By Glenda Ong
Youth participants at In Dialogue with Youth at SIEW 2016 today learned much about Singapore’s solar energy scene and the career opportunities available in the energy industry.
Over the past year and a half, Singapore’s solar take up rate has been moving quite quickly. Solar is now increasingly competitive, and the Energy Market Authority (EMA) of Singapore continues to strive to make it as easy as possible for companies and individual households to use solar as an energy source for their own consumption.
As a result, solar now makes up around 1% of Singapore’s total energy mix, said Frank Phuan, founder of Sunseap Leasing. The nation aims to achieve 5% solar in the energy mix by 2020.
Today’s youth have even higher aspirations for the energy source. Nearly 40% of the participants at In Dialogue with Youth said they believed that solar energy currently supplies 25% of Singapore’s energy. Separately, 32.7% said that Singapore should aim to achieve 100% of solar energy usage.
Achieving 100% solar usage is nearly impossible, due to natural limits including the sunlight’s radiance, cloudy skies and stormy weather, said Minister for Trade & Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran. That said, government agencies such as Economic Development Board (EDB), Energy Market Authority (EMA), Housing & Development Board (HDB) and JTC Corporation are working together to create solar solutions for energy diversity, he added. For example, the Singapore government supports the improvement of technologies and energy efficiency – instead of subsidies – to ensure that solar is a viable and long-term energy option.
Building on the youths’ interest in solar energy, Iswaran urged the Youth in Dialogue audience to consider a career in the energy industry. The energy industry is diverse, with many areas such as clean energy, generation, transmission & distribution, and energy efficiency – all of which require people with different skills, he said.
People with passion and interest to join the industry can expect a rewarding career. In response to a survey, most youths are keen to join either the clean energy or power sector, citing the ability to upgrade skills through career and good pay as reasons. For those interested, the SkillsFuture initiative is a way for youths to access energy technology. Companies and organisations can work with educational institutions to share their industry knowledge with, and create opportunities for youths to learn more about a career in energy.
Following the dialogue, Iswaran presented the Energy-Industry Scholarship to three recipients: Fazlie Bin Mohamad Ramdam, 18, from Ngee Ann Polytechnic who received the scholarship from Senoko Energy; Benjamin Chang and Goh Sian Ming, both 23, from Nanyang Technological University who received their scholarships from Singapore Power.