A NEW $17 million scheme has been set up to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) improve their use of energy.
The initiative aims to achieve power savings of at least 10 per cent over the next three years for up to 300 SMEs, said Mr S. Iswaran, Second Minister for Trade and Industry, yesterday.
Speaking at the Standards eXchange on Resource Efficiency event at Resorts World Sentosa, he said: "Energy costs can constitute a significant part of our SMEs' operating costs."
He noted that energy accounts for 13 per cent of operating expenses across manufacturing SMEs, more than the 11 per cent average for all manufacturing companies.
Mr Iswaran, also Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, added: "To remain competitive and grow, our SMEs need to be smart users of energy."
The new SME Energy Efficiency Initiative, which was developed by Spring Singapore, will cover four areas: energy audit, energy monitoring systems, energy efficiency projection implementation, and energy efficiency thought leadership.
SMEs will be able to engage any of 11 pre-qualified energy services companies to audit their operations and identify ways to improve efficiency.
Funding will be available for SMEs to install systems for long-term self-monitoring of energy use, as well as to embark on larger energy efficiency projects.
In addition, a pilot training programme will be developed with the McKinsey Capability Centre Green Campus to foster energy efficiency initiatives in organisations.
Mr Iswaran also announced that the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) would set up an office here in September for an initial two years. It will be the ISO's first outlet outside its Geneva headquarters.
The office will aim to enhance support for ISO members in the region and boost the ISO's links to key stakeholders in the region.
ISO secretary-general Rob Steele said Singapore's excellent infrastructure and regional connectivity, its economic and political stability, and its ready talent pool were strong pull factors.
He added: "The presence of multi-national corporations, other international organisations and relevant regional organisations also contributed to the decision."
Set up in 1947, the ISO is the world's largest developer of voluntary international standards.
It has published more than 19,000 international standards covering almost all aspects of technology and business, ranging from food safety and computers to agriculture and health care.
Mr Iswaran also announced that Spring Singapore has been appointed as the secretariat for the Pacific Area Standards Congress from next year to 2016.
The congress was set up in 1973 to bring together standards bodies in the region to strengthen global trade and commerce.
It plays a significant role in influencing developments at the ISO.