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Singapore Sectors

What is Singaporeʼs pathway to limit global warming to 1.5°C?

Power sector in 2030

Singapore has focused on phasing out petroleum products from its electricity supply by switching to natural gas, which as of 2019 accounts for 95% of its electricity generation as opposed to 2% for renewable energy.2 Paris Agreement compatible pathways require renewables to ramp-up 10-16% by 2030 (a five-fold factor). Such a transformation would require Singapore to revise its current gas-centric policy, and bring forward and accelerate future plans for solar, connecting to regional grids and importing green hydrogen to diversify and decarbonise its power mix.

Singapore is constrained by the availability of space, but renewable energy imports could be an option to decarbonise its power system. There are various renewable energy projects (including solar, and green hydrogen) being developed within the region, that could be explored to support Singapore’s import plans, for example, Australia plans to build a 3 GW solar farm and a 4500 km transmission system with undersea cabling that could power a fifth of Singapore’s energy needs.14 Southeast Asia also has huge renewable energy potential that can be traded within the region or exported. Southeast Asia has the technical potential to achieve 100% renewable energy supply through a regional energy system however considerable further policy would be required.15

Towards a fully decarbonised power system

The emissions intensity of Singapore’s power sector can reach zero to 8 gCO₂/kWh by 2040 and zero to -128 gCO₂/kWh by 2050. This would require Singapore to phase out coal, which plays a minor role, immediately from the power sector, and phase out gas between 2040 and 2050. Singapore committed to phase out coal by 2030s at COP26.10

Paris Agreement compatible pathways show a high potential for renewable energy (domestic and imported). If renewables reached 94-95% of generation by 2040, this would enable achieving a 1.5°C pathway without having to rely on CDR technologies.

If Singapore continues its natural gas reliance and delays the phase out date of 2040, it risks relying more heavily on negative emissions at a later date, and stranded assets. It also exposes itself to fossil fuel price volatility, and missing out on the comparative green economic advantage.

1 Singapore government. Singapore’s Update of its First Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and Accompanying Information. (2020).

2 Climate Action Tracker. Singapore CAT Climate Target Update Tracker. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

3 Channel News Asia. Singapore to review its climate change target as world leaders agree COP26 deal. (2021).

4 CAT. CAT Climate Target Update Tracker, Singapore. Climate Action Tracker. (2020).

5 National Environment Agency. Singapore’s Fourth Biennial Update Report. (2020).

6 Lau, H. C. et al. A Decarbonization Roadmap for Singapore and Its Energy Policy Implications. (2021) doi:10.3390/en14206455.

7 EDB: Singapore. Sustainable Jurong Island. 2021.

8 National Climate Change Secretariat. Charting Singapore’s Low-Carbon and Climate Resilient Future. (2020).

9 Strachen, E. & Greening, P. The Singapore Budget 2022 – A Continuing Commitment to Advancing Singapore’s Green Transition – Lexology. (2022).

10 UN Climate Change Conference (COP26). Global Coal to Clean Power Transition Statement. (2021).

11 Duarte, C., Raftery, P. & Schiavon, S. Development of Whole-Building Energy Models for Detailed Energy Insights of a Large Office Building with Green Certification Rating in Singapore. Energy Technol. 6, 84–93 (2018).

12 Climate Action Tracker. Singapore. (2020).

13 Wamsted, D. & Schlissel, D. Petra Nova Mothballing Post-Mortem: Closure of Texas Carbon Capture Plant Is a Warning Sign. (2020).

14 Sun Cable. Sun Cable Website. Sun Cable. (2021).

15 Vidinopoulos, A., Whale, J. & Fuentes Hutfilter, U. Assessing the technical potential of ASEAN countries to achieve 100% renewable energy supply. Sustain. Energy Technol. Assessments 42, 100878 (2020).

16 IEA. Singapore. International Energy Agency. (2021).

17 PIK. The PRIMAP-hist national historical emissions time series. (2021).

18 NCCS. Singapore’s Emissions Profile. (2021).

19 Lewis, J. Shell mulls Singapore carbon capture hub and biofuels plant. (2021).

20 Land Transport Authority. Land Transport Master Plan 2040. (2021).

21 Data excludes Land use, Land use change and forestry (LULUCF) emissions. However, Singapore’s LULUCF emissions account for very little (e.g. 0.1 MtCO₂e/yr in 2014).

22 32 MtCO₂e calculated in AR4 values by the Climate Action Tracker. Source cites 33 MtCO₂e/yr in AR5 GWP values.

23 While global cost-effective pathways assessed by the IPCC Special Report 1.5°C provide useful guidance for an upper-limit of emissions trajectories for developed countries, they underestimate the feasible space for such countries to reach net zero earlier. The current generation of models tend to depend strongly on land-use sinks outside of currently developed countries and include fossil fuel use well beyond the time at which these could be phased out, compared to what is understood from bottom-up approaches. The scientific teams which provide these global pathways constantly improve the technologies represented in their models – and novel CDR technologies are now being included in new studies focused on deep mitigation scenarios meeting the Paris Agreement. A wide assessment database of these new scenarios is not yet available; thus, we rely on available scenarios which focus particularly on BECCS as a net-negative emission technology. Accordingly, we do not yet consider land-sector emissions (LULUCF) and other CDR approaches which developed countries will need to implement in order to counterbalance their remaining emissions and reach net zero GHG are not considered here due to data availability.

Singaporeʼs power mix

terawatt-hour per year

SSP1 Low CDR reliance
SSP1 High CDR reliance
Low energy demand
High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • Renewables incl. biomass
  • Unabated fossil
  • Nuclear and/or fossil with CCS
  • Negative emissions technologies via BECCS

Singaporeʼs power sector emissions and carbon intensity


  • Historical emissions
  • High energy demand - Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 Low CDR reliance
  • SSP1 High CDR reliance
  • 100%RE
  • Low energy demand

1.5°C compatible power sector benchmarks

Carbon intensity, renewable generation share, and fossil fuel generation share from illustrative 1.5°C pathways for Singapore

Decarbonised power sector by
Carbon intensity of power
360 to 370
0 to 30
−90 to 0
2040 to 2043
Relative to reference year in %
−7 to −5%
−100 to −93%
−123 to −100%
Year of phase-out
Share of unabated coal
Share of unabated gas
81 to 83
0 to 5
2040 to 2049
Share of renewable energy
10 to 16
95 to 97
98 to 100
Share of unabated fossil fuel
81 to 84
0 to 5


Demand shifting towards the power sector

The 1.5°C compatible pathways analysed here tend to show a strong increase in power generation and installed capacities across time. This is because end-use sectors (such as transport, buildings or industry) are increasingly electrified under 1.5°C compatible pathways, shifting energy demand to the power sector. Globally, the “high energy demand” pathway entails a particularly high degree of renewable energy-based electrification across the various sectors, and sees a considerable increase in renewable energy capacities over time. See the power section for capacities deployment under the various models.

Singaporeʼs renewable electricity investments

Billion USD / yr


Yearly investment requirements in renewable energy

Across the set of 1.5°C pathways that we have analysed, annual investments in renewable energy excluding BECCS increase in Singapore to be on the order of USD 0.1 to 4.6 billion by 2030 and 0.1 to 18 billion by 2040 depending on the scenario considered. The ‘high energy demand, low CDR reliance’ pathway shows a particularly high increase in renewable capacity investments, which could be driven by an increase of electrification of end-use sectors and growing energy demand. Other modelled pathways have relatively lower investments in renewables and rely to varying degrees on other technologies and measures such as energy efficiency and negative emissions technologies, of which the latter can require high up-front investments. Singapore is uniquely limited by its very small size and lack of available land to install renewable energy technologies, and is currently investigating sourcing renewable generation from Australia via a deep sea transmission cable.