Throughout the Future of the Grid event last month, many of the brightest energy minds of Singapore and ASEAN deliberated on the state of the grid and the best solutions to the challenges facing today’s energy systems. Singapore’s only grid-focused event concentrated purely upon impending challenges faced by ASEAN grid systems.
During the event, four key themes emerged. Below the key takeaways learned and the best quotable excerpts are highlighted from the event.
Theme #1 – The grid, the main player and enabler of the energy transition:
– “As we strive towards meeting the objectives of sustainability, cost, and reliability, few of us think about the grid and yet the grid is fundamental to driving particularly the reliability and cost vectors. Although there is great uncertainty with all the developments in play, equally it feels like the stars are starting to align.” – Graeme York, the President and CEO of Senoko Energy
– “In the past, it was almost a given that the grid would take care of itself. Now intermittency takes a lot more collaboration, especially with renewable integration.” – Laurence Kwan, Director for Energy of Sunseap
– “With rising energy demand and increasing complexity brought about by greater electrification and the transition to renewable energy, it is important for grids of the future to be flexible, reliable, efficient, and secure. Events such as “Future of the Grid” play an integral role in bringing the industry together to take stock of the impending challenges facing grid systems, and catalyse dialogue on opportunities that can be seized to realise the next-generation network – green, sustainable, and digital.” – Yoon Young Kim, the Cluster President, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei for Schneider Electric
– “It was insightful to hear from various panellists about the further electrification of the economy, and how smart grids contribute to and depend on, decarbonisation, decentralisation and digitalisation.” – Malin Östman, the General Manager of Wärtsilä of Asia & the Middle East
Theme #2 – The importance of digital tools in the ASEAN energy transition:
– “I’m a believer of technology, and for many of our challenges today, the solutions lie in digital tools. Some of the answers that are needed may not be ready today, but I believe the answers will evolve with time. Digital tools will enable us to manage the challenges of the grid today and tomorrow.” – Jimmy Khoo, Chief Executive Officer of SP PowerGrid – SP Group
– “Data science will be critical in ensuring grid’s reliability. It will shift the paradigm from reactive to proactive operations” – Gary Ang, Director, Smart Grid & Grid Digitalisation of SP PowerGrid – SP Group
– “It is important to strengthen the technical competency of the workforce as it is pivotal in keeping up with the new engineering technology” – Brian Tsui, GM Engineering & Capability Development of SP PowerGrid – SP Group
Theme #3 – The Changing Appetites of Energy Consumers:
– “Make it simpler for consumers. Hopefully, the industry does not get distracted with the next new energy development because we need to focus on the energy transition. The fate of humankind depends on this sector. Let’s keep working on this with urgency.” – Sam Lim, Senior Vice President of Tuas Power
– “To synergise and to be more automated is important. We’re not trying to eradicate any human communication, but we are adopting ourselves to the younger generation via Whatsapp.” – Geraldine Tan, General Manager of PacificLight Energy
–“It was encouraging to see the power generation companies with EMA supporting Singapore’s power transformation. Energy security and reliability is key in winning the public’s trust for the alternative forms of energy no matter what the future grid may be.” – Clara Kwan, COO, Managing Director, Head of Sustainability at NEFIN Group
Theme #4 – The ASEAN Electrification Expansion:
– “In particular, the operators of vehicle-to-grid (V2G) have to solve the dilemma of when electric vehicles (EV) are plugged in, they’re likely having low batteries and are unable to contribute much to V2G. In contrast, those EVs having highly-charged batteries are normally not plugged in. I look forward to future FOTG events to see whether there are new business models or technological breakthroughs to solve this mismatch.” – Oh Ser Wah, CEO of Whizpace Pte Ltd
– “I think what was interesting for us to see is how advanced different nations in Southeast Asia are on their electrification journey and what are the different factors making this journey successful for the future. The solutions will also differ country by country, and each country will need to find their unique approach to advance electrification and the decarbonisation of mobility in that sense.” – Andrey Berdichevskiy, Future of Mobility Solution Center Director of Deloitte
Singapore and the ASEAN grid is bound to adjust and become more sustainably focused than it is today. With Singapore now joining the efforts of Thailand, Lao PDR, and Malaysia in the connecting ASEAN power grid project, the energy grid of the future is destined to be more than it is now and more than it was imagined to ever be when it was created. Change is imminent and essential.