Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Singapore Polytechnic Regional Industry Networking Conference 2022
Ms Georgina Phua, Deputy Principal of Singapore Polytechnic
Mr Ngiam Shih Chun, Chief Executive, Energy Market Authority
Mr Koh Chiap Khiong, CEO, Sembcorp Singapore and Southeast Asia
Mr Johnson Luu, Marketing Director, Asia Pacific, CHINT Global
1 Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to join you at the Regional Industry Networking Conference 2022. The theme for today’s conference, “Energy Sustainability and Innovation”, is certainly salient, against the backdrop of the challenges that we see today in the energy ecosystem.
The Challenge of Climate Change and the Energy Landscape
2 The climate crisis is the existential threat of our generation. Extreme weather events have become increasingly common, with Hurricane Ian and the deadly floods in Pakistan just the latest examples. As a low-lying island state, Singapore is especially vulnerable to sea level rise. With limited land and manpower, we also face challenges in our climate mitigation options.
3 Yet, within crisis lie seeds of opportunity. Globally, the energy landscape is undergoing a major shift towards renewable energy, with the push for decarbonisation and phasing out of fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that global renewable electricity capacity will rise more than 60 per cent from 2020 levels . Admittedly, given geopolitical concerns, we are seeing a short-term retreat back to fossil fuels. But the long-term trajectory remains. We are moving away from fossil fuels to renewables.
4 Unfortunately, within Singapore, we have limited renewable energy options. Solar energy remains the most viable and promising energy source for electricity generation. However, several factors still affect its commercial viability and national scalability. These include limited land and rooftop space for deployment, cloud cover, and the overall efficiency of solar technology. Despite these constraints, the Government is committed to working closely with stakeholders to deploy renewable energy at scale.
Singapore Green Plan 2030: “Energy Reset” Pillar
5 The Singapore Green Plan 2030 is a whole-of-nation movement to advance Singapore’s agenda on sustainable development. One of the five pillars of the Green Plan is “Energy Reset”. Under this pillar, the Government aims to use cleaner energy sources across all sectors. For solar energy, we have set the goal of increasing solar energy deployment by three times to at least two gigawatt-peak by 2030. This is equivalent to powering around 350,000 households a year.
6 Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong also announced plans to develop hydrogen as a major decarbonisation pathway to support Singapore’s ambition to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
7 Singapore’s transition towards a low-carbon future will require the collective efforts of all stakeholders. Last month, my ministry launched public engagements for Environmental Sustainability under Forward Singapore’s Steward Pillar. This exercise invites businesses, communities and individuals to share your views on how we can work together to keep Singapore green, liveable and climate resilient for future generations.
8 One way that we can jointly show our commitment to make Singapore a green, liveable, and climate-resilient nation is by making the Green Nation Pledge. I encourage everyone here to think about how you can make a difference in your workplace, community, and home, and take action by being a contributor, advocate, or champion for environmental sustainability.
SP-Sembcorp and SP-CHINT Collaborations
9 Partnership will be critical for progress to be made under the Green Plan. That is why I am especially encouraged about the collaborations announced this afternoon, which bring SP and two companies together in the spirit of innovation. The SP-Sembcorp Solar Photovoltaics , or “PV”, Research Laboratory provides a platform to find solutions to improve the conversion of light into electricity. The Solar PV Pilot Demonstration Recycling Line looks into reclaiming valuable materials from PV modules and demonstrating its commercial viability for industrial adoption. Such a recycling line will strengthen our capabilities in managing PV panel waste and contribute towards closing our resource loop for e-waste.
10 We will also be launching the Smart Electrical Power Training Laboratory. A collaboration between SP and CHINT , this will see cutting-edge equipment used at this laboratory by students and adult learners to better understand energy sustainability. Collectively, these efforts will help drive the greater use of clean energy.
Improving our energy efficiency
11 Enhancing energy efficiency is one of the key Sustainable Development Goals put forward by the United Nations. In Singapore, we adopt a whole-of-government approach to improve energy efficiency across various sectors through legislation, incentives, and education. We also recognise the need to have a sufficient pool of skilled manpower as a key enabler for improving energy efficiency. Hence, we have been building capabilities for the local energy efficiency ecosystem, such as through the Singapore Certified Energy Manager and Energy Efficiency Opportunities Assessor certification schemes.
12 I am heartened to learn that the collaborations between SP and its industry partners, Sembcorp and CHINT, will develop capability in the energy and power industries. These will complement existing efforts to grow the local energy efficiency ecosystem. Having the industry in close nexus with academia is key to shortening the transfer of knowledge between industry and academia and developing more industry-ready graduates.
13 As we forge ahead towards greater energy sustainability, let us not be constrained by our limited renewable energy options. We should leverage the exciting possibilities that new energy technologies could bring to accelerate our transition to a sustainable energy future.
14 I wish you all a fruitful session today. Thank you.