In 2016, Nanyang Technological University (NTU) launched the Renewable Energy Integration Demonstrator – Singapore (REIDS) project to build eight hybrid microgrids that will be used for studying, testing, and demonstrating the integration of solar, wind, diesel, storage, waste-to-energy and power-to-gas technologies. The initiative, which will be the largest multi-microgrid test and research platform in Southeast Asia, aims to address the need for better and more affordable energy access that is suitable for the region’s tropical climate.
French utility company Electricite de France (EDF) partnered with NTU to set up a research department in Semakau Island and build one of the four microgrids that will also be hosted in the area. The facilities were built and located offshore to minimise the hazards and risks of being in the highly populated areas of Singapore’s mainland.
As NTU had already appointed the global engineering and infrastructure advisory company, Aurecon to develop the overall microgrid infrastructure on the island, EDF commissioned the company to deliver the mechanical and electrical design services for their microgrid. This microgrid will serve as a test bed for renewable energy that combines solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, wind turbines, and other new sophisticated technologies.
The challenge for Aurecon was to deliver the complex design of the microgrid within an accelerated timeframe, in time for EDF to showcase their technologies and equipment at the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW). Unlike other facilities that are connected to one central power source, EDF’s microgrid will be generating power from different renewable sources and thus, required a comprehensive design that would ensure the safety of the people and the facility.
To achieve this, Aurecon drew upon its global expertise and closely collaborated with EDF and NTU to develop a unique power system with a bi-directional setup, which would enable the microgrid to work on its own and function as a larger interoperable resource simultaneously. In addition, the project team collaborated closely with EDF, ensuring their design complied with local codes and regulations in Singapore; in addition to regular inspections, testing, and commissioning.
According to Project Director Philip Motteram, it was a privilege to be involved in this project as such affordable and renewable microgrid energy solutions will have far-reaching implications for communities in South-east Asia.
Completed on October 2018, the EDF’s Microgrid joins REIDS’ network of microgrids in Semakau Island – an innovation that, once proven successful, can be adopted by other archipelagic countries in Southeast Asia as an alternative mode of energy. The project was showcased in the 2018 Singapore International Energy Week, gathering representatives from the Singapore government, the energy industry, and representatives from neighbouring countries to witness the microgrids at work.