CEO John Ng on a sustainable future in Singapore
Energy firm chief government John Ng says he is all the time had inexperienced power on his thoughts, ever since he began his profession as a boiler engineer greater than 35 years in the past.
“I joined the ability trade in 1985 … As a boiler engineer, we’re presupposed to ensure that the boiler is run on the best method,” he informed CNBC’s “Managing Asia: Sustainable Future.”
Ng defined that whereas boilers are likely to function effectively, they’ll expel warmth and mud. “So, we’ve put in place sustainable mud capturing tools … That is how we began the ability technology, ensuring that no matter generated out into the environment is as clear as doable,” he added.
Now, as CEO of YTL PowerSeraya, a Singaporean electrical energy producer each for companies and retail clients, he says sustainability is changing into ever extra essential.
The corporate switched from utilizing oil to pure fuel to generate electrical energy in 2003, a transition that required three issues to occur. “The celebs should be aligned,” Ng mentioned.
“The primary one is the provision of (a) fashionable know-how mixed cycle plant. So even (if) you have got availability of recent know-how, you should have availability of gas as effectively. And through that point, Malaysia and Indonesia (had) opened up the export of piped pure fuel into Singapore,” he defined.
“The third factor that is essential is that within the yr 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 price of producing electrical energy should be the most cost effective,” Ng added.
However whereas gas-fired energy stations nonetheless emit carbon, Ng mentioned, the emissions ranges are under these of oil or coal-powered crops, 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 also be CEO of its retail provide arm Geneco, which has a photo voltaic panel set up service for patrons and likewise provides renewable power plans.
However solar energy will not be with out its challenges. The photovoltaic panels want a variety of land, they usually clearly additionally want solar, one thing which could be intermittent in Singapore’s tropical local weather. “You take a look at Singapore immediately … 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 by way of the proposed Australia-ASEAN Energy Hyperlink, which goals to transmit power from photo voltaic panels within the nation’s Northern Territory to elements of Asia by way of a 2,800 mile-long cable. It’s deliberate to be operational in 2027.
Ng referred to as the ASEAN mission “very, very attention-grabbing.” Nonetheless, “having mentioned that, we’ve to stability between the power to produce 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 could be considerably decrease for the wholesale aspect of YTL PowerSeraya’s enterprise.
One supply of energy that emits “nearly zero” carbon is nuclear power, 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 improvement earlier than the city-state could be able to construct a nuclear energy plant, Ng mentioned.
Coaching employees and protecting them motivated are two factors Ng raises when requested in regards to the hardest classes of his profession. “It has been powerful, particularly so the final seven years, the place the ability 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 technology group noticed a drop in market share of two.5% in 2019-2020, in keeping with its most up-to-date annual report revealed final June. Oil costs fell dramatically through the pandemic final yr, 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 effectively,” Ng mentioned.
Within the coming years, a better demand for renewable power will assist the trade work extra effectively, in keeping with Ng. “Customers (need) extra renewable power, however that is just one half … The essential half for all CEOs is how can we encourage (individuals) to make use of much less, and be extra environment friendly when it comes to our operation.”
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