Speech by Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng at the Singapore Energy Summit

Speech by Second Minister for Trade and Industry Dr Tan See Leng at the Singapore Energy Summit

1. Good morning Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen.

2. Energy Transition is an important global issue facing all of us today. I am delighted to join the Singapore Energy Summit to share Singapore’s perspectives on how we can transition to our Low Carbon Energy Future.

The Energy Transition in Asia

3. As the world economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is a growing need to relook at how we produce and consume energy. Asia, which is expected to drive most of the world’s energy demand, has already started its economic recovery trajectory. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has projected that gas markets in Asia would lead global recovery trends and account for more than 50% of the incremental global gas consumption post-2021 .

4. Across Asia, countries are stepping up efforts on energy transition. China has recently announced its commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. To do that, China plans to add another 800 to 1,000 Gigawatt of renewable energy capacity by 2030  . This marks a significant step in low-carbon developments in Asia, and the world. 

5. In India, the share of renewables in their energy generation mix increased from 17% to 24%, with coal-fired power dropping from 76% to 66% . There was also substantial progress on energy access, air quality and climate change goals.

6. In Southeast Asia, the ASEAN Centre of Energy has predicted that energy demand would increase by more than 70% between 2020 and 2040 . To ensure a sustainable energy future, the ten countries have agreed to lower energy intensity and grow the renewable portfolio in their energy mix. Within ASEAN, there are also extensive discussions to promote the use of natural gas through a well-coordinated and connected regional gas market.

Singapore’s Role

7. What is Singapore’s role? We have embarked on the Singapore Energy Story to strengthen energy resilience and sustainability for our energy future. All of us would have heard Minister Chan Chun Sing this morning and what our roadmap would be. We have achieved our 2020 solar deployment target of 350 Megawatt-peak by the first quarter of this year. Public agencies such as HDB, JTC and PUB are taking the lead to accelerate solar deployment on rooftops and reservoirs in the next few years, so that we can achieve the target that was set up for us this morning, of 1.5 gigawatt-peak by 2025. We will also continue to work with the private sector and research institutes to achieve 2 gigawatt-peak by 2030. 

8. We are also positioning ourselves to contribute to the growth of sustainable energy in the region. In particular, Singapore is working with industry partners to facilitate innovative policies and sustainable solutions in areas of research and development, innovative business models, as well as infrastructure financing.

9. We have encouraged many energy companies to consider Singapore as a living lab for their R&D efforts. For example, ENGIE set up their green-energy R&D Centre of Excellence for Southeast Asia in Singapore in 2016. In January 2020, ENGIE signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with JTC to explore energy efficiency solutions for industrial buildings in Singapore.

10. On financing energy projects, Infrastructure Asia, a Singapore-based organisation set up by Enterprise Singapore and the Monetary Authority of Singapore, has been supporting infrastructure developments across Southeast Asia. It is also working with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to develop bankable green projects in the region. 

11. Over the years, Singapore-based companies have been steadily ramping up efforts to develop sustainable energy projects in Singapore and the region. For example: 

i. Singapore-based Sunseap has a projected total capacity of 1.7 Gigawatt-peak worth of renewable energy projects in operation or under construction in the region. More projects are expected in China, Taiwan, Japan and Southeast Asia.

ii. DBS led the way as the first Asian bank to join the RE100 global renewable energy campaign in 2017. Today, DBS is very active in issuing green bonds – it has underwritten more than S$4 billion of green bonds in 2019 to finance sustainable infrastructural projects all across Asia. In May 2020, DBS became the sole lead manager for the National University of Singapore’s 10-year S$300 million green bond issuance, the first of its kind by a university in Asia.

iii. Keppel and Sembcorp have been very active in developing sustainable projects across Southeast Asia. Keppel unveiled their Vision 2030, which puts sustainability and green developments at the core of their business strategy. Sembcorp has also been introducing innovations such as Singapore’s first renewable energy certificate aggregator platform and providing locally sourced renewable power to Google Singapore.

International Energy Cooperation

12. Singapore also plays an active and constructive role in the global discourse on energy transition, through multiple fora such as ASEAN, G20 and the IEA. Key initiatives in 2020 include:

i. Chairing the drafting committee for the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) 2021-2025. This will drive the region’s energy transition for the next 5 years;

ii. Participating in the G20 Energy Ministerial Meeting to share our perspectives on energy transitions; and

iii. Co-hosting the Singapore-IEA 2nd Global Ministerial on System Integration of Renewables, which will take place tomorrow afternoon.

13. We are also actively enhancing strategic cooperation with our key partners. For example, we have just concluded the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Australia on Low Emissions Solutions. The MOU will help us develop low-emissions solutions, including in low-carbon hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilisation and storage. Both countries will also explore cooperation on renewable energy trade, and in measurement, reporting and reporting (MRV). The partnership to develop and realise low-emissions solutions will help both countries with our energy transition and decarbonise the economy.   

14. Tapping on regional power grids and electricity imports for cleaner energy is another key switch of our low carbon energy future. At the 38th ASEAN Ministers on Energy Meeting (AMEM) in November, Singapore will also be signing the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore (LTMS) MOU to advance cooperation on cross-border power trading. In addition to the LTMS initiative, we will also be issuing a Request for Proposal (RFP) by March 2021 for 100 megawatts of trial electricity imports from Malaysia. The trial will help us to refine our regulatory and technical frameworks to prepare for larger scale commercial imports from the region in the not too distant future, as our demand continues to grow. 


15. In conclusion, the energy transition towards a low carbon energy future presents many challenges. Yet, it also provides us with multiple opportunities to accelerate our sustainability efforts, and to continue to provide resilience and reliability in our quest for a sustainable energy future for Singapore. Singapore stands ready to work actively with our regional and global counterparts, as well as industry players, towards a sustainable energy future for everyone. 

16. Thank you very much, and I look forward to robust discussions at our Singapore Energy Summit today.

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