Electricity is essential for economic growth. In Singapore, which is one of the leading economies in Asia, there’s a lot of investment in a mix of power sources to power the thriving economy. The industrial sector tops in electricity consumption at 41.3% followed by the commercial sector at 36.4%. Singapore households consume 16.1% of the electricity available in the country. One reason cited for the country’s strong growth is the reliability of the power supply. The country boasts one of the most reliable power networks in the world. At the heart of this successful power network is efficient power grid regulation. With the high demand for electricity across all sectors, the authorities have to manage the grid to ensure electricity supply matches the energy output. This helps maintain power grid stability by adjusting power output to meet demand. In this article, you’ll learn more about grid systems, grid regulation, importance of energy storage solutions in the grid, and much more.
What is a Grid?
The power grid refers to the electricity network in the country. The term refers to multiple components in electricity generation to the point of consumption. The features in a power grid include:
- Electricity generation: This part encompasses electricity power plants such as hydropower plants, wind farms, and solar fields. In Singapore, natural gas accounts for the largest percentage of electricity generated (96%). The remaining 4% of generation comes from coal, petroleum products, and renewables. Recently, the country unveiled the world’s largest floating solar farms covering over 110 acres
- Electric power transmission: After power generation, the electricity flows through high-voltage wires across the country
- Electricity distribution: This is the last phase of electricity supply. The distribution aspect is visible through electricity wires on the streets. Power companies also use transformers to convert high-voltage electricity to a lower voltage. The power is now ready for distribution to commercial and residential properties
The power grid has many complex mini-components within it and requires expert maintenance and management. Any failures in the grid system can cause outages in a large area or in the entire country. This can happen if the affected area uses the same power mix from a single power plant.
Over the years, power grid systems in the country have changed with more households and businesses generating their own power through solar energy and other renewables. Large-scale solar farms also load power to the grid which changes the traditional aspect of the national grid. The beauty of a power grid is the fact that it’s an interconnected system. If a new power plant comes online in a certain area, this benefits everyone connected to the country’s electricity system.
What Is Power Grid Regulation and Why Is It Important?
To appreciate what grid regulation means, consider the situation in the country where most of the households require power in the evening. The demand during peak hours is steep and if the power supply remains as it was during the rest of the day, there would be a problem in the grid. The grid regulation process is convoluted and leverages the latest technology. A lot of factors come into play to determine how much power goes into storage or to the transmission lines. Sometimes, the supply from local power plants is not enough leading to costly and inconvenient fluctuations. For a business relying on grid electricity, a power outage can lead to damage to products. What’s more, some businesses in the service industry rely on electricity to serve customers on their premises. There are also critical installations such as hospitals and security installations that can’t do without power. All these considerations factor into grid regulation.
In summary, grid regulation is crucial for the following reasons:
- Reduce fluctuations in the cost of power
- Reduce supply fluctuations in power supply
- Improve reliability in power supply
- Ensure supply to critical installations
- Reduce reliance on fossil fuel-powered electricity
- Promote renewable sources of energy
While Singapore has invested heavily in renewables, they only form a small percentage in the electricity generation mix. With the reliance on natural gas, there’s a risk of fluctuations caused by market conditions. To make things worse, such fluctuations can also come with a higher cost of electricity.
Can Renewables Solve Grid Challenges?
One solution to mitigating the challenges in grid regulation is through renewables. The country still lags in the generation of electricity from renewables. Renewables such as solar, geothermal, hydroelectric energy, and wind are in the limelight today. With the devastation caused by the burning of fossil fuels not apparent, the Singapore government continues to invest heavily in renewables. Reliance on fossil fuel-powered electricity is costly and also has a huge impact on the environment. With renewables, there’s finally a solution to reverse the damage done over the years. Clean energy can slow down the devastating effects of climate change. At the consumers’ level, clean energy is cheaper and more reliable. For instance, the country has adequate sunshine for electricity generation. But there’s a catch; the intermittency of renewables makes it difficult to rely on these energy sources. The variability of weather patterns means even the largest solar farm can still encounter power supply problems during cloudy days. If an area depends solely on a renewables power plant, consumers will suffer debilitating power supply fluctuations. Any additional source of electricity is welcome in a country that’s constantly demanding more power. With more investment in renewables, Singapore can have a stronger supply of electricity. But this can only happen if regulators resolve the intermittency challenge.
How Can Energy Storage Systems Help in the Grid?
Everyone agrees the future of electricity is clean energy. Singapore has already set out policies to invest and incentivize renewables. For renewables to play a crucial role in the national grid, there’s a need to invest in the best energy storage systems. Energy storage is the future of renewables. These technologies allow power generators to store excess energy generated during off-peak hours. The generators can then supply the electricity to the grid when it’s most needed. A utility-scale energy storage system works best in a large solar farm or wind farm. When conditions are favorable, the plants produce storable electricity. Grid regulation becomes easier with the addition of energy storage in renewable power plants.
Singapore’s economy requires a constant supply of electricity to continue performing excellently. To guarantee this, the authorities have invested heavily in power generation, transmission and distribution. Power grid regulation plays a critical role in ensuring industrial, commercial, and residential consumers get adequate power when they need it. With the addition of renewables into the electricity generation mix, the country can deliver a more reliable power supply. By investing in energy storage systems, power grid regulation in the country will become easier. This is the best way to maximize the cheaper and more reliable renewable energy.