Powering Tengah, Singapore’s First AI-enabled, Eco-friendly, Smart Energy Town

Speakers and moderator at the virtual Ecosperity Conversations on “Sustainable Districts for a Sustainable City”. Photo credits: Temasek

How can we enhance livability, sustainability and resilience of our cities through urban planning and urban innovation? This was explored at the first virtual Ecosperity Conversations session held by Temasek on 24 June 2020.

SP Group’s S Harsha, Managing Director of Singapore Markets in Sustainable Energy Solutions joined Dr. Limin Hee, Director of Research at Singapore’s Centre for Liveable Cities, Frederick Teo, Director and Soh Hui Qing, Associate Director of Sustainability and Stewardship Group at Temasek. They exchanged ideas on how district-level projects could be testbeds for the national roll-out of sustainable energy solutions.

Citing the collaboration between SP Group and the Housing Development Board at Tengah, Harsha opined that the careful integration of “eco-innovations” can transform this new town into an AI-enabled and sustainability-focused eco-town of the future.

These “eco-innovations” include the world’s first large-scale residential Centralised Cooling System (CCS); vertically deployed building-infused photovoltaic systems; electric vehicle fast charging hubs coupled with battery energy storage systems; and digital solutions designed for residents and municipal operators.

Here are some interesting Q&As captured during Harsha’s interaction with the audience:

How do you promote CCS, given that it is just an option to the residents?

Harsha: We’ve been engaging Tengah residents fairly early in their home purchase journey. We talk to them during the lease signing and even unit selection phase. Since August last year, we’ve engaged close to 2,000 dwelling units and we continue to see a high interest level towards CCS. It’s very encouraging and we are aiming for at least 80% of our residents to opt for CCS!

We have limited rooftop space on HDB blocks. How can one free up space to harness renewable energy?

Harsha: One of the early innovations we are bringing into Tengah is the building-integrated photovoltaics whereby solar panels will be deployed vertically on the crown of the HDB blocks. They’re not going to be as efficient as the RC rooftop solar panels but we will give it our best shot to harness as much renewable energy as possible and route it back to CCS.

Are you also implementing other circular economy concepts in Tengah?

Harsha: We’re exploring the possibility of implementing our zero-waste gasification system which piloted at Gardens by the Bay in Tengah’s residential context. This gasification system converts waste into thermal energy and biochar (carbonised biomass). The process also emits a lot of synthesis gas that can be used for thermal heating. Instead of Sembawang Hot Springs, perhaps we can have our own Tengah Hot Springs? Well, that’s a crazy idea I have at the back of my mind.

Graphic recording of the webinar. Photo credits: Temasek

As Singapore's first eco-smart energy town powered by SP, Tengah could provide the blueprint for eco towns in Singapore. This can be achieved through the collective efforts of residents, municipal operators, and businesses as they advance towards sustainability together.

— 6 August 2020