(EnergyAsia, November 2 2011, Wednesday) — The fourth Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) conference opened yesterday with its focus on the theme of “Securing Our Energy Future”

Nobuo Tanaka, former Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) delivered the conference’s main speech, “Comprehensive Energy Security”, on Monday.

He told the audience of more than 800 energy professionals that there was need for a new framework on energy security, particularly given the uncertain global economic outlook and heightened price volatility.

“The future of energy security is more complex and difficult today. It requires us to work with neighbouring countries to secure and supply energy needs in an affordable and sustainable way. I would like to see Asian countries work together in the future to create a framework that will achieve an interconnected grid in the region,” said Mr Tanaka who is now the Global Associate for Energy Security and Sustainability at The Institute of Energy Economics, Japan (IEEJ).

He also shared insights into key trends, challenges and opportunities ahead for the energy community. In particular, he gave his views and perspectives on the future of energy markets following the Fukushima disaster in Japan and its impact on global efforts to secure their energy mix.

In his opening address, S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry, echoed Mr Tanaka’s view that energy security is no longer just about oil supply but also other energy sources.

The minister also shared Singapore’s multi-pronged strategy to maintain its energy balance and to develop technologies that can help enhance Singapore’s energy security.

Singapore’s plans to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and import electricity from the region are key planks in its energy diversification strategy.

Mr Iswaran announced that by the end of this year, the government will begin a public consultation on the regulatory framework and will be looking into importing electricity to benefit consumers without compromising the reliability of the country’s power system.  Through the consultation, the government will seek views from the industry and other key stakeholders before it makes a decision on importing electricity.

Highlighting the second thrust in addressing Singapore’s energy challenges, Mr Iswaran talked about managing demand.

He said the city-state does this by pricing energy right to reflect its true cost, without subsidies that can lead to the inefficient use of a scarce and precious resource.

He also spoke about Singapore’s third thrust to be a “Living Lab” for innovative energy solutions through the test-bedding of technology to overcome supply constraints.

Referring to Singapore’s electric vehicle pilot project which started in June this year, Mr Iswaran said Renault-Nissan would be joining the effort with its two new electric vehicles, the Renault Fluence Z.E. and the Nissan Leaf.

As part of Singapore’s strategy to promote innovative technologies in energy, he also announced the awarding of the Pulau Ubin micro-grid programme to a Singapore-based consortium comprising two companies, Daily Life Renewable Energy and OKH Holdings, to design, build, own and operate the micro-grid, which could supply electricity to residents and businesses on the island.

The Singapore International Energy Week, which runs from October 31 to November 4, will see a suite of other high-level strategic discussions, B2B conferences and exhibitions, and networking receptions take place during the week. Besides the Singapore Energy Lecture, there will be the Singapore Energy Summit, Asia Smart Grid (new), Carbon Forum Asia, Clean Energy Expo Asia, Downstream Asia, EMART Asia (new), PV Asia Pacific Expo (new), collectively covering the full spectrum of energy verticals including oil & gas, renewable energy, energy trading and smart grids.