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Singapore expands ice thermal storage at Marina Bay

SINGAPORE: An ice thermal energy storage system (ESS) is to be piloted in a substation serving the district cooling plant at Singapore’s Marina Bay. 

This will be the first time that Singapore’s Energy Market Authority (EMA) and leading Asia Pacific utilities company SP Group are installing an ice thermal storage facility located on its own, outside a district cooling plant. Such ice thermal storage facilities are traditionally located within a district cooling plant.

Established in 2006, the Marina Bay facility is said to be the world’s largest fully underground district cooling network. It serves more than 20 developments in Singapore’s Marina Bay financial district, including Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Raffles Place MRT Station, One Marina Boulevard and the Marina Bay Financial Centre. A further expansion of the network announced in April will increase the capacity to over 70,000RT and add more than 2km of underground insulated pipes.

The ice thermal pilot will optimise space usage within the substation and be completed in the third quarter of 2026 as part of the substation’s renewal works. It will add up to 1,500RT/h of ice thermal energy to the Marina Bay district cooling network. This will also contribute towards EMA’s target to deploy at least 200MW of ESS beyond 2025.

ESS can help to address the issue of supply intermittency, as renewable energy such as solar power fluctuates due to weather conditions. The stored thermal energy can also be discharged to power the district cooling plant and shave peak load demand. This will help to balance the electricity load.

As part of the pilot, SP will install 3,000RT of chiller capacity at the substation to support the future expansion of the Marina Bay district cooling network, bringing the total installed capacity of the network to 73,000 RT. This will allow SP to provide sustainable cooling to more buildings in the Marina Bay vicinity and surrounding areas such as Boat Quay.

SP’s district cooling operations at Marina Bay are currently a key demand response provider in Singapore, with five thermal storage tanks contributing up to 11MW of electricity load curtailment capacity

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