Energy firm chief government John Ng says he is at all times had inexperienced vitality on his thoughts, ever since he began his profession as a boiler engineer greater than 35 years in the past.
“I joined the facility trade in 1985 … As a boiler engineer, we’re purported to make it possible for the boiler is run on the best method,” he instructed CNBC’s “Managing Asia: Sustainable Future.”
Ng defined that whereas boilers are inclined to function effectively, they will expel warmth and dirt. “So, now we have put in place sustainable mud capturing tools … That is how we began the facility era, ensuring that no matter generated out into the ambiance is as clear as attainable,” he added.
Now, as CEO of YTL PowerSeraya, a Singaporean electrical energy producer each for companies and retail prospects, he says sustainability is changing into ever extra essential.
The corporate switched from utilizing oil to pure gasoline to generate electrical energy in 2003, a transition that required three issues to occur. “The celebrities should be aligned,” Ng mentioned.
“The primary one is the supply of (a) trendy expertise mixed cycle plant. So even (if) you may have availability of contemporary expertise, you need to have availability of gasoline as nicely. And through that point, Malaysia and Indonesia (had) opened up the export of piped pure gasoline into Singapore,” he defined.
“The third factor that is essential is that within the 12 months 2003, it (was) additionally the time the place there is a new market framework, the place if you wish to generate electrical energy right into a market, your value of producing electrical energy should be the most affordable,” Ng added.
However whereas gas-fired energy stations nonetheless emit carbon, Ng mentioned, the emissions ranges are under these of oil or coal-powered vegetation, and YTL PowerSeraya is now ramping up its solar energy capabilities.
In April, the agency appointed Lim Han Kwang as group head of retail, regulation and renewables, tasked with main the corporate’s inexperienced efforts. Lim can be CEO of its retail provide arm Geneco, which has a photo voltaic panel set up service for purchasers and likewise affords renewable vitality plans.
However solar energy will not be with out its challenges. The photovoltaic panels want a number of land, they usually clearly additionally want solar, one thing which will be intermittent in Singapore’s tropical local weather. “You take a look at Singapore right this moment … the cloud is definitely protecting the daylight coming into Singapore. So, it really implies that 100% counting on photo voltaic in Singapore is one thing that we can’t completely (do),” Ng mentioned.
A technique Singapore might improve its entry to solar energy is through the proposed Australia-ASEAN Energy Hyperlink, which goals to transmit vitality from photo voltaic panels within the nation’s Northern Territory to elements of Asia through a 2,800 mile-long cable. It’s deliberate to be operational in 2027.
Ng known as the ASEAN mission “very, very attention-grabbing.” Nonetheless, “having mentioned that, now we have to steadiness between the flexibility to provide electrical energy on our personal versus shopping for wholesale 100% from abroad.”
A family in Singapore that installs photo voltaic panels can anticipate to recoup their prices in about seven or eight years, Ng mentioned, including this time interval can be considerably decrease for the wholesale facet of YTL PowerSeraya’s enterprise.
One supply of energy that emits “virtually zero” carbon is nuclear vitality, Ng mentioned, although Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi energy plant catastrophe in 2011 means public notion of nuclear energy is poor and policymakers are unwilling to debate it. “The query is, how do you make nuclear safer? How do you make nuclear extra acceptable to the general public?”
Expertise and experience round waste administration, regulation and security want extra growth earlier than the city-state can be able to construct a nuclear energy plant, Ng mentioned.
Coaching workers and conserving them motivated are two factors Ng raises when requested in regards to the hardest classes of his profession. “It has been robust, particularly so the final seven years, the place the facility trade has suffered monetary loss within the area, about $2 billion … The workers are feeling that it is a ‘sundown trade,’ and being a sundown trade, the query is how do you proceed to upskill?”
Ng has put in place a “cultural change initiative” that has helped the enterprise transfer ahead and helped the agency’s technical efficiency — the corporate has registered zero energy failures or “journeys” for 2 years.
YTL PowerSeraya’s energy era group noticed a drop in market share of two.5% in 2019-2020, in accordance with its most up-to-date annual report revealed final June. Oil costs fell dramatically throughout the pandemic final 12 months, however the agency — like others — suffered because it had “over hedged” within the asset, Ng mentioned. Added to this, total electrical energy consumption went down as shelter-in-place orders meant workplaces had been closed, a “double whammy” for energy companies. “The pandemic has made life very, very troublesome for us. However the good factor is that we’re managing nicely,” Ng mentioned.
Within the coming years, a larger demand for renewable vitality will assist the trade work extra effectively, in accordance with Ng. “Shoppers (need) extra renewable vitality, however that is just one half … The essential half for all CEOs is how can we encourage (folks) to make use of much less, and be extra environment friendly when it comes to our operation.”