The race against climate change has seen a substantial shift within the last decade as individuals, businesses, and governments are looking to take initiatives toward combating this threat. Recently, the Island-Nation of Singapore announced their aggressive plan to lower their emissions and combat sea-level rise.
Singapore has unveiled its newest implementation to transition to alternative energy – one of the world’s largest floating solar farms.
Located on the Tengeh Reservoir, the Sembcorp Tengeh Floating Solar Farm is comprised of 122,000 solar panels, spans just over 110 acres, and will replace enough CO2 emissions equivalent to the removal of 7,000 cars from the road.
Producing nearly 60MW of energy, the Tengeh solar farm is also placed at number 9 in the top 10 largest floating solar farms in the world, with South Korea’s Saemangeum farm producing 2.1GW of power coming in at number one. This ambitious project comes as the world is beginning to shift toward alternative energy options to lessen the severity of climate change and environmental degradation.
Climate Change - A Growing Threat to Coastal Nations
Located in Southeast Asia at the tip of the Malaysian Peninsular, the island-nation of Singapore is notorious for its bustling cities, picturesque skylines, and strong economic association. What the Republic of Singapore is less known for is its high environmental footprint. The country clocks in at one of the highest carbon dioxide emitters per capita in all of Asia, which is a highly impressive feat considering the country is nearly half the size of Los Angeles, California.
With the threat of climate change inching closer and closer to the forefront of reality, Singapore’s government has recently announced their “green plan” to help combat their immense environmental footprint via an array of sustainability initiatives such as lowering waste, encouraging electric vehicles, and a pledge to achieve net-zero emissions as soon as possible.
Perhaps the main reason that the country has made this big leap toward sustainability is the realization of how much its location puts it at risk of the effects of climate change and, therefore, sea-level rise. Just last month scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, uncovered evidence of the sea level’s ebb and flow in Singapore from 10,000 years ago. This knowledge is a powerful tool that can help climate scientists better predict the future of sea-level rise within the area and how much it can negatively affect the country.
A co-author of the study and Director of EOS, Professor Benjamin Horton states, "Sea-level rise is a potentially disastrous outcome of climate change, as rising temperatures melt ice sheets and warm ocean waters. Scenarios of future rise are dependent upon understanding the response of sea level to climate changes. Accurate estimates of past sea-level variability in Singapore provide a context for such projections."
Floating Solar Farms Vs. Land Solar Farms
A notorious downside to solar farms is the amount of land they can take up, which can be concerning for highly populated areas such as Singapore. This can be especially difficult considering densely populated areas are typically the source of high environmental footprints, meaning that they are the ones that need to implement these alternative energies the most.
Installing solar farms on the surface of lakes, straits, oceans, and seas is a highly viable option for areas that are looking to implement alternative energy options without taking up land. Another large benefit of utilizing floating solar farms is that it decreases the rate at which water evaporates by shading the surrounding area from the sun's strong rays. This can be extremely important in some coastal cities throughout the globe that is prone to, or currently struggling with, a drought.
Since solar energy has become far more mainstream within the last decade, we have seen a substantial drop in the cost of solar panels, making this option even more desirable and attainable to many individuals, businesses, and governments.
Overall, Singapore is in a strong position to implement these initiatives as the country is home to some of the wealthiest people in the world, with one in every six households having at least one million dollars in liquid assets. This, coupled with the small size of the island nation, means that their shift toward sustainability will be an easier one than many other countries. This can be beneficial as they can use their wealth and influence to help neighboring countries with a lower socioeconomic status.
Lastly, the swift implementation that we have seen of sustainable initiatives coming out of Singapore within the past few years emulates the country’s dedication and desire to make a difference for the sake of their people and the planet. This can aid in the overall fight against climate change that we are seeing on a global scale, with many individuals, companies, and governments seemingly making an effort to alter their way of life for the betterment of earth and society.