1. Can you tell us more about why and how Energy Carta was formed?
Energy Carta was founded in 2008 when my co-founders and I were in our final year of studies at the National University of Singapore. We had a common interest in the sustainable energy and clean technology sector. As there was no such student organisation in Singapore, we decided to form Energy Carta to raise awareness about the opportunities within the industry.
We aspire to "charter our energy future", and to achieve that, Energy Carta has been built in an entrepreneurial fashion, where innovation and sustainability form integral parts of our DNA. We position ourselves as a platform connecting students with industry, and have explored a variety of channels such as conferences, games, business case competitions and site visits, to experiment and determine what best achieves our mission. While the activities differ, we have sought to brand them under the Asian Youth Energy Summit (AYES) to create continuity. AYES will see its 5th edition in 2014.
2. How do you see the level of energy awareness and understanding amongst Singaporeans, in particular, youths?
My personal view is that younger Singaporeans generally take "energy" for granted because it is commonly related to electricity which is readily available in Singapore. Further, because of our limited land, we have no visible energy projects like wind turbines or solar farms to generate excitement and interest. As such, we have observed that youths who are interested are often students who are exposed to it in their field of study, and even then, the knowledge is often limited to their textbooks and less about actual trends in the industry.
3. Energy Carta featured an interesting energy game called "Changing the Game" at the recent Energy Forum organised by EMA. Tell us more about the game and your plans to promote it further?
"Changing the Game" is an exciting and simple energy policy modelling game that provides players a chance to plan the energy future of a country, and enable them to understand how difficult it can get in the real world to make the switch to "green" energy.
Players are split into teams of four and each player represents a stakeholder - Government, NGO, Citizen and Industry. To aid visualisation, LEGO towers are used to represent energy demand and supply of various sectors. Together, the team implements strategies to shape the energy future of a country, and ultimately competes to see who can implement the most cost efficient and most effective carbon emission reducing strategies. Going forward, we will be showcasing "Changing the Game" at SIEW 2013 and also at AYES 2014.
4. How can the government, private sector and organisations like Energy Carta work together to increase outreach on energy issues among Singaporeans, especially youths?
Since Energy Carta's founding, we have continually received support from agencies like EMA. This support has increased in recent years with EMA strengthening industry development, and placing a strong focus on human capital development. Our recent collaboration with EMA at the Energy Forum is testament to how we can work together with energy industry stakeholders to reach out to youths. We look forward to further strengthening such partnerships.
On the other hand, there is relatively less engagement between youths and the private sector. I believe companies in the energy sector can do more to promote themselves and the industry amongst tertiary students. They can potentially work with Energy Carta to come out with more creative outreach programs. Companies that embark on this earlier can then differentiate themselves from other employers and better attract top talent.