PUB the first government agency to participate in demand response programme; partners SP Group to bolster grid resilience

PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency announced a partnership with SP Group to participate in the Energy Market Authority (EMA)’s demand response (DR) and interruptible load (IL) programmes, making it the first government agency to do so. As a participant, PUB commits to voluntarily reduce its energy use or temporarily shift electricity usage during periods of peak usage, or when supply from renewable energy sources is intermittent. This will help balance electricity demand and supply on the national power grid at critical times, while facilitating the integration of more renewables.

Goh Si Hou, chief executive, PUB, said: “PUB is leveraging technological innovation and process redesign to raise the energy efficiency of our operations. We are improving treatment processes to reduce energy intake and enhance energy recovery, while drawing on renewable energy by deploying floating solar farms on our reservoirs. This is important as we will increasingly tap on energy-intensive sources like NEWater and desalination to meet growth in water demand.

“Coming onboard the DR and IL programmes will provide PUB with flexibility in managing energy demand, and allow us to achieve cost savings. At the same time, our participation will support the national effort for energy resilience, and bring system-level benefits to all users.”

PUB signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SP on 5 Apr 2023.

Under the MoU, SP will act as the DR aggregator and onboard PUB’s identified electricity load operations onto its system and participate in both the DR and IL programmes on its behalf. An electricity load curtailment is required to balance the national grid when energy demand is at its peak or when electricity supply dips. When that happens, the group will combine loads from its Marina Bay district cooling ice thermal energy storage systems and make them available for DR reduction or interruption, thus acting as an intermediary for partners including PUB.

It will also provide PUB with regular market reports, share technical know-how and work with PUB in meeting load curtailment targets.

PUB has identified the Marina Raw Water Pumping Station, located at Kallang Basin, to be the contributing facility for both programmes. The pumping station is used to transfer raw water from Marina Reservoir to Upper Peirce Reservoir and has flexibility to adjust non-time critical operations when required to manage or reduce electricity usage.

Mr Stanley Huang, SP Group CEO, said: “SP Group is well positioned to be Singapore’s biggest DR aggregator, building on our experience in electricity load curtailment through our district cooling operations and now, bringing onboard industry partners like PUB. This unlocks the potential of DR in electricity-intensive facilities here, paving the way for more collaborations that will strengthen the resilience of the nation’s grid through sustainable energy initiatives.”

EMA and SP had earlier announced a pilot ice thermal energy storage system (ESS) at the George Street substation which will be operational in 2026. The total load curtailment capacity from PUB and George Street substation operations, together with SP’s ice thermal ESS that supports what is said to be the world’s largest underground district cooling operations at Marina Bay, is equivalent to the daily energy consumption of 10,000 four-room HDB flats.

SP has been an active participant in the IL and DR programmes since 2016, with the capability to facilitate electricity load curtailment for partners like PUB when required.