Singapore leading net-zero efforts in ASEAN with strong green finance


Singapore is leading in efforts to achieve net zero, as pointed out by 150 industry leaders surveyed by the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), followed by Vietnam and Thailand.

Singapore polled first among ASEAN nations, with 92% of respondents agreeing that the country is ready to become a world or regional leader in sustainable banking and finance, carbon trading and electric mobility.

While seven in 10 believe that Singapore’s ambitions of being a clean energy hub is dampened by land scarcity, their perspective is that the country could potentially play a significant role as the regional hub for green finance (67%), carbon trading (54%) and electric mobility (50%).

SEAS’s report released ahead of the 10th anniversary of their conference, the Asia Clean Energy Summit (ACES), later this month,

Edwin Khew, chairman of SEAS, says: “As a global shipping, commodities, and energy hub, as well as a center for finance and trade, Singapore is well-positioned to play the role of a catalyst in driving the region’s energy transition forward through research and development, and facilitating investment and cross-border partnerships. The government has also set progressive plans and policies in motion to grow the renewable energy sector, amongst other cross-border initiatives.”

Over the next 10 years, respondents are confident that the greatest progress will be in renewable energy production (27%), which contrasts with the finding that less than 10% believe there will be advancements in policy and governance.

ASEAN power grid

Furthermore, respondents say the top three barriers to accelerating the energy transition in ASEAN are weak government strategies or allocation of subsidies (64%), difficulties in implementing cross-border initiatives (63%) and lack of infrastructure for renewables production, storage, transmission, and charging (54%).

In turn, they believe the top promoter of the ASEAN energy transition are new governance frameworks and standards to manage the carbon intensity of energy, including carbon taxes and incentives for green energy (84%), while green finance pipelines to support the transition (63%), including subsidies from Western countries, would help move the needle in the next 10 years.

Michael Harrison, partner at Baker Botts, a sponsor for ACES, suggest that Singapore and other Southeast Asian governments should establish agreements to facilitate the cross-border transmission of energy.

On making an ASEAN common power grid a reality, respondents agree that greater cross-border collaboration was required with cross-border consortiums (72%) leading the way. Other solutions include bilateral country agreements (71%) and a regional treaty (70%).

Green energy imports

Despite the sharp carbon tax rise in Singapore, respondents agree that the 2024 rate of $25 per tonne is justified, but it should be reviewed and adjusted periodically.

Industrial leaders ranked green energy imports as the best option for balancing energy security, affordability, and sustainability in Singapore (45%), followed by floating, rooftops or vacant land solar (32%), and a combination of hydrogen produced from natural gas with carbon capture, utilization and storage (18%).

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