Powering the nation is a behemoth task, especially with rising energy demand from high-tech businesses and homes. Amidst increasing consumption and higher cost, SP Group seeks to help customers save more by introducing energy-saving solutions. At the forefront of this movement are 28-year-old Elzan Toh and 24-year-old Derrick Yap, two Executive Engineers who are involved in the company’s different businesses.
Why did you pursue engineering, and what motivated you to take up this scholarship with SP Group?
Derrick: By combining science and innovation, engineers transform the theoretical to the practical to solve the world’s pressing problems. This fits into my goal to create a positive and meaningful impact to the society. Furthermore, the fast-changing industrial landscape allows me to challenge myself constantly and step out of my comfort zone.
Derrick Yap Vee Lee
SP Group Mid-Term Scholarship
Executive Engineer (Singapore District Cooling, Operation Section)
Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering, First Class Honours – Nanyang Technological University
Elzan: What motivated me to pursue engineering with SP is the opportunity to work with the vast electricity network system that powers the nation. In addition, maintaining and operating Singapore’s electricity network in this digital era has created more room for development as I learned to use new technologies effectively to uphold Singapore’s grid reliability.
What are your takeaways from your Engineering Development for GraduatEs (EDGE) journey, and how else has your scholarship benefitted you?
Derrick: Apart from the monetary support from the scholarship, what’s more important is the commitment of the organisation to my personal development. I am given opportunities for growth as part of the EDGE journey, including special strategic assignments and a short stint as Secretariat of the Group Management Committee’s bi-weekly meetings. These have broadened my perspective and helped reduce the learning curve for future leadership roles.
Elzan: Apart from the technical knowledge shared by our seniors, I also fostered great friendships with the colleagues from my on-the-job training and with the other EDGE engineers. Through this programme, we formed a community that exchanges information and knowledge. This has since become a channel that I rely on whenever I encounter any work-related issue.
Elzan Toh Boon Leong
SP Group Mid-Term Scholarship
Executive Engineer (SP PowerGrid Ltd, Asset Management & Projects, EHV Project II section)
Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, Honours (Distinction) – National University of Singapore
What do you find most interesting about the projects that you’ve been involved in?
Derrick: Many visitors to the Marina Bay district do not know that there’s a large underground piping network that helps to keep the district cooled 24/7, 365 days a year. Iconic buildings within the district, such as Marina Bay Sands, have been enjoying reliable and energy-efficient chilled water supply from SP Group’s Singapore District Cooling (SDC) plants, for their air conditioning needs. Buildings supplied by district cooling get to enjoy up to 40 per cent energy savings. And we now are extending this energy efficient solution to residential district developments in Singapore, where home owners in Tengah Smart Energy Town have a choice to subscribe to have their household air conditioning needs provided from a centralised cooling system.
Elzan: I am part of the Extra High Voltage (EHV) Projects section and entrusted to commission the very first transmission cable in Singapore’s deepest tunnels at a depth of 60 meters below ground. The tunnels play an integral part of SP’s long-term plan to secure reliable and efficient electricity supply for Singapore. The tunnels allow us to install, repair and replace aging assets, and upgrade our network efficiently, with minimal inconvenience to the public. To be the one installing and commissioning the first electricity cable within the tunnel is a milestone for me.
What development opportunities have you had with SP Group?
Derrick: I am involved in projects that are beyond my scope of engineering work. As part of the organising committee of The Pitch, a group-wide ideation competition, I organised roadshows and workshops across key operations depots to garner interest of participation among SP staff and also assisted the Ideation participating teams in formulating business plans. This has given me a more comprehensive personal development, especially on my soft skills.
Elzan: As Chief Entertainment Officer (CEO) of the SP Carnival Organising Committee in 2017/18, I had to develop ‘entertaining’ programmes with the objective of bonding everyone. Eventually, we decided to bring everyone back home, to our Kallang headquarters, through a series of carnival sessions leading up to the finale, which featured more games and sports finals for our colleagues to enjoy.