Singapore’s urban solutions plans bearing fruit
Boosted by a S$900 million budget under the Research Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan, Singapore’s move to become a more environmentally sustainable and liveable city is steadily taking shape.
Already regarded internationally as being at the forefront of environmental sustainability and liveability with a second-place rank in 2016’s Sustainable Cities Index, Singapore continues to work on improving both its built and natural environment, with the long-term goal of providing its citizens with a higher quality of life.
To that end, under Singapore’s Research Innovation and Enterprise (RIE) 2020 plan, which is the country’s sixth roadmap for research and development, a S$900 million budget was set aside by the government in 2015 specifically for work in Urban Solutions and Sustainability (USS).
That financial boost has since borne fruit, with a slew of new initiatives launched in 2017 aimed at promoting sustainability in the country.
Among the notable projects launched was the country’s first electric car-sharing service. Set up and helmed by BlueSG, a subsidiary of the Bolloré Group which started a similar service in Paris, a total of 80 cars and 32 charging stations were made available for public use across the country in December.
BlueSG aims to increase the fleet to 1,000 cars – and 2,000 charging points – by 2020 as part of Singapore’s vision to achieve urban mobility and a sustainable transport system.
Another landmark enterprise was the installation of Singapore’s first long-span wind turbine at Semakau Landfill in October. A joint-project between Nanyang Technological University’s (NTU) Energy Research Institute and French multinational electric utility company ENGIE, the turbine with three 10.5m long rotor blades, stands at 14 storeys high and produces an electrical output rating of approximately 100 kilowatts – enough to power 45 four-room public housing flats.
The new turbine is part of NTU’s Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator-Singapore (REIDS) project, an initiative which is expected to bring in close to S$20 million worth of projects over the next four years. A total of 12 new partners, including notable players in the energy industry such as Keppel Corporation, EDF Energy and Emerson Electric, have already signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with REIDS during the Singapore International Energy Week 2017 in October.
Other initiatives that were introduced include the installation of a pneumatic waste conveyance system, which uses vacuum-type underground pipes to automatically gather household garbage from about 3,200 households at Jurong’s Yuhua estate in the west. This was a pilot of the Housing Development Board’s Greenprint Programme to develop sustainable homes, and to create cleaner and greener living environments.
Also, a fifth NEWater plant that opened in January means that the Public Utilities Board is now capable of supplying close to 40 per cent of Singapore’s total daily water requirement.
Along with these initiatives, several MICE events related to Urban Solutions and Sustainability were also held in Singapore in 2017.