Shaping Energy Futures: Singapore Welcomes International Energy Agency's First Regional Office

Shaping Energy Futures: Singapore Welcomes International Energy Agency's First Regional Office
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The International Energy Agency (IEA) is poised to open its first regional gateway in Singapore, with plans to begin operations in the second half of 2024. The move marks the IEA's first foray beyond its headquarters in Paris.

The announcement of the opening of the IEA's regional office in Singapore was made during the IEA's 50th anniversary celebrations in Paris on Tuesday, February 13. The office will serve as a hub for the IEA's activities and engagement in the region and beyond, providing policy advice, technical assistance, and training. IEA Singapore stands ready to work with all countries in Southeast Asia and beyond to enhance energy security and accelerate the transition to clean energy.

The preparatory process to establish the IEA Regional Cooperation Centre in Singapore has been underway for several years. The Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Tan See Leng, stated in 2022 and 2023 that the government and relevant institutions have been conducting studies to explore the possibility of establishing this center.

He further emphasized that the Centre would be the first international institution focused on energy in Singapore, and highlighted its role in catalyzing the decarbonization process in the region while providing advice on energy security and resilience.

The IEA was established in 1974 in response to the 1973 oil crisis to ensure the security of oil supply. Since Singapore became a member of the IEA Association in 2016, both parties have strengthened cooperation to build capacity and facilitate policy exchanges in Southeast Asia. These efforts include activities through the Singapore-IEA Regional Training Hub and the Singapore-IEA Forum.

Singapore is on track to meet its target of importing 4 gigawatts of low-carbon electricity by 2035, following conditional approvals for imports from Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. Despite Singapore's significant reliance on fossil fuels for energy, manufacturing, and petrochemical trade, the country has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. Strategies such as importing low-carbon electricity, using green hydrogen, improving energy efficiency, and increasing the use of electric vehicles are being implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Regionally, Singapore has cemented its position as a clean energy financial hub, with local investors such as the Macquarie Group eyeing significant investment opportunities of between US$300 billion and US$400 billion in renewable energy sectors in Southeast Asia by 2030. In addition, the Singapore government's program to import 4 gigawatts of low-carbon electricity by 2035 has attracted significant investment and could support the development of regional grid interconnections.

In addition, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and several partners are actively developing financing models to support the early retirement of coal-fired power plants in the region.

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