Energy Forum features policymakers and Lego

The Energy Market Authority's annual Energy Forum at Marina Mandarin hotel on Friday featured an unusual element: Lego. The coloured blocks were part of a game designed to give students a flavour of the trade-offs necessary in managing between price, energy security and environmental sustainability.

Using World Bank data for South-east Asian countries, team members assumed the roles of Government, industry, citizens and non-governmental organisations and competed against each other to meet the energy demand of their country. Using Lego bricks, they had to decide the most appropriate national energy mix up till the year 2030.

They had to do this while maintaining a healthy national budget, reducing carbon emissions and working within technological and geographical constraints. For example, the team representing Singapore did not have hydro-electric power as an energy option.

This is the first year the Energy Forum is including a segment specifically to engage tertiary students. The Authority said it was an attempt to attract more young talent into the sector. This one-day forum is a gathering of academics and industry leaders to discuss energy issues facing Singapore, including the importance of making energy saving a social norm and habit for Singaporeans.

But while the EMA intended the game as a bit of fun to raise students' interest in a career in energy, Mr Nee stressed that EMA's work was "not a game".

"If EMA makes mistakes, electricity stops flowing and the lights go off," he told students.