.

He added that an average condominium could "save as much as 60 per cent on electricity cost on lighting".

The use of LED lights also reduces the consumption of electricity.

An LED light does not require a starter and uses 18 watts, while a fluorescent light uses 44 watts.

An LED light of premium grade can last 50,000 hours, while a fluorescent light only lasts 8,000 hours, said Mr Zhan.

And if the fluorescent light is "switched on and off regularly, it would only have a lifespan of 750 hours", he added.

Last month, the association called for its second public tender for the supply, installation and maintenance of LED lights in common areas and car park of condominiums and complexes.

Mr Zhan said the association expects to cover at least 1, 000 condominiums over the next two years.

Condominium managements that are interested in joining the programme can contact the association.

Non-members will have to pay a S$300 administration fee annually, while members pay a S$100 entrance fee and an annual membership of S$10 for every 100 units.

Eleven town councils are also in the midst of converting their lights to LED in the common areas of public housing estates, with the Jurong Town Council being the first to kick off the process. - TODAY

Lights out across S'pore to save Mother Earth
By Claire Huang | Posted: 31 March 2012 2110 hrs

SINGAPORE: Thousands geared up in Singapore on Saturday to mark the global environment initiative Earth Hour, organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature.

More than 370 organisations have pledged to take part in efforts to save the planet.

Royal Plaza on Scotts started its celebrations with the lighting up of soy candles.

Then it's lights out at Orchard Road, where non-essential lights in buildings were switched off for at least an hour from 8.30pm.

Meanwhile, ION Orchard decided it will go dark for 10 hours.

Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, said: "This shows the power of an idea, an idea that our world is precious. Each and every single one of us can make a difference and collectively, we can make a big difference. The world as we know is under stress and under challenge. We will have to do our bit to make sure that our children, our grandchildren will inherit a world that's worth preserving and looking after because it's precious."

Into its fourth year, celebrations for this year's Earth Hour will expand beyond the main event in Orchard Road.

The movement, which aims to promote Earth-friendly practices, will also be marked by festivities at West Coast and Marina Bay.

- CNA/fa

Electricity tariffs to go up 4.3%

Posted: 30 March 2012 1459 hrs

SINGAPORE: Electricity tariffs will increase by 4.3 per cent for the next three months beginning this Sunday.

SP Services said this is due to higher fuel prices, which have resulted in higher power generation costs.

Average fuel oil price over January, February and March was up 7.3 per cent, increasing from S$127.07 to S$136.37 per barrel.

The hike in fuel oil prices saw a corresponding increase in the price of natural gas which is used for power generation in Singapore.

SP Services said the higher electricity tariffs will see average monthly electricity bills for those living in four-room HDB flats to go up by S$4.18.

- CNA/wm

Electricity tariff to increase 6.1% starting April

By Mustafa Shafawi & Dylan Loh | Posted: 29 March 2011 1619 hrs

SINGAPORE: SP Services said households will pay more for their electricity from April, with their electricity tariff increasing by 6.1 per cent to 25.58 cents per kilowatt-hour.On average, families in four-room HDB flats will pay about S$4.85 more a month for their electricity based on the new tariff.
Explaining the tariff increase, SP Services said the average fuel oil price increased sharply by 14 per cent to S$113.37 per barrel over the last three months.

At the same time, there was an annual review of the grid network cost or the cost of transporting electricity through the power grid, which resulted in network charges being lowered by 3 per cent for the year ahead.

It said the significant increase in fuel cost, however, more than offsets the reduced network charges.

The Energy Market Authority has approved the increase.

However, about 800,000 Singaporean HDB households can expect to receive S$194 million worth of Utilities-Save (U-Save) and Service & Conservancy Charges (S&CC) rebates in April under the 'Grow & Share' Package announced in the Budget.

The Finance Ministry (MOF) said this is on top of the S$108 million in rebates that households will receive this year under the on-going GST Offset Package.

In total, it said the Government will be giving about S$300 million in U-Save and S&CC rebates this year.

This April, a Singaporean household will receive S$170 to S$220 worth of U-Save rebates and half to one month waiver of S&CC, depending on HDB flat type.

The rebates aim to help households, especially lower income households, cope with rising costs, including higher utilities bills due to the increases in electricity tariffs.

Those living in 1-room and 2-room HDB flats will enjoy utility rebates for at least five months.

Those living in bigger flats will benefit from at least a month of offset of their utilities bills on average.

- CNA/cc

Platinum Green Mark Award for Ocean Financial Centre
By Sabrina Chua | Posted: 21 February 2011 2230 hrs

SINGAPORE : Singapore's green drive is reaching new heights. It now boasts of having the highest solar panels in Southeast Asia at the Ocean Financial Centre.

The 43-storey building is the first office development in Singapore to be awarded the Platinum Green Mark Award.

Nestled in the heart of Singapore's financial district, the Ocean Financial Centre stands out with its sloping roof.

But it is what is on its roof that is getting the green thumb of approval.

At 245 metres above ground, the panels make up the highest solar installation in Southeast Asia.

The height makes the generation of clean energy more effective.

That is because there are fewer shadows that prevent power generation. And the strong winds help clean up the surface of the solar panels.

The efficiency of the solar panels drops when the temperatures go up. But the makers of the HIT solar panels said they have found a way to make the most of Singapore's hot climate."

Hiroyuki Kuriyama, division president for Energy Systems and Solutions Sales at SANYO Asia, said: "Sanyo's HIT technology is a unique combination of amorphous silicon type solar cell and crystalline silicon solar cell. The amorphous silicon solar cell has a less drop in high temperature, but could not get much conversion efficiency.

"On the other hand, crystalline silicon solar cell can generate much efficiency, but there is a big drop in high temperature. So Sanyo's HIT technology (combines) both advantages of the technology. Sanyo has developed solar cells which have the world's highest convergence efficiency, which is 23 per cent in R&D levels and 21.6 per cent at mass production levels."

The roof's unique design proved a bit of a challenge when it came to installation.

Albert Lim, managing director of SolarGy, said: "The sloping roof profile, which is about 19 degrees, requires special installation skills and extra safety precautions. Being that steep, I think the rate that we install per day is only about 4-5 panels. Compared to a flat roof, we could have done 20-30 pieces."

The 366 panels can generate 86 megawatt hours worth of energy in a year.

That makes up about half a percent of the building's estimated energy usage.

They can also reduce 45 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions annually, saving 240 trees a year.

The solar panel system is just one of the eco-features of the Ocean Financial Centre which will be ready in the next few months.

It will also have an energy-efficient hybrid chilled water system and an innovative paper recycling system for all offices.

- CNA/ms

Big-bang" approach not possible at COP-16, says Jayakumar

By S Ramesh |
Posted: 29 November 2010 1211 hrs

SINGAPORE: Senior Minister S Jayakumar said ministers attending the UN Climate Change Conference, better known as COP-16, starting on Monday in Cancun, agree that a "big-bang" approach is not possible, where all the outstanding issues are resolved in one single meeting.

Professor Jayakumar, who oversees the government's climate change policies, was speaking to the Singapore media together with National Development Minister, Mah Bow Tan and Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim.

He explained that all countries acknowledged that a comprehensive, legally-binding global agreement is not achievable by the end of this year.

He said the general consensus is that in Cancun, countries must work towards a balanced package of decisions and will send a strong signal that countries remain committed to the process.

However, Professor Jayakumar said there is still no consensus on what would constitute a balanced package with different countries placing emphasis on different elements.

"The major players are not agreed on how to move the process forward. To compound matters, there is declining domestic political support in some of the major developed economies on climate change.

"Developing countries also want developed countries to take greater responsibility for their past emissions. Developed countries, on the other hand, want developing countries to curtail their future emissions.

"A small group of countries are politically opposed to the Copenhagen Agreement and any elements associated with moving the negotiations forward on the basis of the Copenhagen Agreement has been difficult, even though the Copenhagen Agreement represents a good basis for negotiations."

Singapore supports a balanced package, but such a package of decisions must lead to a future global agreement that is legally-binding.

Professor Jayakumar also acknowledged that climate change negotiations will be a long haul.

"It can go two ways. If there is a positive outcome it will mean a rules-based kind of regime which is better than the other outcome where there is failure in the negotiations and then countries resort to unilateral arbitrary measures which will clearly not be in our interests, including trade barriers and so on. So we prefer a negotiated outcome and therefore we are playing a constructive role.

Professor Jayakumar added that the future climate change regime cannot be based just on political understanding alone, or a non-binding UN General Assembly-type resolution.

It has to be grounded on legally-binding international agreements whereby countries undertake actions on the basis of reciprocity.

Secondly, if any deal is to succeed, there must be reasonable certainty of implementation of all actions and commitments.

"For us if there is to be a rules-based regime, you undertake to cut your emissions by so much, I undertake to cut my emissions by so much, at the end of the day whether it works there must be certainty of implementation.

"If there is a valid point of view of some of the developed countries we do not off hand reject it. Our position to the conference is, we are in this with a common endeavour, let us find solutions which are workable."

While there is no perfect solution, Professor Jayakumar said a legally-binding agreement will help give confidence to governments that this is a global endeavour and that others will not renege on the decisions made.

He said it is possible that Cancun might launch focused negotiations to conclude a legally-binding agreement by COP-17 next year in South Africa and that would depend on the major players and if they are willing to make some incremental progress.

Domestically, Professor Jayakumar explained that Singapore takes its pledge of 16 per cent below Business As Usual by 2020 very seriously, on the provision that there is a binding global agreement.

"We face constraints in terms of our low alternative energy potential. For example, solar has some potential in Singapore but there is limited space to deploy solar panels because of our small land mass and high urban density. There is also insufficient wind speed in Singapore for wind power to be commercially viable.

"In addition, we have also undertaken significant measures to reduce our emissions in the past. For instance, since 2001, the power generation sector, which contributes more than 50 per cent of our total emissions, has been switching from fuel oil to natural gas."

He said in the absence of a global agreement, Singapore will still take significant steps to implement the energy efficiency measures already announced under the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint. One such plan is to install solar panels in HDB estates.

Pilot tests have been going on and more will come on stream.

Mr Mah said: "What these pilot trials do, they will give us a sense of the economics of installation of solar panels, at the same time they are already giving us direct benefits as they are supplying electricity to the common areas and lifts. The results so far have been positive."

These will significantly reduce national emissions and require all households, firms and the economy to make adjustments. There will be trade-offs to be made and hence this required careful study.

Singapore's resilience to global warming is also being studied.

"We are also conducting what is called a Risk Map Study. The idea is to look across our coastlines which are the areas to face a higher risk if there is a sea level rise and what's the possibility of land loss and flooding," said Dr Yaacob.

"We hope to commence the study early the next year and complete by the fourth quarter of 2013. This requires a bit of time as the secondary impact of climate change is a bit more complex for example in the area of biodiversity and public health we need to study the impact of a rise in temperatures on public health in terms of mosquito breedings, these are things we need to understand," Dr Yaacob added.

Professor Jayakumar explained that global warming will lead to rising sea levels which will affect Singapore and future generations may feel the real impact.

"We will have to put in place measures and we are already doing that. If there is a global agreement and countries agree to a legal regime whereby different pledges are made, then we will have to do our part. That will entail some adjustments to the way we conduct ourselves, industries and household as and there may be some other implications like financial implications. What exactly these will be, we have to wait and see."

Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had recently mentioned at the Singapore Energy Lecture 2010 that a carbon price may be applied to take into account the social cost of carbon emissions.

Professor Jayakumar explained that if there is a global deal to curb carbon emissions and if Singapore has to reduce emissions sharply, the Republic will have to make the carbon price explicit to send the right price signals.

"The mitigation working group looking into this very carefully. It is a complicated matter and we are taking seriously precisely because there are a lot of implications, on the kind of costs it will have on various sectors including the industry, the households and so on.

"The Inter ministerial Committee on Climate Change has directed the working group to finalise its report in the middle of next year and the proposals would have to go through different iterations, stakeholders consulted before it is put up to cabinet and so that's the directive given them. It is being carefully being studied."

Professor Jayakumar said he has called for proposals on policies and measures needed, by middle of next year and will consult with stakeholders, before making the final decisions and announcing them.


Carbon tax needed if global emission-curbing regime arises: PM Lee

By Satish Cheney | Posted: 01 November 2010 1404 hrs

SINGAPORE: Singapore will have to apply a carbon price - be it through a carbon tax or a cap and trade scheme - to send the right price signals, if there's a global regime to curb carbon emissions.

This is according to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who was speaking at the Singapore Energy Lecture on Monday.

The Ministry of Finance had previously said it would be "more practical" to reduce carbon emissions through taxes because Singapore is a small domestic market with only "a few large energy consumers".

PM Lee said it is not enough to just push for efficiency gains because of the rebound effect.

Consumers would just use more efficient appliances more often, thereby increasing overall consumption.

So, there's a need to impose a charge to induce consumers to change their behaviour.

Mr Lee said this at the Singapore Energy Lecture on Monday.

He said this was part of a four-pronged strategy to prepare itself for the future energy landscape.

"If there's a global regime to curb carbon emissions, that means that Singapore will have to reduce our own emissions more sharply than we are doing now, in order to comply with international obligations, and we would have to make the carbon price explicit to send the right price signals," said PM Lee.

Analysts said it is not easy to figure out how a carbon tax will impact consumers and companies here in Singapore as details are not available for now.

But green activists welcome the idea, saying it will encourage more environmentally-conscious behaviour.

One suggestion is to invest the money collected towards energy research.

Howard Shaw, Executive Director of Singapore Environment Council said: "Currently the energy tariff is a flat figure. So, if you use more, you pay more. Perhaps one way of moving forward from that is to divide households into lower energy users, average energy users and high energy users.

"Basically, the high energy users will be subject to a different higher tariff. So, the more you use, the more you pay in terms of rate."

India, which is Asia's third-largest energy consumer, already has a carbon tax.

In July this year, the Indian government introduced a nationwide carbon tax of 50 rupees per metric tonne of coal both produced and imported into India. Officials expect to raise 25 billion rupees for the financial year 2010-2011 from the tax which they are hoping to use for a clean energy fund.

Countries like Japan and South Korea are considering implementing a carbon tax.

Meanwhile, Mr Lee says there are many uncertainties surrounding the energy climate.

So Singapore is diversifying its energy supplies as well as investing in energy research.

The prime minister noted that several Southeast Asian countries are planning to build nuclear power plants.

Given its small size, safety is a major concern for Singapore.

At the same time, he said the nuclear energy option could not be totally dismissed.

"There is often strong resistance in countries - from the green movement, from populations who have witnessed accidents like Chernobyl, and are fearful and anxious about their safety. But if we look at this rationally, without nuclear energy, the world cannot make sufficient progress in dealing with global warming," said Mr Lee.

He added it would be a long time before Singapore takes any decision on nuclear energy, but it should ready itself to do so.

CleanTech One achieves 50% occupancy rate

By May Wong | Posted: 11 October 2010 1524 hrs

SINGAPORE: The upcoming CleanTech Park in Jurong West is attracting strong interest.

Industrial landlord JTC said the first phase of the eco business park - CleanTech One - has already achieved a 50 per cent occupancy rate.

The building is part of a total of 25 buildings which will make up the entire CleanTech Park.

The new eco business park will occupy a land of about 50 football fields and will only be fully completed by 2030.

One of the key aims of the park is to provide a one-stop place for cleantech companies to interact and collaborate in different research and development projects.

CleanTech One is expected to be completed by December next year, and tenants can move into the two-towered building by early 2012.

The construction cost of CleanTech One is about S$87 million. The 37,500 square metre building will occupy a 1.5-hectare site.

A unique feature of CleanTech One is that it also incorporates renewable energy and green facilities as part of its design and operation.

JTC chairman Cedric Foo said: "By locating here at CleanTech One, companies can demonstrate their commitment towards green technologies. This strong brand association cannot be replicated elsewhere in Singapore."

There are hopes that CleanTech Park will become a model of sustainable features for other industrial parks.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry S Iswaran said: "We have made good progress in building up a strong cleantech ecosystem comprising world-class R&D centres, testing and certification services, and multipliers such as various venture capital funds and incubators.

"These institutes and initiatives serve to complement (one another) to create a dynamic environment for advancement in clean technologies".

Some of the key tenants in CleanTech One include the Nanyang Environment and Water Research Institute, SOLID Asia, one of the world's leading specialists in all applications of solar thermal energy, and Sinomen Technology, a membrane solution provider.

One of the tenants, DHI, a water environment technology company, will move a majority of its current facilities from Pandan Loop to CleanTech One.

DHI Water & Environment's Southeast Asia's regional manager, Tom Foster, said: "So, (the) 3,000 square metres which we've committed, which is about 40 per cent more than what we presently have in our existing office building, gives us the opportunity to expand our research and developments here in Singapore.

"We're probably planning to expand our research by 40 per cent or so in human capital; it's probably an increase of something in the order of S$1.5 million of (our) own funding at the moment to maybe S$2 million of own funding come 2012, when we plan to move in here.

"And the ability to mix and to cooperate with the other companies here, I think, it's a tremendous opportunity to foster the research and development of sustainable technologies in Singapore."

One of the key aims of the park is to provide a one-stop place for cleantech companies to interact and collaborate in different research and development projects.

- CNA/wk/al

Financing green technologies a challenge for companies

By Rachel Kelly | Posted: 17 September 2010 2055 hrs

SINGAPORE : Companies can save over S$1.5 billion annually by implementing energy efficient technologies.

But retrofitting your office building, and reducing your carbon footprint don't always come cheap.

In Singapore, analysts estimate that energy efficiency projects can cost between S$1 billion and S$9 billion.

Business adviser ReEx is studying energy efficient opportunities in six regional countries.

"It could give ideas about how a new or innovative financing mechanism could be set up, how we can address this financing gap and come up with some innovative ways. And that would require a public private partnership," said Frederic Crampe, MD of ReEx Capital Asia.

Another way to raise funds for energy efficient projects is to sell carbon credits on the carbon trading market.

Companies that have exceeded the amount of emissions they can release can buy or trade carbon credits with other firms.

However, individual projects may not generate enough carbon to be traded.

Therefore, industry watchers said several groups in the region want to bundle such projects to create a bulk of carbon credits.

While experts maintain that there is still a firm future for carbon trading, with a wide variety of new developing markets such as Southeast Asia and Africa, what is needed is international policy for further clarity on pricing.

"Unless you put a price to these emissions, you do not set the right economic tone. A lot of people have talked about subsidies/taxes. When you talk about carbon pricing, you have a trading issue and a taxation issue," said Professor Michael Quah at National University of Singapore.

Industry watchers said governments need to introduce more policies to get companies to buy into carbon trading. - CNA /ls

Electricity tariffs to go up again

Posted: 30 June 2010 1625 hrs

SINGAPORE: Households will pay more for their electricity tariffs from July to September.

SP Services says that the electricity tariffs for households will go up by 0.57 cents per Kilowatt-hour to 24.13 cents per kWh, an increase of 2.4 percent.

It is the fifth consecutive quarter of increase.

On average, families in four-room HDB flats will pay about
S$2.33 more a month.

SP Services says the average fuel oil price over the last three months remained stable at about S$102 per barrel.

However, the non-fuel components of the tariff have increased due to higher capital and operating costs of power generation.

The tariff also includes an adjustment for under-collection in
the previous quarter.

- CNA/ir

Jurong Town Council to be first town council using LED lighting

By Jessica Yeo | Posted: 25 May 2010 2248 hrs

SINGAPORE: Jurong Town Council will be the first town council to use LED lights for its common areas in public housing estates.

It will change all its existing 95,000 fluorescent light tubes in corridors, staircases and void decks.

The town council said the customised LED light fittings will consume less power.

They can operate up to 50,000 hours with minimal maintenance and result in less replacement and inspections.

And they will save the town council up to S$1.1 million in electricity bills annually.

The town council decided to go ahead with LED lighting after a pilot project at Block 141, Bukit Batok Street 11 in December 2008.

The LED project is expected to be registered as Singapore's first Programmatic Clean Development Mechanism (P-CDM) project in the United Nations.

P-CDM is a mechanism created to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to sustainable development. - CNA/vm

Singapore's architecture firms shift towards green building designs

By Georgina Joseph | Posted: 14 May 2010 2126 hrs

SINGAPORE : Asia may be lagging behind Europe in terms of environmentally-friendly building designs, but experts attending the BCI Asia Awards in Singapore said the region has huge potential to grow.

They see Singapore and Japan among the leading players in Asia in green building design.

Green or environmentally-friendly buildings are the latest rage in the architecture world.

They have gained popularity as countries and companies shift towards more sustainable economic and business practices.

With increasing capabilities and understanding in green building designs, costs have come down. This, in turn, has encouraged more companies to go green.

Another trend is a focus towards maintaining green buildings to reap tangible benefits.

"Facility management - how you manage the building, how you use it for the way it was intended, to sustain it - that would be an upcoming trend... in the very near future," said Vivien Heng, director of RSP Architects Planners & Engineers.

Speaking on the sidelines of an architecture industry event, observers are also optimistic about the region's strength in green building design.

"I would say Singapore and Japan would probably be the front-runners. They show a lot of leadership. Japan has a couple of very good examples of sustainable buildings. But again, probably the world's front-runners are still in Europe, and Singapore is very much poised to follow up," said Matthias Krups, CEO of BCI Group.

Singapore, in particular, enjoys strong government support in green design.

Under the government's current Green Building Masterplan, 80 per cent of Singapore buildings must be Green Mark certified by the year 2030.

When fully implemented, the masterplan will result in annual savings of S$1.6 billion in terms of energy cost reductions. - CNA

Schools and businesses do their part for Earth Day

By Sharon See | Posted: 22 April 2010 1908 hrs


SINGAPORE : Singaporeans on Thursday marked the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, which falls on April 22 every year.

Schools and businesses all over the island chipped in to do their bit for the environment.

Going green has its perks! The Regent Hotel in Singapore gave out donuts and fresh fruits to those who rode on two wheels instead of four.

Over at Singapore Polytechnic, students and staff were told to take public transport to school on Thursday. No one, not even the principal, was allowed to drive to school!

Some students say going green takes some getting used to.

Max Tan, a final-year student at Singapore Polytechnic, said: "Before I had my car licence, I had to take bus and train down to school, so it's like reverting to my old status quo. The only thing that I have to do, maybe, is just to wake up earlier.

Koh Han Pin, another final-year student at the same polytechnic, said: "Personally, I think it's quite inconvenient, but I think if you take a bit of effort to try, actually it's not that much of an inconvenience."

Tan Hang Cheong, Principal, Singapore Polytechnic, said: "You may not be able to say, leave the car every day at home, but perhaps once a month, once a week, make it a point to say, I will have a car-free day for myself.

The polytechnic said holding campaigns like this can help to drive home the message that protecting the environment is everyone's responsibility.

- CNA/al

Emerging Asian markets driving demand for energy efficient products

By Desmond Wong | Posted: 22 April 2010 1959 hrs

SINGAPORE : Emerging markets like Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines could be the next growth markets for energy efficient products.

But Japanese electronics giant Sanyo said for green technology to gain more ground in the region, government support will be vital.

Green technology is set to grow in the Asia Pacific region - but not where you might expect.

Sanyo said while there is potential in more developed economies like Australia and Singapore, it is the emerging markets like Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia that could show more growth due to their limited power grids.

"They have to be power conscious for a different reason...Not from an eco perspective, but because their supply to electricity is limited, they are very hungry for low consumption, energy efficient appliances," said Satoru Hotta, VP of Sanyo Electric.

Speaking at its product conference in Singapore, Sanyo said it expects to expand its green presence in Asia Pacific and the Middle East over the next three years.

Its solar power unit is aiming for US$100 million in sales for those regions by 2012, but Sanyo was not able to give the breakdown for current figures.

But it stressed that green energy and technology cannot take off on their own in the region without government’s support to boost adoption and bring down the prices of energy-efficient products.

"In order to make, for example, solar energy penetrate very quickly, we still have to reply on a certain degree of local government assistance.... If (there's) volume, we can be more confident about making our products more competitive," said Hotta.

Sanyo said that while Europe remains its largest market for green technology, it hopes to ride on post-crisis Asian GDP growth to drive demand for environmentally-friendly technology. - CNA /ls

Electricity to cost more from April

By Mustafa Shafawi | Posted: 30 March 2010 1529 hrs

SINGAPORE: Electricity will cost more for the upcoming quarter, starting April. It will be the fourth consecutive quarter of increase.
SP Services said that is because of a continued increase in fuel oil prices. The average fuel oil price over the last three months has increased from S$99.38 to S$102.95 per barrel.
With the increase of some three per cent, electricity will cost 23.56 Singapore cents per kilowatt-hour.
On average, families in four-room HDB flats will see a S$2.47 increase in their monthly electricity bill for the quarter.
The Energy Market Authority has approved the revised tariff.

- CNA/sc

Thousands join in as Singapore observe Earth Hour

By Lynda Hong / Dylan loh / Evelyn Choo | Posted: 27 March 2010 2228 hrs


SINGAPORE: Thousands of individuals and organisations in Singapore observed Earth Hour on Saturday evening for the second year running. Organisers said more people were involved in the big switch-off this year.

The symbolic gesture to combat climate change was highlighted when skyscrapers and buildings darkened for an hour from 8:30pm.

Non-essential lights surrounding various Singapore icons such as the Merlion Park and Singapore River were also turned off.

With this year's slogan being "Earth Hour, Every Hour", organisers want participants to go beyond the hour and adopt a sustainable lifestyle.

"So what we are encouraging is that people make adjustments to their daily lives to reduce carbon emissions," said Amy Ho, managing director of the World Wide Fund for Nature, Singapore. "So it's not just about these 60 minutes on March 27, but it's really what you do on a regular, a daily basis."

Walking the talk, the main event at Esplanade Park was entirely powered by biodiesel from recycled cooking oil.

Celebrities also joined in the campaign against climate change.

"Everyone playing a small part. I guess more parts will become a big part," a participant said. "It encourages the governments and the policy makers to actually do something."

Other entities in Singapore also took part in Earth Hour.

Singapore's premier shopping belt got into the act with at least 10 shopping centres along Orchard Road switching off their facade lights and other non-essential lighting.

New shopping centre ION Orchard marked the occasion by having a concert of its own.

Singapore's Changi International Airport took part in this year's Earth Hour for the second time.

Decorative and non-critical operational lights were either switched off or dimmed throughout the terminals at 8.30pm.

Trials were conducted beforehand to ensure airport operations would not be compromised.

The Changi Airport Group said the one-hour effort results in energy savings equivalent to the total amount of electricity consumed by a four-room HDB apartment over three months.

Earth Hour was also observed by students of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and residents living in the area.

Volunteers illuminated the number 60 with their mobile phones - now a powerful symbol for environmental conservation worldwide.

This is the second time the campus is dimming its lights.

Members of the university's environmental awareness group hope this will be more than a one-hour affair.

"Earthlink NTU has launched two other campaigns to encourage students to use less straws and to use the stairs whenever possible," said Adrian Koh, president of Earthlink NTU.

"We hope that through these campaigns to encourage fellow students to reduce resources and energy wastage, so that they know that everyday actions can help save the earth."

- CNA/yb