Singapore’s power grid to get digital twin

Digital twin concept image (digital transformation)
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Singapore’s first digital twin will serve to enhance the country’s power grid resilience to ensure power reliability and support the deployment of cleaner energy sources.

Supported by the Energy Market Authority (EMA), SP Group (SP) and the Science and Technology Policy and Plans Office (S&TPPO) under the Prime Minister’s Office, the Grid Digital Twin is a virtual representation of the physical power grid assets and network and operates using real-time and historical data. It comprises two key models:

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  • Asset Twin1 for the health management of grid assets (such as substations, transformers, cables); and
  • Network Twin2 for the assessment of impact on the grid when connecting new energy sources or consumers to the grid.

The Grid Digital Twin is currently in a prototype stage and is expected to be fully developed over the next few years. When fully deployed, it will enable SP to better plan, operate and maintain the national power grid through modelling and  simulations so that the actual works can be carried out in a more effective and efficient way.

Key benefits of the Grid Digital Twin include improving network planning analysis and remote monitoring of asset conditions, thereby saving manpower resources in carrying out extensive physical inspections. As the Grid Digital Twin provides a more holistic model of the grid, it can facilitate planning of infrastructure for different needs (such as installation of electric vehicle chargers, and connection of solar photovoltaic systems and energy storage systems). Progressive enhancements to the Grid Digital Twin are in place to make it more accurate and efficient, as SP continues to digitise the existing electricity assets under the network.

In tandem with the Singapore Green Plan 2030, Singapore is looking to greener sources of energy and more diversification of energy supply, such as solar deployments, energy storage systems and vehicle-to-grid technologies. In addition, power grid operations will become more complex with increasing electrification and deployment of more distributed energy resources (DERs). Currently, the national power grid comprises over 18,000 transformers, with more than 27,000km of underground cables interconnecting over 11,000 substations. The Grid Digital Twin will therefore help to future-proof the country’s power grid to ensure it is well-equipped to manage such complexities while maintaining reliability of grid operations.

EMA chief executive Ngiam Shih Chun said, “The digital twin for our national power grid will help to enhance the reliability of our electricity supply and support our transition towards greater energy sustainability. With the pressing need to tackle climate change, the power grid needs to evolve to support a more complex power system that will connect to more diverse sources of cleaner energy as well as a growing network to meet rising demand.”

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SP Group group CEO Stanley Huang said, “SP Group works closely with EMA to explore measures to improve Singapore’s grid reliability and resilience. Harnessing the power of digitisation, the Grid Digital Twin enables us to monitor and test different scenarios based on a virtual replica of the grid. We can then effectively test potential upgrades and enhancements, and future-ready innovations such as the projects under the SP Group—NTU Joint Lab to support our ambition to empower the future of energy.”

When completed, the Grid Digital Twin will be a key initiative in contributing towards Singapore’s overall efforts for greater sustainability through enhanced grid network planning and operations.

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