SIEW Opening Remarks By Ms Sim Ann, Senior Minister Of State For Trade And Industry, At The Singapore International Energy Week 2017

23 Oct 2017

Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Welcome

   Good morning and a very warm welcome to the 10th edition of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW). The theme for SIEW 2017 is “Rethinking Energy; Navigating Change”. As we celebrate this milestone for SIEW, it is timely to reflect on our energy journey over the last decade since SIEW began, and discuss how we can jointly navigate the opportunities and challenges in the decade ahead.

Rethinking Energy; Navigating Change

2. The present energy landscape has been shaped by several trends in the past decade.

3. Firstly, oil prices have become more volatile. In 2008 when SIEW was first held, oil prices peaked at around 150 US dollars per barrel. However, oil prices have declined sharply in recent years due to an oversupplied oil and gas market, and only recently started to recover.

4. At the same time, the shale gas boom revolutionised global gas markets and brought about the ‘golden age of gas’, with global Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) volumes growing more than 50 percent from 2008 to 2016.[1]

5. In recent years, the drive towards renewable energy has also gained momentum, especially after the 2011 Fukushima Accident and the entry into force of the Paris Agreement in 2016. In particular, solar and wind energy capacity have grown rapidly. For instance, global cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) installed capacity grew more than seven-fold from 2010 to 2016, from 40 gigawatt (GW) in 2010 to nearly 300GW in 2016.[2]

6. Today, greater digitalisation and disruptive technologies are further changing the way we generate, distribute, store and use energy.

7. Against this dynamic and fast-changing energy landscape, the Singapore Energy Market Authority (EMA) has introduced a number of initiatives to improve the economic competitiveness, security and environmental sustainability of Singapore’s energy supply. Let me list a few examples here.

8. First, to diversify our energy supplies, we built an LNG terminal on Jurong Island that began operations in May 2013. This has enabled us to source for our natural gas supplies globally, in addition to our Piped Natural Gas (PNG) supply from Indonesia and Malaysia.

9. Second, to facilitate greater adoption of renewable energy, we have been working to facilitate the adoption of solar PVs, which is currently the most viable renewable energy option for Singapore. Our efforts have contributed to a sharp growth in solar adoption, to reach around 140 megawatt peak (MWp) in the third quarter of 2017, up from just 0.4 MWp in 2008.

10. Third, to build up a strong talent pipeline for the power sector and help our workers develop the deep skills for future industry needs, EMA has also been actively working with various stakeholders, such as industry, the Union for Power and Gas Employees, and educational institutions, on training courses, scholarships, SkillsFuture Study Awards for the Power Sector, and various outreach programmes.

11. Going forward, the global and Asian energy landscape is likely to remain dynamic and filled with uncertainties. What remains clear is our long-term goal – to build on our achievements, and develop an energy system that is even more secure, competitive and sustainable. With that end outcome in mind, we should be nimble and ready to adapt to changes and new trends. Today, I will highlight some examples of how Singapore will continue to do this when making policies, harnessing technologies, and fostering a pro-innovation regulatory environment.

Open Electricity Market, The Power to Choose

12. One of our key energy policy thrusts is the promotion of a competitive market. Since 2001, we have progressively liberalised our retail electricity market to encourage greater efficiency and innovation. Our goal is to provide the remaining 1.4 million accounts, mainly households, with the power to choose an electricity price plan from different retailers that best meets their needs. We have called this the “Open Electricity Market” campaign, and as announced by the Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) Mr S Iswaran last Friday, we will implement a soft launch for consumers in Jurong in April 2018 to gather feedback and fine-tune processes before extending it to the rest of Singapore in the second half of 2018.

Moving Towards Smart Metering for Multi-Utilities

13. Aside from promoting competitive markets, we are also investing in technologies to meet our energy objectives, particularly through the use of info-communications technology (ICT) to build a smarter grid. This is in line with Singapore’s goal to be a Smart Nation. Let me highlight three initiatives through which we are doing this.

14. First, we are working towards enabling integrated remote metering of electricity, water and town gas meters to make timely information on utilities consumption available. I am pleased to share that EMA, PUB and SP Group have selected four companies, to further develop and test-bed their technical solutions to remotely read smart meters. A six-month trial will then be conducted in the second half of 2018 to test these smart metering solutions in real-life environments.

15. As part of this effort, SP Group will develop a mobile application to provide consumers with information on their consumption for all three utilities in a simple and engaging manner. This will enable consumers to better manage their consumption and expenditure, while doing their part for the environment.

Building Stronger Solar Forecasting Capabilities and Test-bedding Energy Storage Systems

16. Second, EMA continues to explore technological solutions that would better integrate intermittent generation sources, such as solar, into our grid, to reduce our carbon footprint.

17. EMA will be working with the Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) and a consortium led by the National University of Singapore (NUS), to develop a solar forecasting model customised to Singapore’s tropical weather conditions. This will help better manage fluctuations in solar output to ensure grid reliability.

18. EMA and SP Group also jointly launched a Request for Proposal (RFP) for an Energy Storage System, or ESS, test-bed last year to evaluate the performance of different ESS technologies under Singapore’s hot, humid and highly urbanised operating environment. The RFP drew competitive bids from more than 10 international consortiums from the US, Europe and Asia. Today, I am pleased to congratulate two consortiums led by our local companies – Red Dot Power and CW Group – who have won the RFP. Together, they will put in place 4.4 megawatt-hour of grid-storage solutions, in two substation locations. Insights gained from the test-bed would help develop standards and policies to facilitate the deployment of large scale ESS in Singapore.

Building Singapore’s First Experimental Urban Micro-Grid

19. Third, the Singapore Institute of Technology, or SIT, and SP Group will be signing a Memorandum of Understanding today to build Singapore’s first experimental urban micro-grid, which will be housed in SIT’s future campus at Punggol Digital District.

20. The micro-grid, which can be connected and disconnected from the grid as required, will be a national infrastructure that is open to the research community and businesses in Singapore. This platform will allow new technologies and solutions to be tested in a controlled environment, while providing power engineering students the opportunity to work with industry partners and energy start-ups.

Government Continues to Support Solar Adoption

21. As we invest in technological innovations, our regulatory environment will also need to keep pace with changes and be forward-looking to facilitate the deployment of new technologies and business models. To that end, EMA continues to proactively streamline its regulations to ensure that they support business innovation.

22. For instance, earlier this year, EMA streamlined the registration process for consumers generating solar electricity for self-consumption. Businesses such as Changi Airport Group and SATS Limited will benefit from this new scheme.

23. EMA will also be enhancing the existing Central Intermediary Scheme, to make it easier for solar adopters to receive payments for selling excess solar energy into the power grid. The final determination paper with more details on the enhanced scheme will be released today.

Facilitate Industry to Co-create the Future of Energy

24. While reviewing and updating rules are important, they take time and sometimes it is more useful for businesses to have the chance to experiment quickly with promising innovations. With that in mind, EMA launched a consultation paper in June this year on a regulatory sandbox framework for the electricity and gas sectors. The framework allows regulations to be relaxed, within defined parameters, in a sandbox that can accommodate new products and services for testing. It will also allow EMA to assess the impact of new products and services before deciding on the wider regulatory treatment.

25. Based on the useful feedback received, EMA has finalised the framework and it will be implemented from today. We welcome businesses to use the framework and co-create the future of energy with us. There is already some interest from the industry with potential projects during the consultation phase, and we look forward to developing them into trials within the regulatory sandbox framework.

Singapore-IEA Regional Training Hub and Launch of Training Activity for 2018

26. Looking beyond our borders, international cooperation remains key to meeting challenges that are global in nature – from enhancing security to combating climate change. Singapore has been active in fostering greater cooperation among countries and international organisations.

27. For instance, Minister Iswaran announced at SIEW last year that Singapore has become an Association Country to the International Energy Agency, or IEA. A key initiative from our collaboration is the Singapore-IEA Forum, which will be held for the first time tomorrow. The focus is on energy investments in Asia, a topic of keen interest to the region. To set the stage for the discussions, the IEA will be launching the 3rd edition of the IEA Southeast Asia Energy Outlook.

28. Looking ahead to 2018, I am pleased to announce that Singapore will work with the IEA to host a training programme focused on energy investments, as a follow-up to the discussions at the Singapore-IEA Forum.

Singapore’s Chairmanship of the 36th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) in 2018

29. Next year, Singapore will chair the 36th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM), which will be held together with SIEW in October 2018.

30. This will give ASEAN more opportunities to strengthen its engagement with global energy players, to work together to provide energy solutions for the region.

31. I am happy to note that there has been good progress under the ASEAN Plan of Action on Energy Cooperation (APAEC), and Singapore looks forward to working with our ASEAN neighbours, Dialogue Partners and International Organisations on further initiatives to foster a resilient and sustainable energy community for the region.

Singapore Energy Award 2017 Winners

32. All the efforts described so far would not have been possible without the dedication and hard work of our people and organisations in the energy sector, which have contributed to making our energy system better over the years. The Singapore Energy Award, or SEA, recognises individuals and organisations across the public and private sectors for their significant contributions to Singapore’s energy sector, in areas such as leadership, innovation and capabilities development.

33. This year, I am pleased to announce two winners – Mr Tang Kin Fei, former Group President and CEO of Sembcorp Industries, and Professor Ng Wun Jern, a professor in Nanyang Technological University’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering and former Executive Director at the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute, or NEWRI. Both individuals stood out for their strong and sustained contributions to the local energy sector and wider society.

34. Mr Tang will be conferred the Singapore Energy Award for Contributions to the Energy Sector, for his visionary and exemplary leadership of Sembcorp’s power and utilities business, as well as having the foresight to push for new technologies and developing manpower for the local energy sector. Under Mr Tang’s leadership, Sembcorp has contributed to the larger sector by opening up their co-gen plant for learning journeys for students, and sponsored an energy competition that has reached more than 400 students over the last 3 years. They have also opened up their facilities for R&D and test-bedding.

35. Professor Ng will receive the Singapore Energy Award for Innovation, for his pioneering efforts in the waste-to-energy sphere, as well as the pivotal role he played in translating research into real applications during his 10-year tenure as NEWRI’s Executive Director.

36. Once again, congratulations to the award winners.

Conclusion

37. In conclusion, building a competitive, secure, and sustainable energy supply remains a key priority for Singapore. To this end, we 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. We must also continue to embrace new technologies, encourage innovation and catalyse capability building.

38. I hope that throughout this week, you will benefit from the active exchanges of views with various energy professionals, policy-makers and industry players, learn from each other’s experiences and generate solutions to forge a sustainable energy future.

39. Thank you once again for joining us at SIEW. I wish you a fruitful week ahead.


[1] Global LNG volumes grew from around 170 million tonnes in 2008 to 258 million tonnes in 2016. (Source: 2017 World LNG Report, International Gas Union (IGU))

[2] Source: Rethinking Energy 2017: Accelerating the Global Energy Transformation, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)​

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