APAC energy leaders identify 7 key trends for sustainability
More than 2,500 regional and global business leaders, policy makers and government representatives across the energy sector came together for the first-ever Siemens Asia Pacific Energy Week to discuss regional challenges and opportunities.
Held virtually March 9-10, the focus of this year’s event, Shaping the Energy of Tomorrow, was all about fostering an ecosystem of collaboration and co-creation between stakeholders within Asia Pacific to help meet the world's sustainability goals, boost economic growth, create new jobs and industries, improve human welfare and attain carbon neutrality by 2050.
7 key trends for energy sector to focus on
Following a lineup of panel sessions and discussions, energy leaders arrived at 7 key trends that the sector should focus on for a successful transition towards a sustainable energy future.
- Access to reliable, affordable and sustainable energy supply is a necessity for economic growth
- Ramp up the contribution of renewable energy for long-term sustainability
- Utilize technology for efficient and cleaner use of energy
- Embrace emerging and cleaner energy resources like Green Hydrogen
- Digitalisation and AI-driven technologies will form the core of a future-proof and efficient transmission system
- Access to sustainable, competitive capital will accelerate the energy transformation journey
- Collaboration among stakeholders is imperative for the transformation of the energy landscape
APAC accounts for half of global energy consumption
As the world’s fastest growing economic region, Asia Pacific is witnessing increasing urbanisation, rising population and with it, huge energy demands.
With Asia Pacific accounting for more than half of global energy consumption, and with 10% of the population still lacking access to basic electricity, “the question is how to bridge into an affordable, reliable and sustainable power supply, while improving energy access," says Christian Bruch, President and CEO, Siemens Energy.
As prices of renewables decline and grid stabilisation technology advances, accelerating the contribution of renewable sources makes economic sense and will also drive long-term sustainability for the region.
Governments can contribute with policies and regulations driving this change, and the industry can translate emerging business strategies into practical busines models, as well as develop reliable projects and drive technological innovations. To step up the energy transition, all stakeholders must join forces and work towards the transformation.
Key energy event takeaways
Audience engagement during the event further revealed some vital insights on energy transition in the region:
- More than 45% of the participants indicated that cost was a major hurdle followed by willingness for energy transition at nearly 25%
- Over 66% identified renewable integration as the most impactful decarbonisation element
- 48% voted that a breakthrough in energy storage will accelerate energy transition
- 75% of participants would be willing to pay a premium for CO2 free energy, and...
- Policy and regulation will be a key motivator.
Opinion: The future of the city is smart and sustainable
The march towards urbanisation is inexorable. COVID-19 may have dampened its pace temporarily, but cities continue to offer the most efficient means of organising societies, and serving up the best economic opportunities.
Yet, alongside the benefits of high density living are some very tangible externalities - congestion, transportation systems under duress, lurking security threats, proliferation of diseases and intense competition for utilities, to name a few. To address these issues, become smarter and greener, as well as enhance the overall quality of life for communities, cities around the world are rapidly adopting smart city technologies: solutions that enable societies toward a more connected, resilient and sustainable future.
The modern world is experiencing an explosion in bandwidth, reduced latency, and network coverage at lower cost per connection node. In the last decade, the cost of Internet of Things (IoT) sensors has fallen more than three-fold, leading to more wireless sensors being retrofitted onto buildings, critical and transportation infrastructure at a rapid clip.
These sensors detect and show what’s going on in real-time. Akin to MRI scans revealing parts of the anatomy inside the body, useful insights are derived to enable predictive maintenance and reduce unplanned downtime. It leads to improved public transportation efficiency and reliability, and reduced road congestion. Automation via robotics at workplaces and facilities such as hospitals also become viable. Complexities are more readily abstracted down to simple phone applications, be it for efficient utilities management, prompts for improvement actions by city councils, or even for scheduling and payments of seamless public transport journeys.
The proliferation of sensors, artificial intelligence, and data measurement platforms yield new benefits for security, bringing higher levels of situational awareness to cities. Remote surveillance and crowd sourcing, combined with sensemaking help detect anomalies and enable timely intervention. Even a humble but ubiquitous lamppost can be wired up to serve as a city sentinel, helping to monitor traffic, potential threats and environmental changes. In the current pandemic situation, smart city technologies offer increased and improved options for expeditious contact tracing and enforcement of safe distancing.
New combinations of connected technologies are driving greater efficiencies in utilities. Across various cities, utility systems are being retrofitted to move closer to net-zero outcomes. Intelligent power grids enable optimal injection of renewable energy. Smarter water grids reduce network leakage. On-demand lighting, air-conditioning and waste management allow the optimal matching of services and supply to human demand.
In land transportation, the need for car ownership is reducing gradually as more efficient and affordable, seamless end-to-end mass transit options are offered to commuters. Meanwhile, we have also witnessed a transformation with the rollout of shared and autonomous public transportation, facilitated by Mobility-as-a-Service applications, and a shift to electric transportation platforms, which significantly decrease traffic congestion, pollution and the carbon footprint of every passenger.
A trajectory of growth
Given these opportunities, it is not hard to see why a burgeoning spectrum of businesses, be they startups, technology giants, engineering powerhouses and real-estate developers, are all coming round and pivoting, to capture these abundant new opportunities.
ST Engineering has been in the smart city business for many years, with more than 700 projects in over 130 cities under its belt, including its contributions to Singapore’s Smart Nation efforts. However, against the backdrop of growing smart city opportunities and intensifying competition, the creation of Urban Solutions (URS) as a Global Business Area (GBA) to drive the Group’s smart city strategy and growth is timely.
In picking up the mantle as the go-to-business for the Group’s smart city initiatives, and the key account holder for cities around the world, URS will continue to help cities transform into smarter and greener spaces. Today, Urban Solutions has a good starting point with a comprehensive suite of solutions covering smart metro, intelligent road traffic management, fleet telematics, IoT and data platforms, alternative data connectivity, cloud-enabled smart buildings and estates, intelligent security systems, robotics for healthcare and even urban cooling innovations. We intend to pivot further and potentially bring forth new capabilities including digital mobility payments, electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles, intelligent energy management, and other digital offerings with a single-minded aim to move metropolises further along on their journeys to be smart cities. URS is well poised to help cities overcome key urban challenges and transform into connected, resilient and sustainable cities of the future.