Energy Conservation Bill [Bill No. 8/2012] – (Minister for the Environment and Water Resources)
Mr Speaker sir
The Energy Conservation Bill is a good move that will enable the Government to monitor energy consumption and improve energy efficiency in our large-scale industrial and transport sectors.
It also shows that Singapore is taking its international responsibilities in tackling climate change concerns seriously, in line with other developed countries. I have three questions for the Minister –
The first concerns the reporting requirements for the companies under this Bill. I understand that this issue was raised during a consultation exercise on the Bill. I find it surprising that the detailed reporting requirements are still not finalized, and that the consultative exercise on these will only be completed by the end of June 2012. Would the Minister be able to share more details of the reporting requirements at this moment?
The second concerns the Energy Efficiency or EE improvement plan targets that the companies are required to submit. Since this Bill does not require companies to meet their EE improvement targets, the provision seems to be a weak instrument. I understand that this Bill is modeled on similar ones in places like the European Union and Japan, where I suspect they are more stringent on companies meeting their EE improvement targets. This Bill does not cover SMEs, but rather MNCs, which can afford to invest more effort and resources to meeting their EE improvement targets. My question therefore to the Minister is – does the Government plan to establish mandatory EE targets in the future?
Third – the Bill currently covers companies which consume more than 15 Giga-Watt hours (GWh) of energy per year. This would generally affect only MNCs. Does the Government plan to lower the qualification threshold, and hence include SMEs in this Bill in future, in line with some other countries? Such a move is certainly a laudable one in improving energy efficiency in Singapore, and should be supported.
However, it may put the resources and efforts of some SMEs at a strain, for it to meet the reporting requirements, without any substantial cost savings from improvements in their energy performance.