New National Energy Transformation Office to coordinate energy efforts

SIAU MING EN Today Online 23 Oct 17;

SINGAPORE — A new National Energy Transformation Office has been set up to plan and coordinate energy research and development, as well as policies for the adoption of game-changing energy solutions.

The office will look at ways to improve industrial energy efficiency and deployment of solar energy, for instance. It will work with the National Environment Agency, Singapore Economic Development Board, Land Transport Authority and Building and Construction Authority, among other agencies.

Heading the office is Mr Toh Wee Khiang, who was the programme director for a low-carbon district project at the Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University (ERI@N). He was previously in the public service for 20 years.

Announcing the new office at the opening of the Singapore International Energy Week on Monday (Oct 23), Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean noted major changes in the energy landscape, including the falling cost of solar energy, batteries as well as energy storage systems. Singapore is in the process of developing strategies to achieve long-term clean energy deployment and energy efficiency.

For instance, JTC Corporation called a tender last month for the installation of movable solar panels on Jurong Island.

While companies here improved their energy efficiency by 0.6 per cent in 2015, the target is a rate of 1 or 2 per cent, as seen in countries such as Belgium and the Netherlands, said Mr Teo.

The public sector is also looking to hire 250 more power engineers as power systems form the backbone of critical infrastructure such as transportation, utilities and buildings.

During a question-and-answer session after his speech, Mr Teo was asked about the carbon tax to be imposed on power stations and other large direct emitters from 2019.

He said the carbon tax would correctly price the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions. Mr Teo said he was glad to see many companies, including BP and Shell, viewing the tax as “positive measure”.

The carbon tax is not intended to be a “revenue-generating measure” and the authorities have been actively talking to the industry, added Mr Teo.

Singapore setting up energy transformation office; public sector to hire more engineers
RACHEL MUI and ANDREA SOH Business Times 23 Oct 17;

WITH disruptive changes happening in the energy landscape, the Singapore government is setting up a National Energy Transformation Office (Neto) and will hire more engineers to pursue innovative energy solutions, said Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the Singapore International Energy Week.

The office, which will be within the Energy Market Authority (EMA), will synergise efforts across different government agencies and coordinate research, development and demonstration (RD&D) funding, enabling the adoption of transformational energy solutions.

Toh Wee Khiang will head Neto as its director. Prior to this, Mr Toh was the programme director for a low carbon district project at the Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N). He has spent 20 years in the Singapore public service with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*Star), the National Environment Agency (NEA) and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB).

Among others, Neto will work closely with agencies such as the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI), the Housing Development Board (HDB) and PUB.

Additionally, the public sector will need 250 more power engineers, said Mr Teo, who is also Coordinating Minister for National Security. Power systems form the backbone of critical infrastructure such as transportation, utilities and buildings, and the EMA will lead the development of manpower capabilities for this sector.

To further ensure environmental sustainability and energy security, international cooperation is needed. Therefore, Singapore will work closely with Asean members, dialogue partners and international organisations to deepen energy collaboration in clean energy, natural gas and LNG (liquefied natural gas), as well as the financing of energy investments when it takes up the Asean chairmanship in 2018.