Asia: Alternative Energy Singapore - Not for another 20 years?
Channel News Asia reports that Singapore is taking a number of steps to try to stay on top of the world non-renewable energy trade. Singapore is one of the world's top three oil refining centres after Houston, Texas and Rotterdam, Holland. In terms of oil trading Singapore is also number three after the oil trading exchanges in London and New York.
Singapore's Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, wants the tiny island state to become a major hub for natural gas. Already 60 percent of Singapore's electricity supply is generated using gas.
The Singaporean Minister expects oil to remain the world's primary source of energy for the next 20 to 30 years. Presumably it is only after it loses this status that Singapore plans to make significant investment in alternative energy.
In my opinion this is extremely short sighted of Singapore. This city state went from being an under-developed island in the 1960s to becoming one of the "tiger" economies of Asia and the world's largest producer of hard drives. Citizens of Singapore are immensely proud of their country (at least the ones I've met) and their national airline (Singapore Airways) and airport (Changi) are considered among the top in the world.
The government and people now have an opportunity to become leaders in renewable energy technology such as photovoltaic (solar) cells. It should be noted their economy is heavily dependent on cheap oil. Tourism and Singapore's status as a regional airline hub make a significant contribution to their economy. Failure to prepare for the peak in oil production could mean they are left behind by other asian countries such as China and Japan and it could take them years to catch up.
Singapore aims to become natural gas hub by building a LNG terminal and market for gas exchange trading