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Hero Video : Singapore International Energy Week

A fantastic property, located close to the small town of Rothbury in England, called Cragside was the home of William George Armstrong, a renowned English scientist, and industrialist. 

‘Whenever the time arrives for utilising the power of great waterfalls,’ he wrote in 1881, ‘the transmission of power by electricity will become a system of vast importance.’ He put his ideas into practice, constructing in the grounds of Cragside, the world’s first hydroelectric power station and using an array of hydraulic mechanisms to operate labour-saving devices in the house. He was also the inspiration for Andrew Affleck to set up Armstrong Asset Management in 2010 and the first Clean Energy Fund for Southeast Asia.


The True Colours of Clean Energy 

Singapore International Energy Week

If you look at the futuristic logo of this year's Singapore International Energy Week, you can be forgiven for being a little confused about the true colours of energy. Red more likely represents fire and the burning of fossil fuels, but no sign of oil or "black gold". The colour gold can certainly resemble sun and solar for what is rapidly becoming the clean and renewable energy of choice around the world, as well as in Singapore.

The turquoise and dark blue definitely represent the colour of energy generated from water, whether it be hydro electricity from lakes and rivers, as well as wave or tidal power. Gas and wind are the troublesome ones when it comes to colouring them in. You can certainly smell the gas and feel the wind, so that's where our other senses come into play.

And it makes good sense to follow Shell's Sky scenario which is very blue and green, advancing renewables - including bio fuels -, energy efficiency, electrification, carbon pricing mechanism and nature-based (green) solutions - zero deforestation and large scale reforestation - to keep the global average temperature to well below 2 degrees C. Maybe this also means following the traffic light colours. Red means stop using burning fossil fuels altogether. Amber tells us to get ready to take off with Green. Showing our true colours for good.- Ken Hickson

Lucy Craig

Energy supply and demand will peak in the early 2030s, according to DNV GL’s Energy Transition Outlook 2019. Supply is forecast to peak in 2030, while demand is expected to peak in 2033. The key contributor to reducing energy demand in the coming years is large energy efficiency improvements, brought about mainly by accelerated electrification. Technological improvements in energy efficiency gains are expected to outperform economic growth.

DNV GL will present its outlook in the SIEW Energy Insights session on Wednesday 30 October, featuring Lucy Craig (pictured above), who has 30 years experience in the business of renewables. There's more.

Francesco La Camera

Francesco La Camera, the Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), is one of the keynote speakers in the opening session of SIEW. When he took office in April this year he had 30 years of experience in the fields of climate, sustainability, and international cooperation. “The energy transformation brings significant opportunity to developed and developing countries alike, " he said last month.

“Renewables are not only our most effective response to rising emissions, but they are also an engine of low-carbon development, supporting energy access, energy security and climate resilience in the world’s most vulnerable countries." More here. 

Kevin Hart

Around the same time the United Kingdom announced it had achieved a record in the generation of offshore wind energy, GE Renewable Energy announced it had been chosen as preferred supplier to provide turbines for Britain's Dogger Bank offshore wind project being developed by SSE and Equinor.

A string of new offshore wind-farms built this year helped nudge renewables past fossil fuels for the first time in a crucial tipping point in Britain’s energy transition. Kevin Hart, Asia Pacific Regional Leader for GE’s Power Digital business, will be speaking in the International Energy Agency (IEA) forum on Wednesday.

Armida Salsiah

Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is a keynote speaker on the first day of SIEW. She will reinforce UN ESCAP’s mission on energy which is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all in Asia and the Pacific in line with SDG7 targets, and to enhance energy security and connectivity through regional cooperation.

Prior to joining ESCAP, she was Professor of Economics at Universitas Padjadjaran in Bandung, Indonesia, a position she assumed in 2005.

Digitalisation, an Enabler of the Energy Transformation

Often described as being instrumental in supporting grid stability and reliability, digitalisation is playing a role in identifying possible failures and optimising production, as it can improve flexibility, productivity, efficiency, safety and sustainability of the energy systems. This year’s SIEW Roundtable will shed light on the expectations placed on digitalisation. One speaker is Matthew Friedman, Chief Digital Officer of Sembcorp Industries.

His focus is on driving business growth through the digitalisation of business operations and processes. Earlier in October, he announced: “Sembcorp is excited to couple our expertise in energy with EMA and NTU to create a Virtual Power Plant for Singapore. A VPP will benefit Singapore through aggregation of renewable and energy storage resources to more efficiently meet the energy and sustainability needs of the nation.” Read all about it

Zero-carbon hydrogen could be produced through various methods; for instance from fossil fuels with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) or from renewable energy with electrolysis. Masakazu Toyoda of the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, discusses the key factors shaping Japan’s energy future, and the challenges that lie ahead in a session at SIEW this week.

Japan and Australia just announced a joint hydrogen project. ABB has been selected to deliver automation, electrification and instrumentation solutions for the Hydrogen Energy Supply Chain (HESC) pilot project. Meanwhile, Australia is also advancing the opportunity - with hydrogen - of producing 700% of its long term energy needs. Read more.


IPCC in Singapore: Nature-Based Solutions

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) held a scoping meeting in Singapore from 21 to 23 October 2019 is was to draft the outline of the Synthesis Report for the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6 SYR). The meeting brought together 80 experts from some 38 countries and IPCC Bureau members.

The Synthesis Report, due in 2022, will provide policymakers with the most up-to-date scientific information relevant to climate change by drawing on information from the reports the IPCC is preparing in the current assessment cycle. It will serve as the basis for international negotiations and will be ready in time for the first global stock-take under the Paris Agreement in 2023.More on IPCC here.

To deal with sea level rise, Singapore will incorporate nature-based solutions that go beyond coastal protection, as well as engineering solutions. Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Masagos Zulkifli told the IPCC meeting: "To boost our natural defences such as mangroves, we take both hard and soft engineering approaches to mitigate coastal erosion and actively restore our mangrove areas.

"He also told the visiting scientists: "Despite awareness and concern about climate change being at its highest, some governments at one end of the spectrum allow forests to be burned to clear land for economic development, and use coal for energy generation." Read more.

Symposium on Sea Level Rise

At the IPCC/SMU Symposium on Sea Level Rise, Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, mentioned the importance of making sure climate projections be built on robust science. For that reason Singapore set up the Centre for Climate Research Singapore (CCRS) in 2013. It is the first research centre in the world dedicated to advancing the science of the tropical climate and weather of Singapore and the Southeast Asian region. CCRS has also launched the National Sea Level Programme this year to enhance our understanding of how the different components of sea level rise will affect Singapore and our region. Read more about CCRS here.

United Nations climate

What’s needed to stop the rise in greenhouse gases and buy up to 20 years of time to fix global warming - US$300 billion - according to United Nations climate scientists, Bloomberg reports. The sum is not to fund green technologies or finance a moonshot solution to emissions, but to use simple, age-old practices to lock millions of tons of carbon back into an overlooked and over-exploited resource: the soil. “We have lost the biological function of soils. We have got to reverse that,” said Barron J. Orr, lead scientist for the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. “If we do it, we are turning the land into the big part of the solution for climate change.” Read the rest.


Vegetation, which covers around a third of the world’s surface, is vital to maintaining the planet's natural balance. As Shell's Martin Haigh was telling us on the sidelines of the IPCC meeting, it is under threat: from human activities, such as clearing woodland for farming and illegal logging, as well as climate change.

As Shell works to cut the emissions from its own operations, as well as reducing greenhouse gas emissions per unit of energy that its customers use, Shell is investing US$300 million between 2019 and 2021 in nature-based solutions. It has also introduced an offset scheme where petrol station customers can "invest" in tree-planting in the UK and the Netherlands.


Ten Tips for an Office Make-over

Ten Tips for an Office Make-over

From lights to air conditioning and food waste, offices account for almost 20% of all commercial energy consumption, according to the World Resources Institute. CNBC Make It spoke to Stephanie Dickson, co-founder of conscious festival Green Is The New Black, who shared her tips for making your office that bit greener.


Focus on Forests: Tree Cover Loss by Fire


Who's measuring the tree cover loss from all the forest fires that have been burning - seemingly out of control - around the world in 2019? One BBC report says it's not as bad as in previous years. See what's being reported on the Global Forest Watch. According to GFW data, there have been 66,000 fire alerts in Indonesia alone from January through the end of September. While this is much lower than fire levels in 2015 — which saw more than 110,000 alerts at the end of September — it far exceeds levels in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

We will have to wait for the FAO State of World's Forests report for 2019. Meantime, what about California? The Los Angeles Times provides this commentary: "It should be crystal clear by now that California needs to make major changes in the way communities prepare for these inevitable blazes. The warming climate is creating conditions that fuel more devastating wildfires as more and more people are moving into the wildland-urban interface, where homes and offices abut foothills, forests or other open land. Read the full story.

Paper to Beat Plastic 


Indah Kiat Pulp & Paper won the award in the Extraordinary Exporters category from the National Export Development (DITJEN PEN) of Indonesia's Trade Ministry.This is the seventh time APP Sinar Mas’s subsidiaries have won in the Performing Exporters and the Global Brand Builder categories. "We believe paper holds the solution to many of the problems that we will face in the future. Its use has continued to evolve, and it is now a material with the most potential to replace plastic.

For over 40 years, APP Sinar Mas continues to innovate to offer paper, pulp, and packaging products that meet the needs of a changing world,” said APP Sinar Mas Director Suhendra Wiriadinata.


PEFC Bags Chile Climate Package 

Paper Bags

As the worldwide discussion on climate change grows in urgency, this year’s COP25 event (Santiago, Chile from 2-13 December) will seek to encourage action and transformation towards a sustainable society. The conference theme – Time for Action – focusses on a number of initiatives, three of which directly relate to PEFC’s work: Forests, biodiversity and the circular economy. ”We are delighted that our colleagues in Chile will be able to supply visitors to their stand at this internationally-important conference with a paper bag which has been sustainably-produced, is strong enough to be reused and at the end of life, can be readily recycled,” said Fabienne Sinclair, Head of Marketing at PEFC International.


Norway & FAO's new forest initiative


Information on the world's forests will be more transparent and easy-to-use than ever, thanks to the new cooperation between FAO and the Government of Norway, which aims to improve global statistics on forest resources and their changes. A US$3 million, three-year project supported by the Norway's International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI), will enable FAO to organise a number of capacity development events, improve reporting on forest resources, as well as training in using satellite remote sensing to collect data and estimates of forest area, biomass and carbon stocks. Read more.


Get a taste of your own medicine 

Kill HIV in a test Tube

Three decades ago, scientists surveying the forests of Malaysian Borneo discovered a plant extract that killed HIV in a test tube. When they returned to the field site to collect more samples, they were surprised to find the peat forest had been cleared. Subsequent surveys in the region proved fruitless, but the researchers caught a lucky break when they found a specimen in Singapore’s Botanic Gardens.The near-miss with Calanolide A provides one vivid illustration of what is at risk of being lost as Indonesia’s forests are cleared and burned. Read more


Bhutan is happy with its tree cover 


Perhaps better known for its Gross National Happiness Index than measurements of its economic worth, Bhutan is a small Himalayan country that values its forests. A 2017 report confirms that Bhutan has 71% of its mountainous land under forest cover. Over 800 million trees are estimated to be found in Bhutan. The constitution of the Monarchy mandates a minimum of 60% of country under forest cover for all times to come.

When we met Gabriel Cubbage, who set up Gray Langur as a specialist tour company to cater for those committed to visit Bhutan, he confirmed that this is one place that values the environment, its forests and its unique culture more than anything else.


Burning More of the Amazon than ever

Deforestation and burning of forests in the Brazilian Amazon continues its upward trajectory, according to data released by the country’s national space research institute INPE earlier in October. Monthly deforestation alert data showed that 1,444 square kilometers of forest in Brazil’s “Legal Amazon” — or Amazonia — were cleared during the month of September, bringing the area chopped down through the first nine months of the year to 7,604 square kilometers, an 86% increase over the same period last year. INPE put the area burned in the Amazon year to date at 59,826 square kilometers, a 97 percent increase in the area burned relative to last year. Read the Mongabay report.

Green is the New Black


Last Word: For Global Good: Human-Wildlife Co-existence

Dr. Jane Goodall, DBE, Founder of the Jane Goodall Institute and United Nations Messenger of Peace will be visiting Singapore from 26 to 28 November when a series of activities are lined up. There’s “Human-wildlife Co-existence in Asia Conference: Conflicts and Mitigations” on 26 November 2019, at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre, Cassia Room. An academic conference where Dr. Goodall and a panel of six distinguished speakers will speak about their experiences and work. Audience members can participate and discuss important conservation topics with some of the most prolific experts and researchers in the environmental field. There’s more about Jane Goodall’s visit here.


Power for the People

New Zealand

New Zealand's first industrial hydro-electric power plant was established at Bullendale in Otago in 1885. Reefton was the first town with electricity supply after the commissioning of its Power Station in 1888. Now, hydroelectric power accounts for 57% of the total electricity generation in New Zealand. Pictured is the Karapiro hydro dam on the Waikato River in the North Island, showing how energy generation doesn't have to destroy the environment, but can in fact enhance the river as a major water resource for farming, fishing, tourism and recreation. The Waikato River has a series of eight dams and nine hydro-electric power stations, constructed between 1929 and 1971. Read all about it.


Singapore FinTech Festival

Singapore FinTech Festival might seem an unusual event to associate ourselves with, but when we found sustainability embedded into the event, we became a Media Partner. Its focus on sustainable finance, investment opportunities and challenges in climate change, solutions on tech enabling climate and disaster risk are all very relevant. It brings insights from global thought leaders to showcase innovative solutions, and engage entrepreneurs, investors and innovators from around the world.

It will also provide rich networking opportunities for participants to collaborate on technological innovation across five key sectors – FinTech, Urban Solutions and Sustainability, Health and Biomedical Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, and Digital Services. Come along from 11 to 15 November.


First published by Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA) | 5001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Complex #04-03/A7, Singapore, 199588 Singapore

Contact The Writer Ken Hickson HERE


1 November 2019
Fantastic Article! Thanks for sharing it with us Ken.


29 October 2019
Amazonia: Brands for Good Champion. Amazonia, a eco-friendly landscaping company, was one of the champions in this year's Brands for Good awards. Company founder, Mr Rajendran, believes in connecting their clients to nature. "Nature plays an important role in human wellbeing," said Mr Rajendran. "Biophilic design seeks to engage people through a variety of sensory and external stimuli including sight, smell, sound, biodiversity and community, and in this regard furnishes a healing environment that refreshes and revitalises." Another winning champion in the Managing Environmental Impact category was Green is the New Black. Go to Brands for Good for the rest. https://www.brandsforgood.asia/


29 October 2019
Responsible Business Forum 2019 in Singapore on 18,19 November will seek commitments to scaling the start-ups, innovations and technologies that will drive the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related to the circular economy. Five SDGs most directly impacted by circularity will be addressed, those for water, energy, employment, sustainable consumption & production and land & biodiversity. On 19 November, an audience of 10,000 next generation leaders in business schools and universities around the world will connect with current leaders from companies, governments, academia and civil society. Together they will explore how circular economy ideas and models could be used to transform businesses, boost future job creation and help societies to achieve the SDGs for 2030. Learn more about Responsible Business Forum 2019 https://www.responsiblebusiness.com/forum/responsible-business-forum-on-sustainable-development-2019/