Singapore leads in efforts to drive net zero targets across ASEAN

According to The Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS)’s latest survey, Singapore was unanimously voted the region’s leader in efforts to drive net zero. A resounding 92% of respondents agreed that the nation is poised to become a world or regional leader in the energy transition, with a key role to play in achieving the region’s net zero goals.

Ranked second and third are Vietnam (49%) and Thailand (47%) respectively.  While 7 in 10 respondents believe that Singapore’s ambitions of being a clean energy hub is dampened by land scarcity, their view is that the country could potentially play a significant role as the regional hub for green finance (67%), carbon trading (54%) and electric mobility (50%).

Edwin Khew, Chairman of SEAS said: “Ahead of the upcoming 10th Asia Clean Energy Summit (ACES), we feel it is important to gather perspectives from the clean energy industries on the challenges they are facing and the enablers that would empower their industries to achieve net zero goals.

“It is no surprise that Singapore has been voted the leader in the region’s energy transition. As a global shipping, commodities and energy hub, as well as a center for finance and trade, Singapore is well-positioned to play the role of a catalyst in driving the region’s energy transition forward through research and development, and facilitating investment and cross-border partnerships. The government has also set progressive plans and policies in motion to grow the renewable energy sector, amongst other cross-border initiatives.”

Difficulty in implementing cross-border initiatives was cited in the survey as a barrier in enabling the energy transition in ASEAN.  Commenting on cross-border partnerships and the reality of a common ASEAN power grid which would be instrumental to the transition, Michael Harrison, Partner at Baker Botts, a premium sponsor for ACES, said that Singapore and other governments in the region would have to set agreements in place to facilitate the cross-border transmission of energy. 

“In the absence of an immediate multi-lateral agreement, export areas need to agree on the basis of the development of high-voltage direct current interconnectors (HVDC) from areas of electrical generation to areas of electrical need. To enable the development of the ASEAN power grid, it is necessary for governments to agree, government to government (G-t-G), to develop cross-border (critically sub-sea) HVDC.G-t-G agreements provide certainty and will enshrine energy security which will allow governments to access commercial bank funding to develop HVDC.

“Each bi-lateral agreement will address regulatory issues that will arise, and to state whether renewable electrical energy only is to be exported or whether electrical energy from any generation sources can be transmitted.” 

Respondents also agreed that the imminent carbon tax hike in Singapore from S$5 per ton to $25 per ton effective 2024 was justified, but that it should be reviewed and adjusted periodically. To meet Singapore’s demands for energy security, affordability and sustainability, industry experts ranked green energy imports as the best option, followed by solar on water bodies, rooftops or vacant land, and a combination of hydrogen produced from natural gas with carbon capture, utilization and storage.

The survey was coordinated online with 150 industry professionals from the clean energy industries within the region. The survey findings will inform the discourse surrounding clean energy at the 10th ACES to be held on October 24-26 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. ACES is a part of the Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW).

Photo credit: iStock/ Torsten Asmus

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