Part 3/5: The Red System (Energy), Singapore

This is part of a series of posts based on scripts, written for class presentations during our Masters in Integrated Sustainable Design at National University of Singapore.
The class had to analyse various complex systems in Singapore, as a precursor to the Design problem in Studio. The systems included are – Red (energy), Blue (Water), Green I (Biodiversity), Green II (Food) and Grey (Public Space).
The following posts elaborate on the Red System.

Part 3/5: System Flows and Exchanges

Welcome to Part 3/5 of our series on the Energy System of Singapore. Part 1/5 established the objective and boundary condition of the system. It then identified the Elements, and Flows & Exchanges between them, to set relevant scales of study and understand critical functions. We found that the system has a gap at the neighborhood scale, it is highly centralized and the largest demand sectors are Industrial and Commercial. Part 2/5 went deeper into the analysis by looking at the timeline of the system from the 1800s to present day, and looking to the future. The timeline reflected important policies and events, and their corresponding effects using maps at Regional and Island scales.

Moving on from the above base, this post delves deeper into the System Flows and Exchanges. The Analysis is divided into 3 sections – Generation, Transmission, Distribution & Consumption.

System Flows and Exchanges
Energy System Flows & Exchanges Sankey Diagram; Generation, Transmission, Distribution & Consumption in detail below; Graphics: Credits below; Data Sources: 1, 2

For Generation – there are largely 2 types of flows – direct consumption and generation of electricity. Currently there is high dependence on fossils fuels for both these flows.

Petroleum Products are the source for almost 90 per cent of direct consumption, the rest being Natural Gas. The direct fuel largely goes to industry and transportation sectors.

Electricity is produced using a predominantly centralized system where Natural Gas powered plants account for 95 per cent of generation, the rest coming from coal, biomass plants and solar power.

Solar is a good renewable option for Singapore, however, there could be concerns related to land area, installation costs, evolution of technology.

Graphics: Credits below; Data Sources: 1, 2


The electricity generation in power plants uses efficient gas turbines, but despite that there are high conversion losses of more than 40 per cent as heat. The electricity produced is transmitted using an efficient system to various sectors – The transmission losses in Singapore are very less, about 5 per cent, compared to Asian and south east Asian countries (20-40 cent).


Graphics: Credits below; Data Sources: 1, 2


The maximum consumption is by industrial and commercial sectors. From that, the highest consumption is for air conditioning loads. A large percentage of transportation, as we saw in earlier posts, uses fossil fuels while the remaining is powered by electricity.

distribution CONSUMPTION
Graphics: Credits below; Data Sources: 1, 2


All the processes of air conditioning, lighting and other facilities, either convert the electrical energy into respective functions or to waste or to heat. This heat either adds to cooling loads or is later rejected to the environment. This added environmental heat affects the micro-climate. Thus, the consumption patterns related to energy, interact with the environment and can be seen in Urban Heat Island (UHI) intensity maps, which we explore in further detail in later posts.



We hope you enjoyed this third post, as part of a series elaborating on the Red System of Singapore. Do let us know your thoughts about the Red system and other related aspects in the comments section. We would love to take this discussion further!

Look out for further posts from this series in the coming weeks –

28th May 2018 – Part 4/5: System Structure

4th June 2018 – Part 5/5: How can Energy be restructured to improve self – Sufficiency and reduce Emissions?


Graphics : All graphics are produced as part of a team project for M.Sc. Integrated Sustainable Design at National University of Singapore (Building Semester – Stage 1 – Complex Living Systems). Group Members – Gajender Kumar Sharma, Aditi Bisen, Huang Hongbo, Zhao Yanming
Script : Aditi Bisen



References/ Additional Reading:

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