Speech by 2M Tan See Leng at US-Southeast Asia Clean Energy Roundtable

Speech by 2M Tan See Leng at US-Southeast Asia Clean Energy Roundtable

1. Thank you, Secretary Granholm and colleagues from the US Department of Energy. It is a pleasure to be co-chairing the roundtable with you today.


2. I am delighted that we are able to meet in person and discuss pertinent energy issues impacting the region. I would also like to extend a warm welcome to my Southeast Asian colleagues for joining us in Singapore to convene this roundtable.


3. The US is an important partner for the region.


4. In January 2021, the ASEAN-US Energy Cooperation Work Plan (2021 – 2025) was endorsed at the Special Senior Officials Meeting on Energy.


5. Since then, we have conducted the ASEAN-US Workshop on Decarbonisation of the Energy Sector with the US Department of Energy and Department of State at the side-lines of the ASEAN Regional Policy and Planning Subsector Network (REPP-SSN) Meeting on 25 May 2021.


6. Most recently, Singapore and the US Department of State and the Department of Energy also co-hosted the Third Country Training Programme for ASEAN on renewable energy on 22-24 March 2022, which was well attended by ASEAN Member States.


7. For the global energy transition to succeed, we will need to work as a global community to plan and calibrate our energy transition together, towards a shared energy future.


8. There is significant potential for the US and Southeast Asia to work together and grow our partnership. We therefore welcome the US’ engagement of our region on the low-carbon energy transition. Allow me to make three points:


9. First, we must scale up the deployment of low-carbon technologies that are already commercially available and cost-competitive.


10. These include wind, solar, hydropower, and geothermal energy, and our regional power grid infrastructure to enable mutual support and to facilitate electricity trading. The key is how to make these projects bankable.


11. This can be challenging in SE Asia, where most countries have not implemented a carbon tax and some countries continue to subsidize fossil fuels.


12. One way to make renewable energy projects more bankable is to promote the cross-border trade of clean energy, in the form of electricity and new energy carriers such as hydrogen and ammonia.


13. In this regard, the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP) that successfully commenced on 23 June serves as an important pathfinder project to advance regional integration and energy resilience, underpinned by the ASEAN Power Grid vision.


14. Second, we need to take decisive action to innovate.


15. Current technologies alone will not get us where we need to be.


16. The region need to collaborate on Research, Development and Deployment to push the technological frontiers and enable emerging technologies such as hydrogen to be widely deployed.


17. Lastly, we should take a pragmatic approach in our energy transitions.


18. Even as we gradually transition to low-carbon energy, natural gas will still play important role as a transition fuel.


19. In emerging regions such as Southeast Asia, managing growing energy demand in tandem with economic growth remains a challenge.


20. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that Asia Pacific will account for half of the expected growth in global gas demand to 2025.


21. According to the Southeast Asia Energy Outlook 2022, gas use in Southeast Asia could increase by 40% between 2020 and 2030 if global gas balances stabilise. This is significant.


22. And to meet this growth in demand, we have to continue to ensure sufficient investments in gas supply chains, even as we accelerate the deployment of renewable energy.


23. The choices we make now are going to set the direction of the energy transition for several generations to come.


24. Together with the US and our Southeast Asian neighbours, we can harness our collective strength to galvanise collective climate action for a sustainable future for all.


25. With that, I wish everyone a fruitful discussion at the first session. Thank you.

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