Welcome Remarks by Mr Chee Hong Tat, Chief Executive, Energy Market Authority at the EMA Distinguished Speaker Programme

25 Apr 2012

Dr Noeleen Heyzer, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Thank you for joining us at this morning’s lecture by Dr Noeleen Heyzer. Dr Heyzer will be speaking to us on “Rio+20: Implications for Energy Access and Sustainable Development in Asia.” This is a timely topic given that the United Nations has designated 2012 as the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All." In June, world leaders will gather in Rio de Janeiro at the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to explore ways that governments, the private sector and global institutions can promote sustainable development. The United Nations has also set out three intertwined energy objectives for the world to achieve by 2030 - (i) ensuring universal access to modern energy services, (ii) doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and (iii) doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

In Asia, energy and climate change are major preoccupations. As Asia’s economy continues to grow at an extraordinary pace, so has its demand for energy needs. According to the International Energy Agency, China, India and ASEAN together will constitute more than half the global energy demand growth by 2035. At the same time, some 675 million people in Asia still do not have access to electricity. Although Asia is blessed with rich fossil fuel resources, concerns on climate change have increased pressure on countries to lower their carbon footprint. It is therefore important for us to address sustainable energy models for future development. 

As a small island state, Singapore has to make the most out of our limited indigenous resources and do more with less. Energy efficiency features prominently in our efforts towards a sustainable energy future. For example, to improve average energy efficiency of household appliances imported into Singapore, we have imposed a minimum energy performance standard for suppliers to comply with. This is complemented by our approach of pricing energy right and avoiding fuel subsidies, to minimise energy wastage.

Supporting R&D and test-bedding in new energy technology are also key prongs of Singapore’s efforts to overcome our constraints and meet our long-term sustainable development needs. For example, the Government recently pumped S$195 million into the Energy Innovation Programme Office (EIPO) for energy R&D. Beyond R&D, Singapore is also offering itself as a “living lab” for companies to test-bed innovative energy solutions. One example is the Electric Vehicle (EV) test-bed launched in 2011, which aims to assess the costs, benefits and feasibility of adopting EVs in Singapore. EMA has also embarked on a test-bed at Pulau Ubin to assess how renewable energy can be deployed to provide reliable electricity supply to an off-grid community.  

Further information about Singapore’s efforts in these areas can be found in EMA’s publication, which you have received today. Entitled “Securing Our Energy Future,” it mirrors the theme of the Singapore International Energy Week or SIEW in 2011. I am happy to announce that the theme for this year’s SIEW is “Shaping a New Energy Landscape,” to reflect the need for government and industry leaders to re-examine the key issues facing the energy sector.

The Distinguished Speaker Programme or DSP builds on the success of SIEW in providing platforms for the industry’s best minds to debate and exchange ideas in the energy space, and to contribute to the global effort of securing a sustainable energy future for all. Today, we are privileged to have the opportunity to hear from Dr Noeleen Heyzer, who is one of the most influential global leaders on this issue. 

As Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific or ESCAP [pronounced S-CAP], Dr Heyzer is responsible for promoting regional cooperation to achieve inclusive and sustainable development in Asia Pacific. Under her able leadership, ESCAP has become a powerful platform for promoting stronger regional cooperation in areas such as green growth, food and energy security, and social development. Prior to her appointment at ESCAP, Dr Heyzer was the first Executive Director from the South to head the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). I am proud to add that Dr Heyzer is a fellow Singaporean.

It is now my pleasure to invite Dr Heyzer on stage to deliver her address. Dr Heyzer, please. 


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