Opening Remarks by Mr Ngiam Shih Chun, Chief Executive, EMA, at the Singapore-International Energy Agency Forum 2021

27 Oct 2021

Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

1. Good afternoon. I would like to extend a warm welcome to all of you to the fourth edition of the Singapore-IEA Forum.

2. The Singapore-IEA Forum serves as an important platform for global energy leaders to discuss the future of energy systems and markets. This year, the Forum will feature the Southeast Asia launch of the IEA’s World Energy Outlook, and discuss the opportunities and challenges in accelerating clean energy transitions in the region.

3. Southeast Asia is one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. The ASEAN Centre for Energy projects that ASEAN’s regional GDP will triple to US$20 trillion by 2040, with an annual average growth of 5% even after accounting for the impact of COVID-19. Energy demand is expected to more than double by 2040, particularly due to the expected rise in electricity consumption in the buildings, transport and industry sectors amidst rising income levels and the push for electrification.

4. The growth in energy demand needs to be met in a sustainable manner and regional collaborations are key to achieve this. Last year, ASEAN endorsed the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase II: 2021 – 2025. As Chair of the Drafting Committee, Singapore worked closely with ASEAN Member States to set out an ambitious five-year plan for the region’s energy collaborations. This includes enhancing the regional energy intensity reduction target to 32% by 2025, based on 2005 levels, and introducing a target of 35% renewable energy share in installed power capacity by 2025. To achieve these collective goals, ASEAN will have to continue to explore pathways to drive investments towards low-carbon energy technologies.

5. Decarbonising our energy systems will not be easy. Southeast Asia is still grappling with the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. That said, as a region we have to continue to pivot towards a low carbon energy transition. To this end, the IEA’s Sustainable Recovery Plan will serve as a useful reference to policymakers here and in the region. A successful energy transition, with the transformation of industries and the growth in green innovation, will give rise to new business opportunities and new jobs, in areas such as solar, energy storage, smart grids and cross-border electricity trade. The IEA estimates that the world has the potential to create 9 million energy-related jobs a year over the next three years. I look forward to the IEA’s insights on how ASEAN can realise such economic opportunities.

Singapore Energy Transition

6. Earlier this week, Singapore announced the Singapore energy transition plan. The plan is part of Singapore’s broader sustainability agenda in the Singapore Green Plan 2030. It sets out how Singapore will work together with different stakeholders to transition towards a low carbon future. We will do more to scale up renewable energy sources like solar energy and tap into regional power grids. Meanwhile, natural gas will continue to be a key fuel source during this period. We will also continue to explore low-carbon solutions such as hydrogen as these could play an important role in the longer term.

7. Singapore is now one of the most solar-dense cities in the world. This is a result of our extensive efforts to ramp up solar deployment, with a target to achieve at least 2GWp by 2030. And we will continue to do more by investing in innovative ways of harnessing this renewable energy source as well as leveraging energy storage solutions to mitigate solar intermittency. We are driving a research agenda to develop and test-bed promising low-carbon energy technologies. We will be awarding S$55 million to research projects that are focused on improving the technical and economic feasibility of low-carbon technologies. We have increased the funding amount, up from the $49 million set aside last year, in response to the many good proposals that we had received. We are also working with the industry to explore trials on blending of hydrogen with natural gas at existing power plants. We are studying our geothermal resource potential given the advancements in geothermal technology.

Cooperation with the IEA

8. International organisations such as the IEA play a vital role in catalysing change and supporting the region’s low carbon energy transition. This year, ASEAN and the IEA celebrates the tenth anniversary of our strong collaborations. As the country coordinator for ASEAN(Singapore?)-IEA energy cooperation, Singapore has engaged the IEA actively to conduct capacity building activities for the region on a wide range of issues from energy security to clean energy.

9. As an Association Country to the IEA, Singapore’s cooperation with the IEA has also strengthened over the years. The inaugural Singapore-IEA Global Ministerial Conference on System Integration of Renewables held at SIEW 2020 marked a significant milestone in our cooperation. This year, Singapore and the IEA co-organised the ASEAN-IEA Workshop on Net Zero Roadmap Report and Applications to ASEAN. The workshop identified the opportunities and challenges in ASEAN’s energy transitions amidst the strong global momentum to achieve net zero emissions. Today’s discussion will provide further insights on the clean energy transitions in Southeast Asia.

Conclusion

10. With a strong line-up of leaders and industry captains, the outcomes of our discussions today will help to identify areas of cooperation and contribute towards ensuring greater sustainability and resilience in the region. I wish everyone a fruitful discussion ahead.

11. Thank you.

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