SIEW 2021 - Key Takeaways and Insights

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One week, one location, one platform

More than 30 Ministers and 480 speakers from Singapore and overseas—both in person and virtually—gathered for SIEW 2021 to deliberate on the challenges, opportunities and strategies needed to advance Asia's energy transition. The week-long event, which took place from 25-29 October, was viewed by over 4,000 onsite delegates and 20,000 online viewers from over 80 countries.

Twenty years of keeping the lights on and gas flowing

This year also saw SIEW’s organiser, the Energy Market Authority (EMA), commemorate its 20 years as Singapore's regulatory steward for the energy sector. EMA marked this with the 20th Anniversary Book launch which chronicled Singapore's Energy Story, brought to life with augmented reality features.

Pathways to Singapore's energy transition

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Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong, in his Singapore Energy Lecture, outlined the pathways for the country's transition towards a more sustainable future. Part of this transformation is to significantly reduce the power sector’s emissions while ensuring Singapore’s energy system remains secure, reliable and sustainable.

Among the announcements he made are plans to import up to 4 gigawatts (GW) of low carbon electricity by 2035—comprising around 30% of Singapore’s electricity supply by 2035. The country will also invest in low carbon energy solutions, having awarded S$55 million to 12 research projects. Jurong Island will be transformed into a test-bed for sustainable technology adoption. And while Singapore is on track to achieving its solar target of at least 2 gigawatt-peak (GWp) by 2030, it was later announced that the country is also exploring the feasibility of adding geothermal energy to the fuel mix.

Disruptive innovation to capture value

This year's SIEW Energy Insights cast a spotlight on six innovative Singapore energy start-ups and their solutions for a lower carbon future. Among them were RushOwl which uses an artificial intelligence-driven platform to create the next-gen mass transit network online, and SunGreenH2 which plans to deploy nanotechnology to significantly improve hydrogen production.

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Industry experts also shared an in-depth look into trending topics within various sustainability fields. These included:

  • Leveraging the latest digitalisation and analytics to build a digital twin for Singapore’s power grid. SP Group, the Nanyang Technological University and A*STAR's Institute of High Performance Computing shared that the Grid Digital Twin will be able to simulate future operating scenarios and anticipate the future performance of the electricity network.
  • Bringing providers and consumers closer together by leading the buying and selling of solar energy one step closer to reality. Here, Senoko Energy shared insights from its peer-to-peer energy trading pilot, SolarShare.
  • Unlocking value from energy storage such as the influx of electric vehicle (EV) batteries. The session, led by A*STAR and the Singapore Battery Consortium, cited commercial possibilities such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technology which draws unused power from EVs into the smart grid, second-life use of EV batteries, and recycling.

International Partnerships and Collaboration

At the SIEW Opening Keynote Address, industry luminaries shared their plans for advancing Asia's energy transition:

  • Indonesia's H.E. Arifin Tasrif, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Republic of Indonesia, spoke about his country's plans to develop a super grid that will electrify and supply renewable energy to its islands. Indonesia will help support its regional neighbours in meeting their decarbonisation objectives through the export and import of clean renewable energy.
  • Joe Blommaert, President, Low Carbon Solutions, ExxonMobil, talked about the development of a CO2 hub in Houston, Texas, in the US. He shared that the company is exploring a similar concept in Asia where the CO2 from industrial facilities could be connected and stored underground in regional sites.

Cross-border collaborations power on, with big opportunities ahead

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Dr Tan See Leng, Minister for Manpower & Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Singapore, at the Singapore Energy Summit, noted that across Asia, countries such as China have already pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. He added that other regional economies have also set emissions reduction targets and renewable energy goals.

H.E. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), cited the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP) as a positive step towards multilateral power trading. The first 100MW of electrons from the project are expected to flow in 2022.

H.E. Dr Sinava Souphanouvong, Deputy Minister for Energy and Mines, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, said ASEAN nations need to work together to share knowledge and tap on complementary resources towards a clean energy future.

Significant investments needed to fast-track transformation

Further discussions took place at the Singapore-IRENA High-Level Forum. This included mobilising green financing for the region for an inclusive and just energy transition leveraging technology as the necessary lever to ensure energy availability and access to the region.

H.E. Dato Lim Jock Hoi, Secretary-General of ASEAN, made two observations. He said that financing cost in the developing world is seven times more expensive than elsewhere, and that Asia will need about US$367 billion to achieve its 2035 renewable energy share. He added that this is only a fraction of the region’s requirements in the next five years.

Celebrating 10 years of ASEAN-IEA collaboration

The Singapore-International Energy Agency (IEA) Forum not only explored how the energy systems could develop in the coming decades, but also recognised 10 years of close ASEAN-IEA collaborations in driving the green agenda.

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YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mat Suny bin Haji Md Hussein, Minister of Energy, Brunei Darussalam, also noted the importance of taking reference from documents such as IEA's World Energy Outlook 2021. He said this helps countries to shape their policies and strategies in achieving a sustainable energy future.

H.E. Takiyuddin bin Hassan, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Malaysia, said the current energy crisis—underpinned by soaring fuel prices in Europe and Asia—presents an opportunity for countries to accelerate climate agendas. He added that implementation of low carbon initiatives can help generate new investment opportunities and create jobs in the green energy sector. This would aid in the post-pandemic economic recovery and boost economic growth in the long term.

Singapore hosts meeting of energy regulators

This year, Singapore also organised the biennial Asia Pacific Energy Regulatory (APER) Forum on the sidelines of SIEW 2021. Energy regulators from 13 Asia-Pacific countries came together to discuss regulatory challenges against the backdrop of higher volatility in the electricity markets and a global energy crunch.

Key areas covered during the two-day Forum included measures to ensure and secure energy supply, as well as how to leverage technologies to decarbonise energy systems. Participants also discussed regulatory best practices to enhance the integration of renewables. They also shared strategies to strengthen grid stability and resilience.

Industry discussions to advance Asia’s energy transition

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The SIEW Thinktank Roundtables saw 12 international organisations engage industry experts in discussing emerging trends and paradigm shifts needed to advance Asia's energy transition. Topics included trade opportunities arising from decarbonising ASEAN to strategies for sustainable cross-border power system integration.

Building Singapore's human capital for the energy transition

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Low Yen Ling, Minister of State, Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth & Ministry of Trade and Industry, in her Opening Remarks at Youth@SIEW called on youths to push boundaries in transforming Singapore’s energy future. She noted that the energy ecosystem will create new job opportunities in the clean energy sector, including expanded roles in areas such as solar, energy storage systems, smart grids and hydrogen.

Ms Low also presented awards to three engineering students under the Energy-Industry Scholarship sponsored by SP Group. The Energy-Industry Scholarship is the first dedicated scholarship to develop and nurture talent for the power sector.

Strategic partner conferences

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Making its inaugural staging at SIEW 2021 was the Future of the Grid. In his Opening Remarks, EMA Chairman Richard Lim said transitioning to an electrified economy efficiently, economically and securely would be essential. He addressed the need to balance the transformation with the three pillars of the energy trilemma—economic growth, environmental sustainability and energy security.

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At the Asia Clean Energy Summit, Dr Tan announced the launch of a new national standard to enhance the credibility and accountability of market instruments such as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). He said these can be used to make renewable energy claims in the country and will reinforce Singapore's commitment to the clean energy transition.

Ms Low also spoke at the Asia LNG & Hydrogen Gas Markets about the need for continued investments in LNG infrastructure despite the impact of the tight gas market on electricity markets and prices. She reminded that natural gas still plays a pivotal role in enabling the global low carbon transformation.

The Week also saw the Asian Downstream Summit & Asian Refinery Technology Conference which brought together industry participants for discussions on creating a sustainable refinery and petrochemical industry of the future. As part of the Conference's agenda, topics ranged from how operators can leverage off technologies to modernise and optimise their existing infrastructure to how the trend towards new "cleaner" energy sources will impact the traditional oil and gas industry.

SIEW 2022 will be held on 24-28 October 2022! Save the date and sign up for updates on SIEW.

         

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