Alternative energy supplies crucial to meet global demand

01 November 2010 05:16  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS)--New forms of energy supplies such as unconventional gas and nuclear power may help to meet the surge in global demand, Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Monday.

“Time and again experts have warned that oil and gas deposits will soon be depleted, but such talks of ‘peak oil’ have been proven wrong many times in the past. They may be wrong yet again,” Lee said in a speech at the Singapore Energy Summit.

“In any case, supplies of coal are sufficient to last mankind for centuries,” he added.

However, alternative energy sources would still be needed to prepare for a possible future scenario of higher energy costs, Lee said.

“Even if supplies do not tighten, there could still be price hikes,” Lee said.

The world needs more research into new and sustainable energy solutions, as research into energy solutions has been “episodic” thus far, he said.

“What we need is a sustained research effort, to develop and improve new technologies, to drive down cost and to accelerate the deployment of promising solutions,” Lee said.

“Only then can we make significant breakthroughs in transforming the world’s entire energy system,” he added.

A new wave of innovation and research has been unleashed as a result of concerns over high oil prices and its environmental impact, Lee said.

There has been a revived interest in nuclear power, with new reactor designs that are safer, cheaper and more secure, he said, adding that several southeast Asian countries were planning to build nuclear power plants.

Meanwhile, Singapore is preparing itself for the future energy market by promoting competitive markets, diversifying its energy supplies, building up infrastructure and investing in research, Lee said.

“Out first priority is to diversify our sources of gas through the importation of liquefied natural gas (LNG),” he said, adding that he expected the city-state’s first LNG terminal to be ready by 2013.

“This will allow us to plug into the global gas network and access gas sources from all over the world,” he said, adding that Singapore has secured initial gas contracts with countries as far away as Trinidad & Tobago.

The city-state could also tap into coal-based energy resources and electricity imports from around the region, he said.

“We cannot dismiss the option of nuclear energy altogether,” he said. “It will be a long time before we take any decisions on nuclear energy… But we should ready ourselves to do so,” Lee added.

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By: Nurluqman Suratman

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