GOVERNMENT SETS 2015 TARGET OF $34 BILLION OF
VALUE-ADD AND TRIPLING OF EMPLOYMENT TO 15,300 FOR THE ENERGY INDUSTRY IN SINGAPORE
National Energy Policy Report outlines six strategies for Singapore to strengthen our economic competitiveness, enhance energy security and improve environmental sustainability
The Singapore Government today launched the National Energy Policy Report (NEPR), and for the first time, outlined a holistic national energy policy framework that balances the three policy objectives of economic competitiveness, energy security and environmental sustainability. It also set the target of increasing the value-add to the energy industry from $20 billion to $34 billion in 2015, and to triple employment from 5,700 to 15,300.
2 The details of the Report were announced by the Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Lim Hng Kiang at the 3rd Singapore Electricity Roundtable held at the Raffles City Convention Centre today.
Energy for Growth
3 The NEPR, in presenting Singapore’s energy policy framework, argues that Singapore, being small and with limited indigenous resources, needs to leverage on its strong and growing economy as the only means to provide Singapore with the resources to meet the challenges of rising energy prices and climate change.
4 The NEPR presents six key strategies that the inter-ministry Energy Policy Group (EPG) will focus on to ensure Singapore achieves its Energy for Growth:
Strategy 1: Promote Competitive Markets
We are committed to the promotion of competitive markets. This will help keep energy affordable and ensure our economic competitiveness. We have liberalised our electricity and gas markets, and are looking into enabling full competition in the electricity retail market. Where there are market failures, we will correct for them by using market-based instruments or imposing standards and regulations. We will also encourage the private sector to innovate to achieve the energy security or environmental outcomes that we are seeking.
Strategy 2: Diversify Energy Supplies
This strategy will help to protect us against supply disruptions, price increases and other threats to the reliability of supply. In competitive markets, companies themselves will have the incentives to diversify and reduce their own commercial risks. The Government’s role is to create an open and flexible framework that allows diversification to take place. For Singapore, there are also practical challenges to fuel diversification, due to our limited energy options. Hydro, geothermal and wind power are not available in Singapore, while nuclear energy is not feasible due to our small size. Solar and coal power have some potential, but they face cost and technological barriers, and environmental concerns respectively. Nonetheless, we should not write off any energy options for Singapore, since as technology improves, energy sources which are not viable for Singapore today may become viable in future.
Strategy 3: Improve Energy Efficiency
This strategy can help to achieve all three objectives of our energy policy. Using less energy will decrease our dependence on energy imports and enhance our energy security, while reducing business costs, pollution and CO2 emissions. The Government has set up an Energy Efficiency Programme Office (E2PO) and developed a comprehensive Energy Efficient Masterplan (also called E2 Singapore) to promote the adoption of energy efficiency technology and measures, raise public awareness, and build capability and expertise in energy efficiency.
Strategy 4: Build Energy Industry and Invest in Energy R&D
We can turn the energy challenges into opportunities by positioning our economy to meet rising global and regional demand for energy. We intend to increase our refining capacity to consolidate our status as Asia’s premier oil hub. We will expand the range of energy trading products to include liquefied natural gas (LNG), biofuels and CO2 emission credits. We are also pursuing growth opportunities in clean and renewable energy, including solar energy, biofuels and fuel cells. Strong research and development (R&D) capabilities are required to support industry development in these areas, which will also enable us to develop solutions that address our own energy needs.
Strategy 5: Step Up International Cooperation
International cooperation on energy is essential given Singapore’s small size and reliance on energy imports. We need to promote greater regional and international energy cooperation, and work with partner countries to enhance the security of key energy transit routes. Singapore has been active in energy and energy-related discussions in major fora including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the East Asia Summit (EAS). As effective action against climate change can only be done at an international level, Singapore also participates actively in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and discussions on climate change in other fora.
Strategy 6: Develop Whole-of-Government Approach
The growing complexity and strategic importance of energy policy demands a Whole-of-Government approach. The work of drawing together the different strands of our energy policy began with the formation of the EPG in March 2006. Several organisational changes have also taken place, such as a new Energy Division in Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI), the expansion of the Energy Market Authority (EMA), and the creation of the Clean Energy Programme Office and the E2PO. The Government has also set up the Energy Studies Institute (ESI) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) to promote and develop policy-oriented research on the economics, environmental and international relations aspects of energy, as well as contribute to energy dialogue and collaboration within the region.
5 Energy for Growth outlines our national energy policy framework and strategies to achieve economic competitiveness, energy security and environmental sustainability. We must continuously monitor and understand developments in the evolving global energy landscape and be ready to fine-tune existing policies and formulate new strategies when needed, to keep Singapore ahead in the energy area, so as to support our continued economic growth.
6 The full National Energy Policy Report is available at http://www.mti.gov.sg.