1. Good morning. It is a pleasure to join you today at the 8th edition of the Asia Clean Energy Summit. I am pleased to see the participation of many thought leaders in the energy space, including regional policy makers, global business leaders, and academia. I would also like to thank the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore for making this possible.
Concerted Global Efforts in Tackling Climate Change
2. Today, many identify climate change as the defining crisis of our generation. Many of us will know of the report released in August 2021 by the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report highlighted the need for reductions in global emissions in the coming decades, to halt climate change. The report assessed that even under the best-case scenario for greenhouse gas emissions, Asia will continue to face the effects of climate change.
3. This reflects an increasing urgency to advance our efforts in tackling climate change. On this front, we have seen countries representing more than 70% of the world economy pledging to adopt net-zero emission targets. While countries have identified their individual commitments, addressing the causes and impact of climate change requires a concerted global effort. This means that countries will need to work together to achieve our various net-zero emission targets.
4. The power sector has a key role to play in addressing the climate change challenge. Reducing power sector emissions will address indirect emissions for electricity users. It will also provide pathways to address direct emissions as well as emissions in the supply chains, through electrification. Therefore, Singapore is embarking on a long-term energy transition that sets us on a path to decarbonise our power sector.
5. As the unfolding energy crisis and volatility of electricity prices demonstrate, we need to pace our transition in a very calibrated manner, as my colleague Minister Gan Kim Yong mentioned yesterday. We must take a long-term view as we move towards a lower-carbon future. This will help ensure sustained energy security as well as reliability. We appreciate that in Singapore with our limited land and lack of natural resources, these challenges mean that we must continue to find creative and innovative ways to develop, access, and adopt clean, renewable energy resources.
6. Besides investments into research and development, one of the key prongs to support our energy transition is the formation of regional and international partnerships. This will allow Singapore and our companies to access new energy sources and new markets, while supporting the decarbonisation efforts in our region as well.
7. Today, I will share more on how such international partnerships play a key role in Singapore’s energy transition.
Role of Regional and International Partnerships in Singapore’s Energy Transition
8. Singapore’s electricity demand is set to grow due to electrification and economic growth, including from new and emerging electricity-intensive sectors. However, our domestic renewable energy options –predominantly solar – are unlikely to meet our growing electricity needs.
9. Therefore, as Singapore undergoes an energy transition, regional and international partnerships are instrumental in ensuring energy security and reliability. This does not apply to Singapore alone but also the entire region. Today, Singapore plays an active and constructive role in the global discourse on energy transitions:
a. We actively participate in various regional and international discussions to contribute to the global discourse on major energy issues.
These include platforms such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and the G20.
b. We also work closely with international organisations such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), to accelerate the region’s low-carbon energy transition.
Efforts include the Singapore-IEA Regional Training Hub initiative, where Singapore and the IEA co-organise training programmes for policymakers and professionals in the region.
The Singapore-IRENA High Level Forum will also be held later today.
We will discuss and exchange views on mobilising investments to support and shape an inclusive energy transition.
10. But we can always do more. Today, allow me to share with you two further moves that Singapore is making:
a. First, we will strengthen regional and international collaborations on electricity and hydrogen trading.
b. Second, we will launch a set of standardised guidelines for Renewable Energy Certificates.
These guidelines will help support renewable energy deployment in Singapore and the region.
Strengthen Regional and International Electricity and Hydrogen Trading
Regional Electricity Trading
11. Singapore supports the development of a regional grid that taps on different types of low-carbon energy sources in the region. This will enable the development of a regional power grid, which can accelerate the growth of cross-border electricity trading.
a. We will embark on several electricity imports trials.
The Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP) will import up to 100 megawatts (MW) of hydropower, and 100MW from the Malaysia trial via the existing interconnector.
We will also be conducting a pilot to import solar from Indonesia.
b. At yesterday’s Singapore’s Energy Lecture, my colleague Minister Gan Kim Yong had also announced that Singapore will import approximately 4 gigawatts (GW) of low-carbon electricity by 2035, and we will be launching Requests for Proposals for large-scale electricity imports from diverse sources.
c. Through these efforts, we can expect an increase in renewable energy deployment regionally, which will ultimately be integrated into our power grids.
12. The growth of a regional grid presents opportunities across the renewable energy value chain, and can leverage our current renewable energy ecosystem. This includes building capabilities, from developing innovative engineering solutions to carrying out project development, which can support and facilitate the development of renewable energy sources in the region. I am glad to share that Singapore is active in this area.
a. On the solar front,
i. We have attracted major solar manufacturers, focusing on high-efficiency silicon solar cells, to set up their global manufacturing and R&D headquarters in Singapore. This includes REC Solar, whose factory in Singapore produces approximately 1.5 gigawatt-peak (GWp) of silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules annually. It has also recently announced its plans to expand its cell and module production capacity in Singapore within the next 2 to 3 years.
ii. With Singapore’s limited land space in mind, our strong base of solar service providers has begun tapping on emerging opportunities beyond traditional solar PV deployment, such as deploying floating solar PV systems. For example, earlier this year, Sembcorp Solar launched the world’s largest onshore floating PV deployment in one of Singapore’s reservoirs. At 45 hectares, this solar farm occupies the size of 45 football fields, and has the capacity of 60 megawatt-peak (MWp).
b. On the Energy Storage System (ESS) front,
i. We have also seen our local companies build a competitive edge in developing end-to-end ESS solutions, such as Durapower Group that specialises in designing, manufacturing, and integrating lithium-ion battery technologies. This home-grown enterprise has established a strong market presence with its safe and durable battery technology that is scalable for a wide range of solutions, from small-scale kilowatt-hour (kWh) to grid-scale megawatt-hour (MWh).
ii. Singapore has also seen a growth in capabilities to enable ESS circularity. For example, home-grown electronic waste recycler, TES, has established a battery recycling facility in Singapore that is capable of recycling up to 14 tonnes of lithium-ion batteries per day. This is the equivalent of 280,000 smartphone batteries. With this, TES is confident to recover more than 90% of previous metals from spent batteries to reuse in manufacturing of new batteries.
13. Building on these capabilities, many of our renewable energy companies have also exported their renewable energy solutions to overseas markets. For example,
a. Sunseap Group has established itself as a clean energy solutions provider not only in Singapore, but with regional operations across South East Asia. This includes developing Cambodia’s first solar farm. It also recently established its presence in Indonesia’s Batam Island to embark on building the world’s largest floating solar farm, supported by ESS, on a reservoir. This is expected to generate over 2600 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electricity per year, which can be used to supply users at Batam Island with the potential to export excess energy.
14. I hope that more companies in the renewable energy sector will be encouraged by these success stories and leverage the potential opportunities in the region. Today, under the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase 2, ASEAN Member States have set an ambitious target, amongst others, to achieve 35% share of renewable energy in ASEAN’s installed power capacity by 2025. According to reports, this means that ASEAN would require approximately 35 to 40 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity to be added by 2025. Hence, I urge all companies present to tap on these opportunities for renewable energy deployment across the entire region.
15. As we diversify Singapore’s fuel mix towards greener alternatives, low-carbon hydrogen is another promising solution. Hydrogen can be used to support the decarbonisation of the power sector, as well as other hard-to-abate sectors. For example, green or blue hydrogen has the potential to be an alternative to natural gas as a fuel for power generation, as well as to replace carbon-intensive feedstocks in the industrial sector. Hydrogen derivatives such as ammonia can also replace existing fossil fuel-based bunker fuels, as a maritime fuel of the future.
16. There has been increased global momentum towards developing the hydrogen sector, but gaps remain. For one, significant improvements are needed in the efficiency and cost of hydrogen technology across different parts of the hydrogen value chain; this ranges from production, to transformation and storage and transportation, and to downstream applications.
17. To establish global low-carbon hydrogen supply chains, Singapore is doing our part by engaging local, regional, and international stakeholders. These partnerships will further our efforts to develop and bring down the costs of hydrogen technology, and help catalyse the development of global regulatory standards.
a. We have just entered into a A$30 million partnership with Australia on low-emissions maritime and shipping. We hope that this sector-specific partnership will bring businesses and governments in Australia and Singapore closer together to explore solutions such as low-carbon hydrogen and ammonia, to drive down emissions in maritime shipping and port operations. This could light the path for us to subsequently broaden the partnership, to explore solutions in other sectors.
b. In October 2021, Sembcorp Industries, announced its partnership with Chiyoda Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation to explore the implementation of a commercial-scale supply chain to deliver hydrogen into Singapore. This international collaboration will look at efforts to explore cost-effective, carbon-neutral hydrogen production in offshore locations to be shipped to Singapore.
18. These efforts reflect our commitment to accelerate not only Singapore’s energy transition, but also our region’s move towards a more sustainable energy future. We hope to enhance power connectivity in Southeast Asia and beyond, to pave the way for cleaner and renewable energy deployment across the entire region.
Standardised Guidelines for Renewable Energy Certificates
19. Globally, investments in renewable energy deployment have been accelerating.
In IEA’s latest Renewable Energy Market Update, renewable energy sources such as wind and solar grew at their fastest rate in two decades, adding 45% in 2020 to almost 280 gigawatts (GW). According to BloombergNEF the world has also committed a record US$501 billion on technologies such as solar, energy storage and electric vehicles in 2020 alone. Furthermore, many businesses are making environmental, social, and governance practices their priority. This is evident with over 300 RE100 companies committing to achieve 100% renewable electricity.
20. Closer to home, as Singapore presses on with efforts to achieve our renewable energy deployment targets, there ought to be additional instruments in place to help companies, institutions, or individuals participate more actively.
21. One such example is the use of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). RECs are market-based instruments to substantiate that electricity has been generated from renewable energy sources. One REC represents that one megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity was generated from a renewable energy source, such as solar PVs, and delivered to the grid.
22. While RECs are not new to Singapore, privately-run registries have been operating with their own criteria and procedures for issuing RECs, with varying verification requirements.
23. Hence, I am pleased to announce the launch of the Singapore Standards (SS) 673 on the Code of Practice for RECs. Overseen by the Singapore Standards Council (SSC) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG), SS 673 is a joint effort by the National Environment Agency (NEA), the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), the Energy Market Authority (EMA), as well as representatives from industry stakeholders and academia. It is a national standard which covers the production, tracking, management, and usage of RECs for making renewable energy claims in Singapore. This is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. This process took into account international practices and domestic considerations.
24. The new standard will enhance the credibility and accountability of RECs that are used to make renewable energy claims in Singapore, as well as those issued from renewable energy projects. For example, the standard defines the types of renewable energy sources that are eligible to generate RECs, such as solar, wind, and biomass. It provides requirements for the verifications of installations and guides renewable energy claims by producers and end-users. This means that companies and individuals can now have greater assurance on the quality of RECs they use in meeting sustainability goals.
25. This standard was also developed with a view towards the future. For example, as best practice, the RECs generated and the companies using them should be located within the same market boundary. With this new standard, trading of RECs within ASEAN can be supported, for example, via certifying renewable energy imported into Singapore. In this way, we hope that this standardised guideline will not only facilitate a transparent and trustworthy marketplace for RECs in Singapore, but also support the matching of demand for RECs with credible supplies, and facilitate investments in renewable energy across the region.
26. In conclusion, the energy transition is a quest that requires us to harness collective strength and efforts that transcend borders. Singapore welcomes partnerships across the value chain. Together, there are exciting opportunities we can capture and realise. And together, we can press on in our charge towards addressing climate change and creating a sustainable energy future for us all.
27. I look forward to robust discussions at our Summit. Thank you.