Mr Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. A very good afternoon and warm welcome to the Singapore International Energy Week and to the 3rd Singapore-International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) High-Level Forum.
2. We are once again delighted to convene this Forum in partnership with IRENA and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS). Allow me to express my appreciation to Director General La Camera and IRENA for your strong support of the Singapore International Energy Week over the years.
3. In just a few weeks, the energy world will gather in the UAE for the first global stocktake of the Paris Agreement. While renewable electricity has become more accessible, global emissions are still increasing due to growing energy demand.
4. This underscores the need for all of us to work even closer together to attain our goal of limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 degrees.
Unlocking Southeast Asia’s RE Potential through Regional Interconnectivity
5. Regional interconnectivity plays a vital role in our shared journey towards net-zero. Working collectively together is not an option but a fundamental necessity. Southeast Asia is a region with significant renewable energy potential. Regional interconnections can accelerate clean energy investments and deployment, increase energy security, and promote the growth of a green economy. According to IRENA’s Renewable Energy Outlook for ASEAN, ASEAN has the potential to meet two-thirds of energy demand with renewable energy and cut about 75% of emissions by 2050. Regional interconnections not only promote the deployment of renewables but also generate savings of up to USD 160 billion through the optimisation of renewable energy resources in the region.
6. Regional interconnectivity, at its core, is about sharing of resources, best practices and knowledge through partnerships. Singapore has made good progress with like-minded partners. The Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project, which was implemented in June last year is an exemplary demonstration of regional cooperation, reflecting the commitment of the four countries to address the pressing challenges of energy security, sustainability, and economic growth. It represents a visionary step towards a more interconnected and an interdependent Southeast Asia.
7. On our part in Singapore, we are keen to partner countries on the development of renewable energy projects. Since the start of this year, we have awarded Conditional Approvals to import around 4GW of low-carbon electricity from Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam by 2035. These projects are the starting building blocks towards our vision of an ASEAN Power Grid.
8. I am also pleased to share that Phase 1 of the Singapore-US Feasibility Study on Regional Interconnectivity is almost complete. The findings are positive and highlight the benefits that sub-sea interconnections will bring to the region, including emissions reduction, lowering of generation capital and production costs, ensuring resource adequacy and power supply resilience, as well as economic benefits through the creation of green jobs. The study also noted the investments required for sub-sea transmission infrastructure, and how potential technical challenges in developing such interconnections, such as anchor strikes, can be mitigated. The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory will speak more on this at the SIEW Energy Insights session tomorrow and the final report will be launched at COP28.
9. For the next phase of the study, we will focus on the legal, governance, and financing frameworks needed to implement these projects successfully. We welcome the participation of partners from the Net Zero World Initiative and Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) to strengthen regional energy connectivity.
Catalysing Investments and Public-Private Partnerships
10. To harness the region’s clean energy potential, we will also need to catalyse green investments and strengthen public-private partnerships. Based on IRENA’s World Energy Transition Outlook Report 2023, some USD 44 trillion of cumulative investments will be needed from now to 2030 to achieve successful energy transition, especially in the areas of electrification, energy efficiency and grid expansion.
11. The private sector and international financial institutions therefore play an important role in unlocking financing into bankable renewable energy projects.
12. Singapore will contribute to this global effort through our “Finance for Net Zero Action Plan”, which mobilises green and transition financing to catalyse Asia’s net-zero transition.
Enhancing Regional Engagements
13. Before I end, I would like to acknowledge IRENA’s efforts in Southeast Asia. Since the signing of the ASEAN-IRENA MOU on Energy Cooperation in 2018, IRENA has been actively supporting the region’s energy transition efforts. These include the development of roadmaps such as the 2nd ASEAN Renewable Energy Outlook as well as various capacity building initiatives in areas such as hydrogen, geothermal and cooling solutions.
14. I hope IRENA will continue to engage with this region of more than 650 million people in our journey to scale up the deployment of renewable energy and build up regional interconnectivity.
15. May I now invite Director General La Camera to deliver his remarks. Director General, please.