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Opening Remarks by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, at the Launch of Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s Solar Roof ‘Switch-On’ Ceremony, 22 May 2019

Opening Remarks By Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister For The Environment And Water Resources, At The Launch Of Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s Solar Roof ‘Switch-On’ Ceremony, 22 May 2019

 

Mr Achal Agarwal, President of Kimberly-Clark Asia Pacific

Ms Stephanie Syptak-Ramnath, Chargé d’Affaires, United States Embassy Singapore

Ladies and Gentlemen

Introduction

1. Good morning. It gives me great pleasure to be here for the launch of Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s solar roof. I understand this solar roof will be one of the largest for a manufacturing plant in Singapore. It will replace up to 15 per cent of conventional energy used at the plant, and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by about 1,600 metric tons per year.

 

2. I commend Kimberly-Clark Corporation for taking this major step towards renewable energy. Businesses and industries are among our largest carbon emitters. You can have a substantial impact on mitigating global warming and climate change, when you make the transition to environmentally-sustainable operations.

Moving toward solar energy

3. Solar energy is Singapore’s most promising renewable energy source. We have an ambitious target to install 350 Megawatt peak (MWp) of solar capacity by 2020, and 1 Gigawatt peak (GWp) beyond 2020. This will go towards helping us achieve our pledge under the Paris Agreement, to reduce emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

4. We have been taking active steps to promote solar deployment in Singapore. The SolarNova Programme, which aggregates solar energy demand across all public sector bodies, is one such initiative. The Housing & Development Board (HDB) is currently the largest stakeholder in the installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Singapore, with a solar PV capacity of 230 MWp. The solar energy harnessed is used to power common services in the HDB estates like lifts, lighting in common areas and pumps.

 

Addressing Challenges

 

5. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has reported that in 2018, 171 Gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity was added globally. More than half of this – 94 GW – came from solar installations. This is an encouraging trend.

 

6. However, challenges remain. For one, solar energy is intermittent, and affected by environmental factors such as changing weather and cloud cover. There is a need to ensure the stability of our grid as we integrate more solar into our energy landscape. In Singapore, we are developing system-level solutions such as solar output forecasting, advanced energy management systems and energy storage. We are also investing in energy research, development and deployment (RD&D) to develop cost-competitive solutions that can be deployed to support the growth of our clean energy industry.

7. Another challenge is that solar infrastructure requires a huge land area. Singapore has come up with creative solutions to overcome our space constraints, by utilising our reservoirs. We are studying the deployment of floating solar photovoltaic systems at five of our reservoirs. Together, these systems potentially have the capacity to power 40,000 four-room HDB households a year – about half the size of Tampines town. These efforts will enhance Singapore’s energy resilience and climate action.

 

Conclusion

8. Let me conclude. Effective mitigation of climate change will require the efforts of not just government, but also businesses and the community. If we can rely more on renewable energy sources, we will reduce our carbon emissions, and potentially reduce costs for enterprises as well. In other words, it is possible to “do good” and “do well” at the same time.

 

9. I am heartened by the significant stride that Kimberly-Clark Corporation is making today, and I encourage more companies to emulate such good practices and invest in environmentally-sustainable operations.

 

 10. Thank you, and I look forward to our discussion later.

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