Government regulation and participation by industry players have important roles to play in increasing the use of renewables and integrating them into national energy systems, panellists said on Monday at Singapore International Energy Week 2014.
Getting support from people outside the energy sector – including those in the telecommunications, water, cyber-security and transportation industries – is an important consideration, John Mogg, president of the Council of European Energy Regulators, said during the Maximising the Potential of Renewables session at the Singapore Energy Summit.
“Regulators are there to implement government policies” to encourage the introduction of renewable energy sources and to resolve cross-borders disputes, Mogg told the audience of industry executives and government officials.
This can be achieved by ensuring a fair playing field where “incumbents should not restrict new players” and by taking a consumer-centric approach that involves them in policy-making and educates them about renewable energy, he said.
Dolf Gielen, director of the International Renewable Energy Agency’s Innovation and Technology Centre, emphasised that “business perspectives should be in line with government perspectives” to push the adoption of renewable energy.
“How can we create economic activities from renewables?” is the useful way to approach the issue, rather than primarily from an energy policy perspective, Gielen said.
It is also important to correct common misunderstandings – such as the belief that renewable energy is more expensive than conventional options – and to improve understanding of the full potential of renewables, he said.
“Renewable energy is sometimes the cheapest option,” Gielen said.
Nobuo Tanaka, global associate for energy security and sustainability at Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics, reiterated the importance of a robust policy framework and commitment by regulators to greater integration of renewable energy into the grid.
Brent Layton, chairman of the New Zealand Energy Authority, highlighted the critical role of maintaining an open market as renewable energy is integrated.
Mogg recommended that regulators set suitable targets for renewables and define policies to create incentives that encourage the use of these sources, adding that industry players are more likely to invest in networks in a liberalised and open market.
Dr Dolf Gielen from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) emphasising the importance of aligning business and government perspectives.
About Singapore International Energy Week (www.siew.sg)
The 7th annual SIEW 2014 is the foremost platform for top policymakers, energy practitioners and commentators to discuss energy issues, strategies and solutions. SIEW brings together a robust line-up of world’s leading conferences, exhibitions, roundtables and networking events to provide insights and perspectives on the emerging trends and innovations across the energy spectrum of oil & gas, clean and renewable energy, and energy infrastructure financing – in one week, one location. Please visit www.siew.sg for further information.
By Chia Kang Yang