Energy conference to focus on shift to greener sources

S'pore International Energy Week will also look at how to achieve an inclusive transition

Solar panels on top of HDB blocks. The conference will discuss ways to navigate the challenges and opportunities brought by the energy transition. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO
Solar panels on top of HDB blocks. The conference will discuss ways to navigate the challenges and opportunities brought by the energy transition. PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Accelerating the transition from pollutive fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources will be the focus of the annual energy conference in Singapore in October.

The announcement was made yesterday by the Energy Market Authority (EMA), organiser of the annual Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW), at the global launch event of the conference.

"The theme emphasises the importance of advancing the energy transition collectively to ensure a more sustainable and resilient global energy system," said EMA chief executive Ngiam Shih Chun .

"We welcome all energy stakeholders to join us at SIEW this year to exchange views on how we can navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by the energy transition."

Reducing mankind's reliance on pollutive fossil fuels for energy - the major driver of modern climate change - is key to the green recovery of many nations seeking to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic in a sustainable way.

Burning fossil fuels to power homes, offices and industries emits heat-trapping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The ever-thickening blanket is causing the planet to warm, and the excess heat is changing the way earth systems are responding.

The effects are already being felt: Sea levels are rising due to ice sheets melting at an accelerated pace, temperatures are rising, and extreme weather events are getting more intense.

Scientists have warned that the world must keep warming to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels to avoid the harshest impacts of climate change.

But the move away from fossil fuel sources - such as coal, oil or natural gas - to renewable energy sources will involve teething problems and challenges.

These include finding a balance between economic growth and energy sustainability.

One new event at this year's SIEW is the Singapore-Irena (International Renewable Energy Agency) High-Level Forum, with speakers discussing how capital can be mobilised to shape and support an inclusive energy transition.

Inclusivity is an important element of the transition, as it would ensure that all of society will benefit from the move to a greener future, including workers in the fossil fuel sectors, for instance.

South-east Asia's energy transition is also being closely watched globally, especially with projections showing rapid growth in energy demand for the region.

Mr Francesco La Camera, Irena director-general, said the energy transition is fundamental to putting energy systems and economies on a path to achieving net-zero emissions by the middle of this century.

"South-east Asia is a diverse, thriving region with significant renewables potential that is well positioned to occupy a leadership position in the shift to new models of sustainable growth and long-term prosperity," said Mr La Camera.

"We look forward to working closely with the Energy Market Authority to reinforce this message at SIEW this year."

The SIEW conferences are usually attended by government officials, business representatives, non-government organisations and academics.

This year's conference will be held in a hybrid format-both online and on site at the Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre - from Oct 25 to 29. Registrations open in July.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 29, 2021, with the headline 'Energy conference to focus on shift to greener sources'. Subscribe