Welcome Remarks by Minister Chan Chun Sing at the 2nd Singapore-International Energy Agency Forum

31 Oct 2018

Your Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good morning. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you at the 2nd edition of the Singapore-IEA Forum.

2. Singapore became an Association Country to the IEA in 2016. We are one of seven IEA Association Countries. As a sign of our close collaboration, we have developed and led a range of initiatives on topics such as energy investments and digitalisation. These initiatives, including capacity building and knowledge sharing, have benefitted the region.

3. The Singapore-IEA Forum is one key initiative under our Association. It serves as a platform for global energy leaders to discuss the future of energy systems and markets. We are pleased to host the second edition of the Forum, following the success of our inaugural forum on Energy Investments last year. This year, the Forum will discuss digitalisation and its impact on the energy sector.

Digitalisation: Transforming the Energy Supply Chain

4. Digitalisation is the key to new architectures of interconnected energy systems. It is an area of immense potential for innovation and efficiency gains, and it is changing how we look at the different dimensions of our energy story – Production, Management and Consumption.

5. Together with data analytics1, digitalisation can provide new solutions to reduce power system costs in at least four ways: first, by reducing operations and maintenance costs; second, improving power plant and network efficiency; third, reducing unplanned outages and downtime; and lastly, extending the operational lifetime of assets. These solutions could include predictive maintenance for plants and networks, remote monitoring of equipment, and improvements in project design.

6. Besides cost savings, these new solutions will lead to greater efficiency in energy production, while enhancing the reliability of our energy supply. According to the IEA Digitalisation and Energy Report 2017, digitalisation in the power sector has the potential to save around 80 billion US dollars per year. This translates to roughly 5% of global power generation costs annually.

Production

7. Let me share one instance where digitalisation can lead to more efficient generation. In the European Union, there is a lack of flexibility in the power system to accommodate a significant share of renewables. This has resulted in periodic curtailment of solar and wind power, when the total power generated across the system exceeds demand. However, according to the IEA’s projections, increased energy storage and digitally-enabled demand response could reduce this curtailment from 7% of wind and solar generation to 1.6% by 2040. This means that the European Union can use its power generation capacity in a smarter and more efficient way.

8. Within ASEAN, we are also exploring ways in which digitalisation and new technologies can help us optimise the production of energy from distributed or intermittent renewable energy sources. This is important as the IEA has projected ASEAN’s energy demand to grow by another two-thirds by 2040. In addition, remote monitoring of equipment and reducing maintenance costs could help enhance affordable energy access for smaller, off-grid communities in archipelagic ASEAN.

Management & Consumption: Singapore’s Efforts at Digitalisation

9. Singapore has also stepped up our efforts in this area. I earlier mentioned demand response in the context of energy production. However, demand response can also be used to better manage our energy consumption. Singapore is studying the merits of rolling out advanced meters nationwide, to allow consumers to monitor and understand their usage patterns on a daily basis, and ultimately enhance their energy savings by changing their consumption behaviour. At the systems level, the advanced meters will facilitate the use of data-enabled energy management systems to smoothen the demand peaks and troughs in a daily cycle, and minimise the wastage of energy.

10. We are also investing in R&D to catalyse the digitalisation of our power system. For example, we are looking into the development of predictive maintenance and real-time condition monitoring of our underground electricity and gas network, using sensors. We are also using data analytics to optimise the performance and efficiency of power plants. Through these initiatives, we can continue to ensure the fundamental reliability of our power grids.

11. We are committed to becoming a choice destination for collaborations and test-bedding of new energy solutions and innovations. Through these enabling policies, we have supported our energy stakeholders for them to remain at the forefront of technology developments. This will ensure that we are well-positioned to build the energy systems of the future.

Cooperation with the IEA

12. At the same time, we are forging international partnerships to share best practices and enhance our capabilities. It is critical for us to work together with like-minded partners to ensure greater security and reliability of our energy infrastructure, while tapping into the benefits of digitalisation to meet our growing energy demand.

13. On this note, Singapore and the IEA co-hosted the first ASEAN-IEA Digitalisation and Energy Workshop in Singapore in June this year, which was also supported by the United States Department of State. There was strong interest across ASEAN on the impact of digitalisation on energy systems, and we welcomed 100 participants from ASEAN energy ministries, government agencies, state-owned utilities, and businesses. Given the keen interest, we will continue to feature digitalisation as one of the key areas of our Singapore-IEA cooperation.

14. In order to enhance regional capability to attract investments and develop sustainable financing models, Singapore, as Chair of ASEAN this year, has also worked closely with the IEA to develop the Capacity Building Roadmap on Energy Investments and Financing. This Roadmap was endorsed at the 36th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting earlier this week.

15. As the first activity of this Roadmap, Singapore and the IEA jointly organised the Singapore-IEA Clean Energy Investment and Financing Training Programme in August this year. The programme was well received with over 100 participants from 16 countries.

16. We are pleased to announce that we will be co-hosting a training programme on risk management for energy investments as a follow-up next year. As the region’s energy demand grows in tandem with economic growth, we look forward to working even more closely together with like-minded stakeholders on this important topic of energy investments.

17. Beyond capacity building, our joint initiatives with the IEA has also enabled the industry to forge stronger business networks and enhance collaboration opportunities. This has benefitted both regional and Singapore-based companies, and allowed them to profile their expertise to the international energy community.

Conclusion

18. The Forum today brings together a strong line-up of leaders and industry captains to share perspectives on how the public and private sectors are pursuing digitalisation in the energy sector, discuss efforts to manage the associated risks and challenges, and to explore potential collaborations. The IEA will also be sharing trends in the innovation and evolution of energy systems.

19. The outcomes of our discussions today will support the strengthening of our energy systems as we navigate the changing energy landscape. We hope this would contribute towards building greater energy resilience as we progress towards a smart energy future.

20. I wish you all a fruitful discussion. Thank you.
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