By Chiu Mei Ji
The 10th edition of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) gathered more than 11,000 delegates from over 70 countries to explore the next steps towards a sustainable energy future.
“Major changes are happening in the energy landscape. These require a rethink of how we approach energy,” said Teo Chee Hean, Singapore’s Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for National Security, at the Singapore Energy Lecture. “It is in our collective interest to accelerate this energy transition into a low-carbon world.”
“Singapore may be physically limited by our small size and the lack of resources, but this has provided the impetus for us to find innovative solutions to overcome the challenges that we face,” DPM Teo added.
In her SIEW opening remarks, Sim Ann, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry, said Singapore “will continue to position ourselves as a hub for innovations and business opportunities, deepen our collaboration with global energy players, as well as empower and inspire our consumers to better manage their energy use.”
Rethinking Energy; Navigating Change
To meet increased energy demand and emission targets, more needs to be done to rethink our energy approach. Liu Zhenya, Chairman of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation (GEIDCO), argued that more interconnections would allow energy-rich countries to transmit their excess electricity to energy-poor countries, resulting in effective use and economic benefits.
Digitalisation will be key to integrating renewable energy into the grid. “Without this, we cannot handle the complexities of fluctuation and increased decentralisation,” said Thomas Zimmermann, CEO, Digital Grid Business Unit, Energy Management Division, Siemens.
Gas was mentioned as a way of easing the energy transition due to its reliability and affordability following the emergence of US LNG. For gas to meet future energy demand, Yuji Kakimi, President of JERA, said sustained decline in upstream investment must be addressed.
Forward Looking Policies and Investments
The importance of clear policies and significant investments was highlighted, with a significant role for the private sector. Adnan Amin, Director-General of International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said “the bulk of investment and innovation is going to come from the private sector.”
The inaugural Singapore-International Energy Agency (IEA) Forum discussed energy infrastructure investments in Asia. “The ability to channel capital to bankable projects, and to promote enabling environments for new business models today will be crucial in helping to unlock the economic potential of Asia,” said Dr Koh Poh Koon, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry, who opened the Forum.
Sustainable Solutions for Southeast Asia
Sustainable solutions will become increasingly important in Southeast Asia. Together with China and India, the region will account for 60 percent of global energy demand growth, according to IEA’s Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2017, which was launched at the Forum.
Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director, IEA, said the costs of meeting Southeast Asia’s energy demand growth could be reduced from US$300 billion to US$120 billion if the region pursues renewables and energy efficiency.
Declining costs of renewables could help address electricity access in Southeast Asia through decentralised off-grid and micro-grid solutions.
The Philippines is already exploring distributed energy systems and interconnections between its islands, said Alfonso Cusi, Secretary of Energy for the Philippines
Tun Lean, Under Secretary of State, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Cambodia, added that Cambodia is planning for 70 percent of its energy demand to be met through renewable initiatives and investments.
SIEW’s 10th edition also saw the launch of the commemorative book, “Rethinking Energy; Navigating Change: 10 Global Insights” which features the views of 10 global leaders on our collective energy future.
The 11th edition of SIEW will return from 29 October to 2 November 2018. Visit www.siew.sg for updates.