Welcome Address by Co-Chairman, Energy Research Development & Demonstration Executive Committee, Permanent Secretary (Public Service Division) and Permanent Secretary (National Research and Development) Yong Ying-I at the ENERGY TECHROADMAP 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my pleasure to welcome everyone to this inaugural technology roadmap symposium - ENERGY TECHROADMAP 2014.
Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedules to be here, especially those who have come from abroad to join us for this event.
Need for Transforming the Energy Landscape
Three years ago, the government announced the “Energy National Innovation Challenge” - to develop cost-competitive energy solutions that can be deployed within 20 years to improve Singapore’s energy efficiency, reduce its carbon emissions and broaden its energy options.
The realities of global warming and uncertainties in oil and gas production will make energy more pivotal than ever to the economic, environmental, and national security fortunes of nations in the 21st century. Green House Gas (GHG) emissions have to fall by half by 2050. The era of cheap oil and gas is over.
The challenge every country now faces is the conversion of an economy sustained by high-carbon energy to one based on low-carbon, sustainable sources of energy.
Time is working against every state. Overhauling how economies and societies are powered, will take decades of sustained effort, whereas the pressures of fossil fuel scarcity and demands for action on climate change are already here and growing.
Governments that realise the urgency of the issue and make the low-carbon energy challenge a top priority - a centerpiece in their economic programs - are more likely to produce growth and economic leadership in the 21st century.
The question for Singapore is whether we will participate as a leader or a follower in the global energy revolution. Acting early, with a long planning horizon, will put us on a sustainable footing, and enhance our national, economic, environmental, and energy security. The alternative is to live with a high degree of vulnerability to international markets and an emerging international climate regime.
Left to the market, the pace of energy transitions is inherently slow and takes many decades. It is a function of financing, developing and perfecting extensive and expensive infrastructure, writing off old infrastructure, and overcoming inertia and reliance on predictable technologies over unfamiliar, but more sustainable ones. Accelerating change requires collective determination, commitment and persistence nationally.
Energy transformation and innovation on a national scale cannot be realised without the efforts of many, and it cannot proceed without a top down, long term vision that sets the direction and clarifies objectives for everyone.
Hence, we have embarked on the technology roadmapping exercise as part of the Energy National Innovation Challenge to identify focus areas where R&D could lead to high impactful outcomes. During this symposium we will be sharing the findings of government agencies on key technology areas where cleaner energy sources and more energy efficient technologies can be exploited on a larger scale to meet our energy demands and reduce carbon emissions. This symposium will be an opportunity to seed, discuss and follow up on novel and important ideas to win Singapore’s energy future.
Importance of Technology Roadmapping
The technology roadmaps we are sharing today are one of the critical tools in our strategy to understand global technological trends, and inform the research and development priorities for Singapore to develop the energy solutions we need for tomorrow.
By providing a common frame and reference, the roadmaps will help all stakeholders evaluate their business options and direct their investments, sharpen their R&D strategies, as well as develop policy levers to facilitate quicker translation of these technologies into deployable solutions.
Completed and Upcoming Roadmaps
To date, four technology roadmaps have been completed. These are the solar photovoltaic roadmap, the building energy efficiency roadmap, the green data centre roadmap and the carbon capture, storage and utilization roadmap. An interim update on the Industry Energy Efficiency roadmap will also be presented at this symposium.
There are also two more technology roadmaps in the pipeline, namely, the E-mobility roadmap, led by the Land Transport Authority, and the Solid Waste Management roadmap, led by the National Environment Agency.
Developing Follow-ups from Roadmaps
Government agencies have already started to shape their technology master plans and formulate development plans and funding initiatives based on the findings and recommendations of the roadmaps.
I am therefore pleased to announce that two major energy R&D initiatives, namely the Building Energy Efficiency RD&D Hub and the Green Data Centre Research Hub totalling about $100m, have been approved recently. The Building Construction Authority and Infocomm Development Authority are managing these initiatives respectively and will be sharing the details with you in the coming months.
In conclusion, this symposium today maps out where we want to see ourselves, in terms of technological advances by 2020, 2030 and beyond. This will help to drive our R&D outcomes and deployment strategies towards our long term targets of reducing energy intensity and carbon emissions.
Transforming the energy landscape requires a sustained and coordinated effort nationally. We will continue to engage industry stakeholders and research performers to identify new energy technologies and explore mechanisms to accelerate the translation of these technologies to market and commercial application. Together we can make a difference in shaping a more sustainable energy future for Singapore.
On this note, I wish you all a fruitful symposium.