At the 10th Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC) Meeting, chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Lee Hsien Loong, the progress made on the RIE2020 Plan on Friday was reviewed. RIE2020 was launched last year, with the government planning to invest SG$19 billion over 5 years.
Announcements were made regarding the future in the four technology domains of the Plan- Advanced Manufacturing & Engineering (AME), Health & Biomedical Sciences (HBMS), Services & Digital Economy (SDE) and Urban Solutions & Sustainability (USS). Cutting-edge technologies will be explored, leveraging the capabilities built by earlier RIE investments.
In the USS domain, the Singapore government has embarked on efforts to begin Research & Development (R&D) on Grid 2.0. Grid 2.0 refers to the next-generation grid system that will transform how energy is managed by consolidating gas, solar and thermal energy into a single intelligent network that is more efficient, sustainable and resilient.
This builds on Singapore’s past investments in smart meters, grid storage, solar photovoltaics, as well as various energy efficiency and demand management solutions to address Singapore’s unique energy challenges, and also grow the base of capabilities.
Singapore invested steadily in water technologies to make strides in attaining water self-sufficiency,and in the process emerge as a global Hydrohub. There are about 180 water companies and more than 20 private research centres today in Singapore. Grid 2.0 reflects the efforts to replicate the success of the Water Story in other sectors. It is aligned with the recommendation of the Committee on the Future Economy, for Singapore to export urban solutions.
For the development of Grid 2.0, the National Research Foundation (NRF), together with agencies including the Energy Market Authority (EMA), the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), JTC Corporation and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), will be exploring further investments in key component technologies, such as the solid-state transformer (SSTs are collections of high-powered semiconductor components, conventional high-frequency transformers and control circuitry which can provide a high level of flexible control to power distribution networks. When some communication capability is integrated, the entire package can referred to as a smart transformer. SST technology can step up or step down AC voltage levels like traditional transformers but they providing significant advantages in terms of flexibility and control which could be crucial for smart grids of the future and for integrating renewable energy into grids.)
NRF together with the agencies will also look into the integration of these key component technologies into a coherent system that is more efficient, sustainable and resilient.
New opportunities are also being explored in the cold energy sector, and in developing more efficient thermal energy storage media that could be used to improve efficiency in district cooling systems.
In the future, the plan is for industry players to partner with researchers to demonstrate the feasibility of Grid 2.0 in local test-beds, scale up these technologies in mixed-use districts in Singapore, and export these integrated solutions to other cities globally.
Dr Yeoh Lean Weng, Director, Urban Solutions and Sustainability, NRF said, “There is great potential for Grid 2.0 to create value for cities globally. By capitalising on our comparative advantage in the delivery of urban solutions and the management of its underlying infrastructure, we can quickly translate technologies through the testbeds in Singapore into smart solutions that can be exported as a validated, integrated solution to other cities globally.”
 Set up in 2006, the RIEC provides strategic direction for national R&D. The RIEC comprises Cabinet Ministers and distinguished local and foreign members from the business, science and technology communities.