Archive for the ‘Express 212’ Category

Hot August Night

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Hot August Night

“Hot August Night” was a big Neil Diamond hit in 1972. That’s 43 years ago and maybe predictive. Because we’ve just had a month of the hottest August nights – and days – ever experienced. The temperature records go back to 1880 – that’s 135 years ago – and August has never been hotter. The people of California know about this only too well as they sweltered and experienced the most damaging wild fires ever. But everywhere people should be concerned. We are heading for temperature rises that are practically impossible to contain. The earth’s land and water – including the seas – are all heating up. Uncontrollably.  Global warming is not something we should fear for the future. It is here and now. And still we have political and business leaders investing in fossil fuels and fracking, destroying rain-forests and clearing land, causing fires that damage people’s health as well as the environment. “When will they ever learn…” are the words of another song “Where have all the flowers gone”, not by Diamond but by fellow Americans Peter, Paul and Mary. From the 1960s. Yes, that might be all in the past but now we have a “Clear and present danger” (film title, this time). And if we want a future, we better start repairing the damage and learning from our bad old ways now. Now!

Ken Hickson

Climate change means the weather report is: “Hot as hell and could get worse”

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Climate change means the weather report is:

“Hot as hell and could get worse”

This is the earth’s weather report.To get the message across, we summarise three “climate reports” here: One from Kelsey Warner of the Christian Science Monitor – “Paris climate pledges won’t stop dangerous warming. But what will?” Another from Damian Carrington in The Guardian – “2015 and 2016 set to break global heat records, says Met Office”. And a significant report from AFP, published in The Straits Times with the heading: “Time and tide not waiting for climate negotiators”. Read More


Climate Report 1:

Paris climate pledges won’t stop dangerous warming. But what will?

In December 190 nations are set to convene in Paris to discuss reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, but the UN warns plans are already coming up short.

By Kelsey Warner, Christian Science Monitor 20 SEPTEMBER 2015

If climate policy were Sesame Street, it would be sponsored by the number 2.

A broad scientific consensus sets 2 degrees Celsius – about 3.6 Fahrenheit – as the maximum level our planet’s surface can warm before climate change gets especially dangerous.

A maximum of 2 degrees is also the goal of the the UN’s climate summit in Paris at the end of this year, but now the UN’s climate chief warns that nations are already falling short.

The UN’s climate chief, Christiana Figueres, told reporters in Brussels that so far 62 countries had submitted promises of emissions cuts ahead of the Paris meeting, covering about 70 percent of global emissions. UK government sources told the Guardian that pledges, called Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), were expected from India, Brazil, Indonesia and other nations before Paris.

The expected pledges are likely to limit temperature rises to about 3 degrees Celsius.

“What the INDCs will do is mark a very substantial departure from business as usual,” Figueres said. But she added: “Is 3C acceptable? No.”

But those negotiating towards a global agreement that will reach a resolution in December are still optimistic. If nothing is done to cut emissions, climate experts project a temperature increase of 5 degrees Celsius. The talks in Paris, which will begin on Nov 30, are expected to yield mandates to ramp up emissions cuts in future years.

Hurdles remain over how much money developing nations will receive to handle global warming and how oversight will be managed once deals are done.

The debate over climate aid will evolve starting Oct. 9, with the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund in Lima, Peru convening to identify how much capital is already going via existing international NGOs. Developed nations have already pledged $100 billion a year to poorer nations by 2020.

The UN has said it will add up the pledges by the start of October and issue a report by Nov. 1, Reuters reports.

The summit in Paris contrasts with the last major climate deal to come from talks in Copenhagen in 2009: the proposed Paris deal will take commitments from each participating nation and incorporate those into the global deal, instead of attempting a strict global deal that then mandates what individual nations can do.

“We are going to get an agreement and it will have all the major countries in it, which did not look likely a few years ago,” said Nick Mabey, an expert on climate change negotiations and chief executive of green non-profit organisation E3G, in an interview with the Guardian. “It is not going to deliver 2C overnight, but it will put in place immediate action and reduce warming.”


Climate report 2:

Time and tide not waiting for climate negotiators

Damian Carrington in The Guardian  14 September 2015

The world’s climate has reached a major turning point and is set to deliver record-breaking global temperatures in 2015 and 2016, according to a new report from the UK Met Office.

Natural climate cycles in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans are reversing and will amplify the strong manmade-driven global warming, the report concludes. This will change weather patterns around the world including more heatwaves, but it is possible that the UK will actually have cooler summers.

“We will look back on this period as an important turning point,” said Professor Adam Scaife, who led the Met Office analysis. “That is why we are emphasising it, because there are so many big changes happening at once. This year and next year are likely to be at, or near, record levels of warming.”

The record for the hottest year was broken in 2014, when heatwaves scorched China, Russia, Australia and parts of South America. But, despite rising greenhouse gas emissions continuing to trap more heat on Earth, the last decade has seen relatively slow warming of air temperatures, dubbed a “pause” in climate change by some.

In fact, global warming had not paused at all. Instead, natural climate cycles led to more of the trapped heat being stored in the oceans. Now, according to the Met Office report, all the signs are that the pause in rising air temperatures is over and the rate of global warming will accelerate fast in coming years.

The warning comes ahead of a crunch UN summit in Paris in November at which the world’s nations must hammer out a deal to halt climate change. Opponents of action to curb climate change have cited the pause as a reason to reject urgent cuts in carbon emissions.

But Professor Rowan Sutton, at the University of Reading and who reviewed the Met Office report, said: “None of the debate around the pause has changed our long term understanding of greenhouse-gas-driven climate change. That is the most fundamental point for Paris. The fact that 2014, 2015 and 2016 look like being among the very warmest years on record is a further reminder about climate change.”

The report analyses the latest data on all the key factors that combine to determine the global climate. The warming caused by carbon emissions is the largest influence and continues to rise.

But the El Niño natural cycle of warming in the equatorial Pacific, that can be a significant peak in this cycle, is now underway. It is expected to be the strongest El Niño since 1998 and will push up global temperatures – it has already weakened the Indian monsoon and the Atlantic hurricane season. Another longer-term natural cycle in the Pacific (the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) also looks to be shifting into its warmer phase.

In contrast, there are now strong signs that a natural cycle in the North Atlantic is moving into a cooler period. This has less impact on global temperature than manmade climate change or Pacific ocean cycles but it influences conditions in the UK and Northern Europe.

“If the Atlantic cooling continues as we expect, that would favour cooler and on the whole, drier summers, but there are other factors that compete to affect our climate,” said Sutton. Periods of cooler Atlantic waters in the past, such the 1980s, have also been associated with severe African droughts but more rain in the US.

Scaife said the weather experienced in specific places from year-to-year results from the combined effects of all the natural cycles and manmade global warming. “A lot of these cycles can occur without the influence of human beings, but they are now occurring on top of the influence of man’s activities,” he said. “So now, for example, when an El Niño comes and raises the global temperature, that is the icing on the cake, the extra bit that creates the record year.”

“Although these natural variations continue to be important, and will probably determine exactly which year breaks the record, you have to put them into context,” Scaife said. “In terms of global temperature, they are all smaller than the amount of warming we have already created.”



Climate report 3:

Time and Tide not waiting for climate negotiators: Deadline looms for nations to seal global deal to stem the tide of global warming

Straits Times 31 August 2015

AFP report from PARIS

Diplomats are gathering in Bonn from today to thrash out the draft of a climate-rescue pact to be adopted at a year-end United Nations conference in Paris.

With just 10 official negotiating days before 195 nations must seal the deal in the French capital, time is running out to bridge deep and long-standing divisions on who should do what to halt the march of global warming.

Just in recent days, there were fresh reminders of what is at stake if the world misses the UN goal to limit global warming to 2 deg C over pre-Industrial Revolution levels. We have already reached 0.8 deg C

Government scientists in the United States recently declared July the hottest month in history and said this year appears set to overtake 2014 as the hottest year since records began in 1880. India and Pakistan have been hit by killer heatwaves this year and California is in the grip of a historic drought.

Nasa warned last week that one metre of average sea level rise is unavoidable over the next 100 to 200 years because of melting ice and ocean warming.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon urged countries last Wednesday to “accelerate the rhythm of negotiations” ahead of the Nov 30-Dec 11 climate conference, saying: “We don’t have much time.”


The five-day Bonn round will show whether rank-and-file diplomats are taking recent cues from political bosses, analysts say.

In July, France announced that ministers had made a “breakthrough” at a huddle in Paris.

Crucially, they agreed on a review every five years after 2020, when the agreement kicks in, of the collective effort to curb planet-warming greenhouse gases to ensure the 2 deg C target remains within sight.

All eyes will be on Bonn to see if the ministerial rapprochement on this issue filters through.

“Just trying to get a bit of the spirit of the ministerials back into Bonn would be great,” said Ms Liz Gallagher, climate diplomacy leader at the E3G think-tank.

Mr Alden Meyer, an analyst with the Washington-based Union of Concerned Scientists, said there must be close coordination between negotiators and their political bosses.

“Negotiators need to do the job of clarifying where things stand, framing options very sharply,” he said. “But then it’s really the ministers and the leaders that have to find… some of the compromises.”

Ministers will next meet in Paris on Sept 6-7, and again in Lima in October at an IMF-World Bank pow-wow with climate finance on the agenda. On Sept 27, Mr Ban and heads of state will talk climate on the sidelines of a UN summit in New York.

While these talks are not part of official negotiations, they should guide the pact-crafting efforts.

“The political decisions and compromises are going to be made above the pay grade of the negotiators,” said Mr Meyer.

As things stand, the draft agreement under review in Bonn runs over 80 pages – largely a laundry list of countries’ often conflicting options, in places as many as 11 per issue, for ensuring a liveable planet.

The disagreements are fundamental. How to divvy out responsibility for carbon cuts between rich nations, which have polluted for much longer, and developing countries which need to power fast-growing populations and economies?

How will developed nations meet their promise of US$100 billion (S$140.9 billion) of climate finance per year from 2020?

To date, more than 50 countries responsible for nearly 70 per cent of global emissions have submitted carbon-curbing plans.

But scientists say the numbers do not add up and the world is on track for warming way above 2 deg C – a recipe for ever more extreme droughts and floods, disease spread and island-drowning sea-level rise.

To aid negotiators, the co-chairmen of the talks have re-packaged the draft text into three sections – the first containing the binding, overarching goal, set in stone; the second with elements that can be altered over time; and the third, by far the biggest, those that remain in dispute.

There will be a final pre-Paris negotiating round, also five days, in Bonn in October.

“It’s a race against the clock,” French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said at a meeting with Mr Ban. “Last year was the hottest on record. It seems that this year will be even hotter. There is no plan B, there is no planet B.”


Don’t call it haze. It’s pollution. Bad for people’s health, the environment & the Indonesian economy

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Don’t call it haze. It’s pollution. Bad for people’s health, the environment & the Indonesian economy

Singapore suffers – not silently – but with growing anger as to why the fires cannot be put out and the perpetrators brought to justice. But the unhealthy smoke covering the island state, along with Malaysia and Indonesia itself, just won’t go away. It is part of a much bigger problem – the practice of burning trees and peat to clear the land for growing profitable palm oil, as well as the equally valuable pulp and paper. Indonesia won’t overcome its disastrous deforestation record – among the worst in the world – until it realises the damage it is doing is to its own people – their health, their environment and their economy. Read more

To tackle haze, win over the Indonesian public

By Asit K. Biswas and Kris Hartley in Straits Times (21 September 2015)

The return of haze in Singapore has brought the predictable round of complaints, analysis, hand-wringing and soul-searching, but the problem never seems to improve. To establish a basis for action, it is critical to link policy solutions with evidence about the health impact of haze – on Indonesia’s own residents.

However, exacerbating these challenges are patterns of behaviour that are beyond the reach of government. Effective solutions will materialise only after an evolution in Indonesia’s popular and political attitudes regarding forest burning.

One way to interpret the haze challenge is as an economic development and poverty issue. Lacking attractive alternatives to land clearance, farmers opt for the most expedient solution available. This is the same rationally self-interested calculus that people undertake daily before almost any decision. In burning vegetation, farmers pursue what they believe is the best available alternative, regardless of the longer-term costs to a distant and wealthy island. Economists would describe the haze as a negative externality – the unwanted impact of an action on parties (for example, citizens and states) that have no opportunity to negotiate against it.

In 1965, Singapore was a poor cousin to Indonesia. Now, Singapore is the wealthy and influential cousin (and one for whom few have sympathy). Many Indonesians probably fail to believe that they should sacrifice their own often fragile livelihoods to appease a highly developed neighbour.

The policy battlefield should now move from the banquet tables of regional summits to the hearts and minds of Indonesian citizens. Winning their support for stricter regulation and enforcement is a bipartite strategy.

Unfortunately, the haze problem has been cast as a burden primarily on Singapore, but it also negatively affects Indonesia itself. Based on a pattern of policy inaction, one is tempted to assume that Indonesia is either reluctant to acknowledge the impact on its own people, or refuses to believe that haze is a problem worth serious attention.

Furthermore, some farmers may understand the negative impact on broader Indonesian society but still refuse to change their behaviour. Therefore, Singapore is asserting negotiating power by pressing Indonesia for legislative action. Despite repeated apologies from its presidents, Indonesia’s Parliament spent more than a decade refusing to support a 2002 Asean pact to prevent forest burning; it was finally ratified last year.

Even if Indonesia agrees to further anti-burning measures or name-and-shame efforts against blameworthy companies, such policies stand little chance of being properly implemented. As history indicates, many Indonesian legislative actions – addressing everything from corruption to pollution – have failed to generate substantive change. The same would likely happen to haze management legislation.

To make progress in solving this complex challenge, the Indonesian public must be convinced that haze is bad for them, and this begins with credible evidence. There is currently no published study that estimates the cost of haze to Indonesia in terms of health, productivity and foreign direct investment or FDI (as has already been done for Singapore and Malaysia).

Investors may avoid the country for concern not only about macro-economic conditions, inadequate infrastructure and traffic congestion, but also about environmental issues such as water and air pollution. Indonesia’s young population needs hundreds of thousands of new jobs created each year, requiring sustained FDI.

This effort will be compromised unless environmental and economic conditions are substantially improved, and political pressure to address such concerns will be minimal without greater public awareness.

To address the indirect causes of haze commonly discussed, there are few feasible policy options.

A 2014 paper by National University of Singapore researchers describes several factors worsening the haze challenge, including resource-exploitative growth policies and weak forestry governance (regulatory enforcement and property rights).

Diplomatic pressure is unlikely to change the first, and improving the second is doubtful without political support. For example, it is unlikely that Indonesia will agree to strict and binding regional agreements that limit growth policy options or expose citizens to legal action.

Spot-solutions, such as Singapore’s offer of helicopter support to douse fires or Indonesia’s recent declaration of a state of emergency, generate splashy headlines and give the impression of progress, but target only the symptoms.

Therefore, the policy battlefield should now move from the banquet tables of regional summits to the hearts and minds of Indonesian citizens. Winning their support for stricter regulation and enforcement is a bipartite strategy.

First, an effort must be made to gather data and generate robust evidence about the domestic impact of Indonesian haze. Singapore can turn to its own world-class universities and research centres to conduct such studies.

Secondly, the findings must be expressed in an easily understood way and disseminated widely through the media and other conduits. This should not be a one-off publicity blast, but a sustained awareness initiative that targets the public and enlists the support of advocacy groups, non-governmental organisations and, ultimately (through domestic political pressure), government officials.

Public understanding of the haze crisis in Indonesia should be as common as basic literacy, and at least as embedded as the public’s knowledge of common health and safety issues such as pesticides, smoking and sanitation. This may not produce the instant solution that some believe would result from aggressive diplomatic action such as boycotts and sanctions.

However, haze mitigation would be far more durable across political cycles because increased awareness often leads to deeply rooted interest in a policy issue. Indeed, an educated public is the most powerful force for change.

• The first writer is Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore. The second is a doctoral candidate at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.


Blow Emissions Away & Cut Coal Out

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Blow Emissions Away & Cut Coal Out

Singapore-based The Blue Circle is working with Vestas, the world’s biggest wind energy supplier, to help turn Southeast Asia away from its current dependence on coal and other harmful fossil fuels. The way the region is going, it could well become the world’s leading CO2 emitter by 2035, highlighting the urgent need to integrate more renewable power into its energy mix. Wind power could also be a solution for southern Vietnam’s energy shortage, as well as its coal and diesel dependence, in an area badly impacted by damaging floods in August. Read more

The Blue Circle And Vestas Joins Hands On Wind Power Developlment In Southeast Asia

EQ International magazine 18 September 2015

A collaboration agreement to develop a project pipeline of up to 688 MW across Southeast Asia was signed between The Blue Circle, a Singapore-based renewable energy project developer, and global wind power giant Vestas Wind Systems in Singapore recently.

According to the five-year plan set out in the collaboration agreement, the two parties will have their initial focus on Thailand and then explore further wind power opportunities in Vietnam and Indonesia.”

This agreement shows Vestas’ commitment to help make wind power happen in Southeast Asia following the rest of the world’s six-fold increase of wind installed capacity during the last 10 years. We are thrilled by this collaboration agreement with the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer which is going to bring its latest on-shore turbine technology for low wind speed sites to Southeast Asia with us,” says Olivier Duguet, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The Blue Circle Pte Ltd.

“Having Armstrong Asset Management as shareholders, EREN Renewables as development partners and Vestas Wind Systems as preferred technology providers will build a strong ecosystem of world and Southeast Asia leaders for our teams in Singapore and across the region to build success upon.” adds Olivier Duguet.”

Vestas is honored to be chosen as preferred technology partner by The Blue Circle for their projects being developed in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia.  We look forward to working with our partners in the coming years to unlock these wind power opportunities. We will support the development of this project pipeline in Southeast Asia, making use of our global experience in delivering wind energy in 74 countries around the world and leveraging our strong technical expertise”, said Anders Runevad, Group Chief Executive Officer & President of Vestas Wind Systems A/S.

Out of 318 Gigawatts of world wind power installed capacity counted by the REN21* at the end of 2014, only 0.5 Gigawatt was installed in Southeast Asia, very far from the 92 Gigawatts installed in China or the 20 Gigawatts installed in India. However, several countries have issued positive regulations or tariffs for renewable energy and wind these past two years, notably  Thailand, Indonesia, The Philippines and Vietnam.

The cut in the ASEAN US$51b annual fossil fuel subsidies at the beginning of the year by major economies in the region (i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand) is also going in the right direction and adding to the potential positive momentum behind renewable power.

As pointed out by the International Energy Agency**, Southeast Asia energy demand, with its 600 million inhabitants, is expected to increase by 80% between today and 2035, a rise equivalent to the current demand of Japan. If its current emphasis on coal power is confirmed, Southeast Asia might become the world’s leading CO2 emitter by 2035, highlighting the urgent need to integrate more renewable power into the region’s energy mix.


Also Vestas, The Blue Circle and REM,

20 August 2015



Call for Wind Power to Solve


Vietnam’s Summer Energy Shortage

“If multiplied by the wind sites’ potential along Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces coastline, wind power could well be a solution for southern Vietnam’s energy shortage, as well as its coal and diesel dependence. We can easily foresee between 500 and 700 megawatts installed in the next 4 years if the financing conditions improve.”

This is the view of Olivier Duguet, CEO of The Blue Circle, Singapore-based developer of wind projects in Southeast Asia.

On 5 August, EVN (Electricity of Vietnam), Vietnam’s monopolistic utility, requested Vietnam Coal and Mineral Industries Group (Vinacomin) to boost domestic thermal coal production to avoid electricity disruption in Southern Vietnam (1).

Actually, the coal reserves at Duyen Hai 1 and Vinh Tan 2, the two largest thermal power plants in South Vietnam, are running as low as 10 days of consumption. According to Truong Duy Nghia, Chairman of the Vietnam Thermal Science and Technology Society, “the South will suffer an electricity shortage if the two plants don’t have coal to run”.

While the power demand in Vietnam could reach 473 million kWh a day in August, lower than the peak demand of 536.8 million kWh reached in 3 July, EVN announced the suspension of gas supply for Ca Mau 1 and Ca Mau 2 power stations for scheduled maintenance from 16 to 26 August (2).

The two gas fired power plants have a total combined capacity of 1,500 megawatts and their temporary shut-down will force EVN to boost the 3,600 megawatts O Mon diesel thermal power plants production to specifically supply South Vietnam.

Electricity demand in Vietnam is forecasted to increase by 11.4% per year for the period 2016-2020 and the peak demand to reach 800 million kWh in 2030. The Master plan VII sets renewable energy target at 5.6% of total primary energy consumption by 2020 and 9.4% by 2030. Within renewables, the Government’s target for wind power is 1,000 megawatts installed by 2020 and 6,200 megawatts by 2030.

The power situation will be very tense in South Vietnam until the end of August following potential pollution of the UNESCO World Heritage site Ha Long Bay from floodwater runoff of open pit coal mines earlier in the month.

Thousands of tons were swept away by torrential rains in the Quang Ninh province, impacting also the coal-fired power plant in this Northern province. Coal has also been linked in April with population protests against air pollution by the power station in Vinh Tan Commune in Southern Binh Thuan province, leading to the Province Chairman expressing official concern (3).

Far from environmental disaster and power disruption, wind energy could be a useful complement to balance the grid, lower fossil fuel consumption, as well as CO2 emissions.

On its two  sites under development in Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces, The Blue Circle has two wind measuring mast installed. Given the wind speeds recorded between 7 July and 7 August on these two met masts, the Singapore-based wind engineering team has assessed that an installed wind power project would have produced 18,200 MWh during the last month, according to the two sites’ expected sizes and conditions.

Although the summer months usually experience lower wind speeds in Southern Vietnam, the actual location of The Blue Circle wind projects – very well exposed to Southeast winds – would produce enough electricity to power a city of 200,000 inhabitants, based on International Energy Agency 2011 Vietnam electricity consumption per capita estimates (4).



(1)   –puts-high-hopes-on-red-river-coal-basin.html



(4)              According to International Energy Agency 2011 Vietnam electricity consumption per capita estimates,



About The Blue Circle

The Blue Circle is a developer of wind and solar energy projects in Southeast Asia. The Singapore based company looks to bridge the gap in project development in the region by bringing international project development experience, financial expertise and capabilities together with local market understanding. Its growth strategy is twofold: through the development of its own projects and through partnership with local developers. By being vertically integrated and having its own wind engineering team, The Blue Circle can identify green field sites, pursue project development milestones up until financing and operating of the generating assets.


Carbon War-room, party room & Prime Minister’s hot seat. Now on global stage as innovative leader for a Clean Energy Future?

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Carbon War-room, party room & Prime Minister’s hot seat. Now on global stage as innovative leader for a Clean Energy Future?

When hearing that Malcolm Turnbull and Sir Richard Branson met in Australia on 11 September, Ken Hickson noted on Facebook: “These two have my vote. I’ve met them both. They’re leaders with a heart and committed to a future for life on earth. Besides his Virgin empire, Sir Richard is the founder of Carbon War-room. Check it out”. Three days after that significant meeting, Mr Turnbull suddenly became the Prime Minister of Australia. Stressing hope along with his commitment to innovation, the new leader knows he must tread carefully through the political minefield, but he gives hope to those wanting to see Australia do more to cut its emissions and invest in a clean energy future. Give him time to make his mark. And maybe Sir Richard can help him beyond the former Communications portfolio and help him do battle in the Carbon War-room! Read More


Turnbull appoints a nuclear fan to head energy policy

By Giles Parkinson on 21 September 2015

Print Friendly

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has appointed a strong advocate of nuclear energy in the key resources and energy portfolio as part of sweeping changes to his cabinet and ministry.

Josh Frydenberg, an ally of Tony Abbott who was previously assistant Treasurer, has been named as minister for resources, energy and northern Australia, as part of a reshuffle that sees the portfolio split from industry, innovation and science, which goes to former eduation minister Chris Pyne.

Greg Hunt retains his spot as environment minister, to continue his bluster around Direct Action as a result of Turnbull’s pact with the Liberal Party’s far right wing, and Turnbull has also appointed Jamie Briggs to be Minister for Cities and the Built Environment, in an appointment welcomed by the Green Building Council and others.

Gone in the reshuffle are two square pegs that Abbott tried to fit into round holes – the Industry minister Ian Macfarlane, who didn’t see much of a role for wind or solar in his energy portfolio, and was loved by incumbent industries, and Bob Baldwin, the assistant environment minister who didn’t think much of climate science. Frydenberg’s former senior minister Joe Hockey, the treasurer who – like Abbott – found wind turbines to be “utterly offensive” is also gone.

Frydenberg also has strong views on energy, and in particularly nuclear energy. He made it one of his three major issues when he made his maiden speech to parliament in October, 2010, and then made a series of speeches and articles pushing the technology.

In The Australian newspaper in early 2011, Frydenberg said nuclear was safe and cheap, and expected that sometime soon nuclear plants could likely be constructed within 2 ½ years. He also quoted nuclear advocate Ziggy Switkowski as saying that Australia could be 90 per cent powered by nuclear energy by 2050.

That article appeared in late January, 2011, just six weeks before the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan. Frydenberg hasn’t had much to say about nuclear energy since then, and indeed appears to have made no reference to it in any speeches posted on his website. He has, though, praised shale gas, and in that doesn’t differ much from his predecessor.

The market has changed remarkably since that time. Solar energy has transformed the outlook for global energy markets, and Australia’s in particular, and battery storage will hasten that transition.

Most major energy companies, and indeed grid operators in countries like the UK, say large centralized generators will become a thing of the past. The future is seen as one based around decentralised energy, with flexibility the key. The biggest utilities in Europe and the US are separating their fossil fuel interests to focus on renewables.

Nuclear, on the other hand, is being priced out of the market in all but those countries with central command and controls. In the US, even nuclear power stations built decades ago can no longer compete with renewables and gas, and the handful of plants being built in the US and Europe are already running well over budget, and taking years longer than planned. Even France is slashing its nuclear share by one third due to soaring costs.

In an interview with ABC Radio National on Monday morning, it was difficult to get a sense of any of that change, nor was there any sense that Frydenberg had grasped the key tenet of the Turnbull platform, about embracing the future rather than the past.

Frydenberg simply repeated the Abbott-government era chants about energy – that cutting of the renewable energy target to 33,000GWh from 41,000GWh was an “outstanding result”, and how Australia has huge opportunities to lift its energy exports to an energy hungry world.

OK, so it’s his first day on the job. But Frydenberg will soon find – if he has honest advisors within the department – that it is no longer as simple as that. China and India are winding back imports of thermal coal, and may even stop them altogether by the end of the decade.

The price of LNG is also falling, along with the oil price, and even the AFR, in a front page story, questioned whether the $200 billion in massive LNG price would generate a return on investment.

In the domestic energy market, change is afoot, but the regulators are reacting way too slowly. In two key states, Western Australia and South Australia, daytime demand is expected to be met with just rooftop solar within the next decade. Frydenberg says wind and solar will have “a role to play” in Australia’s energy mix. It will be more than that.

Such change will require new, not old, thinking about the delivery of energy systems in Australia, and the structure of markets – allowing the private capital and investment from consumers, both household and business, to be exploited, but in such a way that it can reduce the cost of the grid and generation, and deliver industry wide benefits.

The incumbent utilities recognise this challenge, to varying degrees, but seem more interested in protecting their current business models, revenues and profits, and are able to do so by their influence over a slow moving, backward looking and sympathetic regulatory environment.

But that’s not to say Frydenberg and those with his views are not for changing. WA energy minister Mike Nahan, a climate change doubting, pro-nuclear, anti-renewables head of the Institte of Public Affairs, now recognises that the future of energy will be centred around solar and distributed energy. And he is scathing of slow moving regulators.

Frydenberg’s only available working document is the energy white paper produced by his predecessor, which completely ignored climate change as an issue, and as a result downplayed the need, and the likelihood of change.

Frydenberg, though, is thought to be a “big picture” man, apparently from his time as an advisor to former foreign minister Alexander Downer.

He will find that put to the test. As Vince Hawksworth, the head of Trustpower, the second biggest investor in renewables in Australia, the country needs a long term energy vision. This is the central point of Turnbull’s rhetoric, but it will take some work – and overcoming of vested interests – to put a realistic one in place.

Key to Turnbull’s rhetoric around welcoming new technologies should be the Clean Energy Finance Corp and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. Both have been targeted for closure under the Abbott regime, but the fate of both is still not known.

Frydenberg suggested it was not an issue for him, but for Hunt. That is confusing, because the CEFC was supposedly under the auspices of Treasury and Finance. There are still a few things to settle down.


Healthier People in Green Buildings & Sustainable Cities

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Healthier People in Green Buildings & Sustainable Cities

Green buildings, energy efficiency, green living, smart cities and responsible urbanism. They all surfaced as high priority issues and opportunities to make Singapore a strong contender for the title of host city for what turned out be a very real “International Sustainability Week”. It was marked by high level involvement from global organisations, as well as a host of business leaders, academics, professionals, along with smart direction from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), which announced its world-first Sky Lab project. Read More

Ken Hickson reports:

Dominating the “International sustainability Week” was the high-powered International Green Building Conference, which rose to new heights as a platform for global experts and case studies of best practices from around the world.

While the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) as hosts, made sure there was suitable attention given to local milestones, including the announcement of the world’s first high-rise rotatable laboratory for the tropics, Skylab, they could not outshine the high level participation from noted international leaders in green buildings, including the very eloquent Terri Wills, CEO of the World Green Building Council



- New Green Mark 2015 to further drive sustainable outcomes for Singapore

- BCA SkyLab, world’s first high-rise rotatable laboratory for the tropics, unveiled

- Positive trends on building energy performance observed in the BCA Building Energy

Benchmarking Report (BEBR) 2015

Singapore, 2 September 2015 – Guest-of-Honour Mr Choi Shing Kwok, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, announced the new Green Mark 2015 and details of the BCA SkyLab, the world’s first high-rise rotatable laboratory for the tropics, at the opening ceremony of the Singapore Green Building Week (SGBW) 2015 held at Marina Bay Sands. He also shared key findings from the second BCA Building Energy Benchmarking Report (BEBR) and latest green initiatives rolled out by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Launch of the Green Mark 2015 (refer to Factsheet A) 2 In its commemorative 10th year for BCA Green Mark scheme this year, BCA has introduced a new version of the Green Mark scheme called the “Green Mark 2015” to further push the boundaries on environmental sustainability. The Green Mark 2015 was developed through a collaborative framework involving more than 100 industry specialists and experts, and 12 taskforces led by BCA. The collaboration was complemented by extensive consultation with industry bodies and academia. This version, which was developed for new non-residential buildings, will incorporate key changes, with an expanded focus to address sustainability in a more balanced and holistic manner.

Green Mark 2015 has been structured into four main sections:

(i) Climatic Response,

(ii) Building Energy Performance

(iii) Resource Stewardship

(iv) Smart & Healthy Building.

A bonus section on advanced green building efforts is included, to spur efforts beyond requirements.

Key benefits for building occupants and users include a stronger emphasis on indoor environmental quality in relation to enhanced health and well-being, and buildings that are  equipped with smart controls and analytics to assist in the management and optimisation of building resources

The revamped scheme will enable projects to analyse its energy effectiveness in both the optimisation of energy efficiency as well as energy consumption. Greater recognition for renewable energy will be considered; this will accelerate solar PV adoption by further encouraging the use of renewable energy through solar feasibility studies and solar ready roof design. The scheme is launched for piloting and will be fine-tuned before full implementation.

Dr John Keung, Chief Executive Officer of BCA, commented, “Green Mark 2015 will play a more prominent role in driving and communicating sustainability outcomes in Singapore, as buildings consume more than 30% of the total electricity. It will recognise the leadership of building owners who drive improvements to the overall environmental credentials of projects. Such leadership by the building owner will add a layer of accountability and integrity to the projects teams in business sustainability reporting.”

The World’s First High-Rise Rotatable Laboratory for the Tropics – The BCA SkyLab

Guest-of-Honour Mr Choi Shing Kwok also unveiled the details of the BCA SkyLab. It will be the world’s first high-rise rotatable laboratory for the tropics with state-of-the-art facilities for testing and development of innovative energy-efficient building technologies.

Built on the rooftop of a new building at the BCA Academy, the BCA SkyLab is constructed on a rotatable platform to enable tests to be carried out at any orientation to the sun and wind. The BCA SkyLab is part of BCA’s plans to further accelerate the pace of research, development and application of energy-efficient building technologies. .

Developed in collaboration with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in California, the BCA SkyLab complements BCA’s existing Zero Energy Building (ZEB to develop green building research and development efforts in Singapore. BCA SkyLab is expected to be completed with a pipeline of technologies to start test-bedding by the first half of next year.

Dr John Keung, CEO of BCA said, “With the BCA SkyLab, we are moving another step closer to the ambitious goal of achieving ‘low-energy high-rise” buildings and “zeroenergy low-rise’ buildings in the tropics. BCA will work closely with the industry and academia to drive innovation in green building design, construction and maintenance to make this possible.”

Release of the BCA Building Energy Benchmarking Report 2015 (refer to Factsheet C)

Dr John Keung, CEO of BCA said, “With our green building policies and energy performance monitoring strategy firmly in place, we hope to see steady and sustained improvement year on year. I am confident Singapore is well on track to achieve our national target to green 80% of our building stock, and contribute to the achievement of Singapore’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution.”


Transforming Data Centers with Sustainability Guarantees

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Transforming Data Centers with Sustainability Guarantees

Green Global Solutions Founder and CEO Bob Sharon put his finger on it when he addressed the Datacenter Dynamics Converged big industry event in Singapore last week, drawing attention to what the industry needs to do to cut their significant energy use as they are known to be excessive consumers of power, consuming up to 3% of all global electricity production, and roughly ten times more per square metre than the average office. Why is there a reluctance by data centres to adopt energy efficient and sustainable practices? Read more

Editors note: Normally we would spell “Data Centre” this way. But as the name of the event and the media organisation organising it is quite clearly “Datacenter Dynamics”, we decided to be consistent – for this article at least – and spell in thus – “data center”.  

Green Global Solutions at Datacenter Dynamics Converged

Bob Sharon tells how Data Centers and the IT industry can overcome the reluctance to adopt energy efficient and sustainable practices

Report By Ken Hickson

Green Global Solutions made a big impression at the “most influential gathering of data center and IT professionals in South East Asia” through the involvement of its Founder and CEO Bob Sharon as a forthright speaker, through its eye-catching, well-placed exhibit and through the media coverage it achieved by making two significant partnership announcements at the show.

The event itself – Datacenter Dynamics Converged from 15-16 September at Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands – was well attended by industry heavyweights and those with their fingers on the pulse of data centers with significant developments and challenges ever present.

Bob Sharon put his finger on it when he addressed the gathering. He drew attention to data center trends but paid most attention to what the industry and operators need to do to cut their significant energy use as they are known to be excessive consumers of power, consuming up to 3% of all global electricity production, and roughly ten times more per square metre than the average office.

Why, Bob asked the audience, is there a reluctance to adopt energy efficient and sustainable practices, in spite of the talk and incentives – from Governments and industry – to “green” data centers?

Quoting from the latest Green House Data survey, he set out the facts:

• Only 28% of respondents were metering their energy use

• A meagre 9% were taking advantage of free cooling

• Only 22% were early adopters in raising Data Centre temperatures

• 28% had chosen green service providers for their infrastructure needs

• Only 16% were engaging in aisle containment

• A little more than half (56%) were engaged in e-waste recycling.


He then poses the “Why are these figures so poor?”

Is it because there’s uncertainty over the future of on-premises Data Centers?  Of even the risks associated with change – even to save money?  Maybe it’s because of confusion over which applications can move to a Cloud environment?

Even more likely, Bob thinks, is some haven’t been able build the business case for change? Or maybe it’s just personal. Some industry professionals are not sure what their role will be in a year or two?

For an industry that has the latest technology at its disposal, when asked whether cloud computing will make any difference, 67% of IT professionals responded that the cloud will make enterprise computing more environmentally friendly,  while 33% said the cloud wasn’t any greener than traditional infrastructure.

When asked if the Data Center industry would be more sustainable by 2018, 46% said that was important only for business or cost reasons, while 36% reported they were important for both business and environmental reasons, 10% said efficiency and sustainability were not widespread concerns in the Data Centre industry, while the remaining 8% said going green was for Corporate Sustainability or environmental reasons only.

As an experienced IT professional himself who decided to embark on a mission to bring about an energy efficiency revolution for data centers – and any other mission critical facilities and buildings, Bob decided that his company could guarantee sustainability results.  A guarantee that no other company seems prepared to make.

The man who has introduced tried and true systems to industry and buildings knows that it is possible to achieve significant optimisation and efficiency by addressing IT infrastructure and energy performance.

The days of throwing hardware at problems are gone, he says, so we must address all equipment, processes and the building itself.

Paramount is Data Center cooling, identified as the largest single expense after IT load. Also very important to consider is the age of the building and equipment. Can they be retrofitted and optimised?  Containment and leakage must be considered, as well as location and single points of failure.

It is very apparent to Bob that most data centre operators – large or small – need to find a trusted advisor who is agnostic but qualified.  Committed to the outcomes, driven by results and prepared to take overall responsibility.

From work Green Global Solutions has undertaken in Australia for data centers and mission critical facilities, results can be achieved that are measurable and significant. Energy savings in the order of 50% and 70% have been possible.

Bob makes it clear that for data centers, acknowledged to be big energy guzzlers, these sort of savings means much improved business outcomes.

Green Global Solutions had a clear message at the Datacenter Dynamics Converged event that it’s in business to make a difference. To help those operators large and small to achieve results – guaranteed sustainability results – and improve the reputation of the data center industry itself.

Bob makes it clear that Green Global is not pretending it can do this alone – and with that in mind he announced two significant partnerships with other key professional businesses at the event which were reported in the media.

One significant move for Green Global involved joining CenturyLink’s Channel Alliance Program, which gives members the opportunity to leverage CenturyLink’s solutions, services, training, support and tools, as was reported through the extensive ARN network news.

“Green Global Solutions founder and chief executive, Bob Sharon, said the company’s inclusion in the program allows Green Global to consult CenturyLink for enhanced capabilities to provide IT solutions to its clients.

“In return, CenturyLink will receive consultancy from Green Global Solutions regarding guiding its Digital/IT Transformation clients in moving from private to public and hybrid Cloud,” the ARN report added.

Another major partnership announcement involved “a deal with an Indian data services provider here to deliver superior energy efficiency solutions to their Asia Pacific customers,” according to the influential Economic Times of India.

The press report from its Singapore correspondent Gurdip Singh continued:

“Australia-based Green Global Solutions which has its Asia Pacific office here (in Singapore), said it will be entitled to deploy ‘GFS Crane DCIM’ software during its consulting engagements with Data Centre customers.

“The real-time measurements and analytic reports of power and environmental conditions from ‘GFS Crane DCIM’ would enable the Green Global team to deliver accelerated and superior outcomes of energy efficiency, risk, cooling and sustainability recommendations to data centre owners and operators, it said.

This partnership will for the first time extend the reach of the company’s products across Asia Pacific, Founder- Director of Kolkata-based GreenField Software Shekhar Dasgupta said.

“I am confident our association would provide significant value to Green Global’s Data Centre customers looking to improve operational efficiencies, reduce energy costs, mitigate risks and becoming a greener data centre,” he said.

Ken Hickson, Chairman/CEO of Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA) was invited by Green Global Solutions and the event organisers to attend and write about Datacentre Dynamics Converged.

Sources:,,,, and

Greenfield-Green Global pact for Asian markets

By Gurdip Singh in Foreign Invest India (17 September)

Kolkata-based software company Greenfield Software (GFS) has formed a partnership with Australia’s Green Global Solutions for the Indian and Asian Pacific markets.

Green Global will market GFS Crane Data Centre Infrastructure Management (DCIM) software across Asia Pacific under the non-exclusive partnership.

The GFS Crane DCIM is designed to help data centres control capital costs, reduce operating expenses, and mitigate the risks of failures.

GFS is a major breakthrough for Green Global in India where the Australian company is seeking joint ventures to offer its green infrastructure, mission critical facilities, and digital transformation projects.

“Through this partnership, Green Global Solutions will be entitled to deploy GFS Crane DCIM during its consulting engagements with Data Centre customers,” said Bob Sharon, Founder and CEO of Green Global.

The real-time measurements and analytic reports of power and environmental conditions from GFS Crane DCIM, would enable the Green Global team to deliver accelerated and superior outcomes of energy efficiency, risk, cooling and sustainability recommendations to data centre owners and operators, he said.

“The partnership between Green Global Solutions and GreenField Software goes beyond mere supply cooperation: a collaboration that is geared towards providing enhanced customer service, combined with extensive expert knowledge and consulting services,” he explained.

Green Global Solution’s collaboration with GreenField Software was driven by the industry’s need towards Capital and Operating cost reduction, Risk Management against downtime, and reducing GHG emissions due to Data Centre Operations.

Green Global will market the software from its Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore.

“This is a first Asia Pacific partnership for us. We want to extend the reach of our solution to the Asian market, and later on to emerging countries,” added Shekhar Dasgupta, Founder of Greefield Software.

“We are looking to maturing this partnership for the longer-term,” he stressed.

In India, GFS is looking to supply solutions for monitoring remotely industrial units including Automatic Teller Machines across India. A pilot project, on remote monitoring of ATMs, will started by end of this year, according to Dasgupta.

“We are working with vendors to offer the solution and once it become successful, we will start to sell to the other service providers managing ATMs,” he told

Dasgupta also elaborated on the company’s Crane brand. The Black Himalayan Crane has survived the impact of climate change by changing its migrating path, which has influenced GFS to make it as a brand for its environment-friendly software solutions.


Driving Sustainable Consumption & Production in Southeast Asia

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Driving Sustainable Consumption & Production in Southeast Asia

It is about time that Asia, and even advanced “smart” cities like Singapore, got to grips with reality and embarked on a serious drive towards sustainable consumption and production in line with UN and other international programme, says Ken Hickson on the launch of a private sector initiative.  There’s should be a sense of urgency, as David Fogarty writes, “with Asia’s coastal megacities growing at breakneck speed, insurers fear costly disasters”. Adding to concerns are rising sea levels, more extreme rainfall events and predictions of typhoons and cyclones becoming more powerful because of climate change. Read more

Ken Hickson reports:

On Thursday 13 August 2015, Singapore launched its Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) programme – as a private sector initiative, bringing along community organisations, think tanks and NGOs – to reinforce the United Nations Environment Programme’s international initiative.

At this landmark event at the Singapore Management University, organised by the Singapore chapter of International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN), SASA, Directgreen and the Wee Kim Wee Centre, more than 80 people present endorsed the objectives of SCP and IGPN.

Many offered to promote the very necessary programme to cut consumption, drive sustainable supply chains, green production and green procurement.

This is also consistent with the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint – – and the Zero Waste objective, which is also being promoted by Zero Waste Singapore, started by Eugene Tay, who also attended.

The idea is to collaborate with like-minded organisations – in the public and private sector – and to arrange regular events to draw attention to this principles and practice of Sustainable Consumption and Production.

SASA, Abc carbon express and Directgreen – – will continue to support SCP and its activities and provide a channel of news and information on related activities.

Also present were representatives of APF Group, who have started Brands for Good, as a Singapore initiative to get SME’s to commit to “a sustainable future together” More information or to join go to:

Ken Hickson, along with SASA/IGPN, supports this initiative and consequently he conducted a workshop this month for a number of Brands for Good members at the Singapore Institute of Management. The content of the workshop is available from APF/Brands for Good.

For further information on the UNEP’s 10 year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production go to: or For more on the International Green Purchasing Network(IGPN)  to

As an example of a brand and business which is committed to sustainable consumption and Production, Ken Hickson refers to two great international examples – Unilever and Interface.

Read more about Unilever and the latest aware received by its CEO Paul Polman.

For Interface, as an example of what it does as a totally sustainable business  – the world leader in production of carpet tiles – says this:  “from installation to design, just about every Interface® product and service offers a more environmentally sustainable alternative. In fact, no other flooring company can provide more options to assist you in achieving certified green building status.

We share with our readers an excellent article written by David Fogarty for the Straits Times in Singapore on how important it is for Asian Cities to prepare for the worst impact of climate change. Therefore Sustainable Consumption and Production – along with a switch to renewable energy, an end to deforestation and a commitment to cut energy use – can be part of an effective mitigation and adaption strategy.


Asia’s coastal megacities at nature’s mercy

David Fogarty Assistant Foreign Editor Straits Times (29 August 2015):

Dangers heightened with booming infrastructure and climate change

From Mumbai to Shanghai, Asia’s rapidly expanding coastal megacities face an ever-growing threat from more powerful storms.

Insurers and disaster risk experts say booming infrastructure and business investment, often with little regard to the threats from building close to the sea or rivers, are heightening the dangers.

Hurricane Katrina’s rampage through New Orleans 10 years ago rewrote how insurers and city planners viewed the risks from a direct hit by a major storm, particularly the damage caused by storm surges. Katrina killed more than 1,800 people and flooded 80 per cent of New Orleans with a storm surge of up to 8m. It remains the largest windstorm loss and the costliest disaster in the history of the global insurance industry, causing as much as US$125 billion (S$176 billion) in overall damages and more than US$60 billion in insured losses.

But with Asia’s coastal megacities growing at breakneck speed, insurers fear costly disasters of a similar or greater scale are only a matter of time. Adding to concerns are rising sea levels, more extreme rainfall events and predictions of typhoons and cyclones becoming more powerful because of climate change.

The Asian Development Bank says an estimated 1.2 billion Asians will move into cities over the next 35 years. A large number will likely head to coastal megacities, many of which have industrial parks that are crucial to the global automotive, electronics and appliances trade.

“With such rapid increase in population, the coastal megacities are at high risk from natural hazards,” Ms Preety Bhandari, head of the Asian Development Bank’s Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Division, told The Straits Times. Some cities lacked the capacity to properly plan and regulate urban development, increasing the risk from storms and flooding, she said in an e-mail.


The risk can be significantly reduced when addressed as part and parcel of urban development, thus contributing to greater resilience of the urban areas.

MS PREETY BHANDARI, head of the Asian Development Bank’s Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management Division

Global insurer Allianz recently quantified the risks to Asia’s coastal megacities. In a study released this month, the insurer estimated that losses across the region are expected to rise exponentially. In the next 50 years, Asia will have eight of the world’s 10 cities most exposed to coastal flooding from storm surges and wind damage. These include Mumbai, Tianjin, Bangkok and Tokyo. A decade ago, only three Asian cities were on the top-10 list, all of them in Japan.

By the 2070s, the asset exposure of the world’s large port cities is projected to rise to US$35 trillion, more than 10 times the level of 2005, when Katrina hit. Allianz also found that the growth in exposure is far outpacing take-up of insurance coverage.

Asia has already faced a number of storm disasters, leading cities to take stronger precautions, but more still needs to be done.

The 2011 Thai floods killed nearly 900 people, inundated parts of Bangkok and severely damaged major industrial parks outside the city, causing more than US$10 billion in insurance losses. Many industrial parks quickly built higher flood barriers and some factories raised their production floors.

Floodwaters from tropical storm Ketsana in 2009 rose more than 6m and inundated more than 80 per cent of Manila. Floods in late 2010 and early 2011 also inundated large parts of Australia’s Queensland state, disrupting mining and causing severe damage in Brisbane.

“The events in recent years have resulted in several Asian megacities stepping up their disaster and risk management mitigation efforts,” Mr Mark Mitchell, CEO Asia of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, told The Straits Times, a view echoed by Ms Bhandari.

He pointed to Shanghai installing flood gates and levees to protect the city from major floods. Bangkok has also improved waterways and pumping capacity.

“There is nothing inevitable about a continuing pattern of growing disaster risk,” said Ms Bhandari. “The risk can be significantly reduced when addressed as part and parcel of urban development, thus contributing to greater resilience of the urban areas.”

The Asian Development Bank has invested more than US$10 billion over the past 15 years to implement early storm warning systems in Bangladesh, and extensive flood control projects in Pakistan and Indonesia. Risks, though, remain. Mr Mitchell said China has the biggest flood loss potential for industrial parks and pointed to Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Tianjin as high-risk areas.

The Meteorological Service Singapore (MSS) said scientific studies have shown an increase in the proportion of more intense tropical cyclones in the Western Pacific. It told The Straits Times there was a decreasing trend in tropical cyclones in parts of the South China Sea and an increasing trend along the east coast of China over the past 40 years.

“Most studies do suggest there will not be an increase in the number of storms in the region, and only the intensity will increase,” the MSS said in an e-mail.

Asia’s rising risks are a major concern given the region’s increasingly central role in the global economy.

“It is expected that, in the near term, the coastal megacities of Asia will be battered by stronger tropical cyclones and inundated by coastal flooding,” said Ms Bhandari, adding that nine of the top-10 cities in terms of population exposure were expected to be in Asian developing countries.

“Unfortunately, it will be the poor, living in low-lying hazard-prone areas of these cities and with limited access to basic infrastructure, who are the most at risk,” she said.


Believe this! 100% Renewable Energy is a Realistic Global Target

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Believe this! 100% Renewable Energy is a Realistic Global Target

As the latest study by Greenpeace shows, 100% renewable energy is a realistic aim for the world, as Hawaii shows what is possible, and not only for one island state.  Sindacatum’s Assaad Razzouk writes that as solar power costs just keep on falling, it’s already providing the lowest cost electricity across much of the world. With $7 trillion of investment piling into the sector, the momentum is now unstoppable. Expect to see and hear more about the renewable energy revolution at this year’s Singapore International Energy Week 27-30 October. Read More

100% Renewable Energy for all

Berlin, 21 September 2015 – The investment necessary to move toward 100% renewable energy by 2050 would be more than covered by future savings in fuel costs, according to a ground-breaking new report from Greenpeace, researched in collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR).

For the Greenpeace report on 100% renewables go to this link:

Singapore International Energy Week 2015 to commemorate Singapore’s energy achievements

This year’s Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) 2015 will feature two unique events to commemorate the nation’s 50th anniversary: the Singapore Energy Story exhibition and the SG50 Golden Jubilee reception.

The Singapore Energy Story exhibition will bring to life the critical role that energy has played in powering Singapore’s growth. Through interactive exhibits, viewers will learn about Singapore’s key energy milestones, the individuals behind them, and the steps ahead to ensure a sustainable energy future for Singapore. This exhibition will be open to the public from 27-30 October 2015 at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre during SIEW. Post-SIEW, the exhibition will be displayed at the ARTrium of the Ministry of Communications and Information at Hill Street, from 23 November to 17 December 2015.  Members of the public are encouraged to view the exhibition to learn more about Singapore’s energy story.  Admission is free.

To celebrate Singapore’s 50th anniversary, SIEW will host the SG50 Golden Jubilee reception at the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands on 26 October 2015 which will be graced by Mr S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Trade and Industry. Invited guests will have the opportunity to enjoy local cuisine and entertainment in this special networking event aimed at “Celebrating SG50 – Where the Energy World Meets”.

The Singapore Energy Summit will feature a new panel with speakers Charif Souki, Chairman and CEO Cheniere Energy, and Peter Coleman, Managing Director and CEO Woodside Energy sharing their perspectives on “Gas and Its Role in the Next Energy Transition”.  Other top energy leaders speaking at the Singapore Energy Summit this year include Datuk Wan Zulkiflee bin Wan Ariffin, President and Group CEO of Petronas, Jin-Yong Cai, Executive Vice President and CEO of International Finance Corporation, and Aaron A. Domingo, Executive Vice President & COO of Meralco.



The $7 trillion solar tsunami in our midst

Assaad W Razzouk report (31st July 2015)

Never mind government inaction (or worse) on climate change, writes Assaad W Razzouk. Solar power costs just keep on falling, and it’s already providing the lowest cost electricity across much of the world. With $7 trillion of investment piling into the sector, the momentum is now unstoppable.

Up to $7 trillion through 2030 is available to back renewable energy projects, with possibly up to half flowing into emerging markets. That’s the kind of climate action that actually produces results.

While world leaders have been talking a lot but doing little in the run-up to the UN climate conference in December, the private sector has been forcefully tackling climate change.

A solar tsunami is sweeping across the globe and politicians would do well to recognise its importance and help it along.

Falling costs and financial market innovations are making solar the preferred power option in many countries – and the tsunami is only getting started.

Solar energy is already the cheapest form of electricity in many countries – well on its way to becoming the absolute cheapest everywhere by 2025.

In many countries endowed with sun, the cost of solar power generation is already below 5 cents per kilowatt – a level competitive with any power generation source, including coal and gas. In a leading solar country like Germany, costs have declined with as much as 40% over the last three years.

And that’s before battery storage systems – which will transform the utility of solar power systems by storing the electricity for use when the sun’s not shining – become ubiquitous and cheap, as they appear set to do over the next three to five years.

Globally, solar costs are decreasing, and will continue to, irrespective of conditions in any particular country. Since 2008, the price of solar photovoltaic (panels) has fallen by a record 80% and is expected to continue even without any technological breakthroughs.

Increased adoption rates also mean that most scenarios out there fundamentally underestimate how fast clean energy can – and will – take over our energy systems. Last year’s record amount of solar power added to the world’s grids means that the cumulative capacity now is one hundred times higher than it was in 2000. For the first time ever, Europe is even producing more power from renewables than from nuclear.

The solar tsunami is rolling on unstoppably because of falling costs, helped along by new financial instruments and backed by potentially trillions of dollars.

Trillions of dollars in renewable financing

Financial innovation is playing a critical role in driving the solar tsunami forward. New financial instruments include green bonds and publicly-listed companies that invest in renewable energy assets with a stable and growing cash flow, which is distributed as dividends to shareholders. These help ensure that the ongoing clean energy revolution will be backed by massive financial strength.

Because investors are willing to pay a premium for the predictable and growing dividend that the new financial instruments provide, renewables are acquire a cost of capital previously only available to fossil fuel projects – allowing the industry to operate on a par with Big Oil and Big Gas at least in terms of its cost of money. More than $40 billion has already been mobilized for renewables projects this year and we are on course to reach $100 billion by the end of the year.

Up to $7 trillion (yes, trillion) in capital through 2030 is available to back renewable energy projects, with possibly up to half flowing into emerging markets. That’s the kind of climate action that actually produces results.

Forcefully backing the private sector’s efforts in building out dominant clean energy systems worldwide – and innovating to do more, faster – is our best bet to counter the coming climate change catastrophe. This is also where governments should focus their efforts.

What governments should do

Given the solar tsunami, what should governments aim for at the UN Climate Talks in Paris at the end of this year?

We can’t stop them doing what they do: Cobbling together a sort of agreement to sort of set emission reduction targets for countries that sort of would like to participate. But to move the needle, they need to acknowledge and back the on-going solar (and clean energy) tsunami.

First, this means supporting capital markets innovations by directing multi-lateral institutions (such the International Finance Corporation, the Asian Development Bank and others), development banks (such the U.S.’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation or Germany’s KfW) and other similar entities to back emerging new financial instruments as a priority; and to roll-out similar instruments in developing countries such as India, China and Brazil.

Second, they should continue to push for carbon pricing to be introduced in as many countries as possible, while working towards the removal of all fossil fuel subsidies.

Astoundingly, there continues to be constant claims that clean energy is “too expensive”, conveniently forgetting that society subsidizes fossil fuels to the extent of $5.3 trillion each year: dirty energy only seems cheap if you don’t account for all the destruction it causes.

Third, they should cut the double-talk. The G7, the G20 and the OECD continue to make clear commitments to fight climate change while sending billions of dollars to support fossil fuels use each year.

This export support, aid and general finance extended towards fossil fuels perpetuates their use, exacerbates climate change and encourages the financial markets to avoid putting a risk premium on the cost of capital of oil, gas and coal companies commensurate with the true cost of their activities to human health, the environment and society.


Solar roaring ahead

Thanks to falling costs and financial innovations, the solar tsunami will roar ahead today and over the coming years with or without government support.

But politicians can help the speed at which the tsunami advances by supporting capital market innovations on a global level and optimising market conditions by introducing carbon pricing, cutting fossil fuel subsidies and re-directing aid from fossil fuel projects to renewables.

This will not only help the climate, but also benefit the politicians themselves. Only by recognising the true extent of the private sector’s solar tsunami will governments become relevant again in the fight against climate change. Regrettably, they aren’t today.

Assaad Razzouk is the CEO and co-founder of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, a clean energy company based in Singapore, and an expert in climate and clean energy policy and markets. Twitter: @AssaadRazzouk


Hawaii turns its back on LNG as it pursues 100% renewable energy

By Scott Cooney on 25 August 2015


The Asia Pacific Resilience Summit kicked off this morning, an event that showcases clean tech solutions for island grids, communities, and military applications across the Pacific. The opening keynote speaker, Governor David Ige, wasted no time in making major headlines, stating, for the first time publicly, a strong opposition to proposed LNG projects.

Ige led off the session describing the state’s position as a leader in clean tech. He said that the state is moving firmly in the direction of its Renewable Portfolio Standard mandate of 100% by 2045, the most aggressive RPS in the nation. Ige expressed general support of moving the state toward a clean tech future, but most interestingly, he addressed the import of LNG head on.

For a little backstory, Hawaii has been considering importing LNG as a “bridge” or “transitional” fuel to help us reduce our dependence on imported oil (right now, 75% or more of Hawaii’s electricity is produced by diesel generators). Ige pointed out that when the talk of LNG first started, proponents pointed out many potential benefits (reduced costs of fuel and less emissions than diesel, American made fuels, low cost of infrastructure retrofits, etc.).

Ige said that many of these assumptions, whether they were accurate at the beginning of the debate or not, are no longer accurate. He said that his administration has considered the costs of retrofitting or building new generating capacity based on LNG, and found that they didn’t make economic sense for Hawaii.

He pointed out that there are many questions and considerations yet to be answered about the import of LNG including the harbor infrastructure and shipping needs. He specifically stated that he had no desire to put any of Hawaii’s communities through the protracted battles around LNG’s development, when realistically, there are simply better alternatives.

He pointed out that while LNG may have some emission benefits, “It’s still a fossil fuel”. And, perhaps most pointedly, he pointed out that it will not help us to get to a 100% renewable future, and that every dollar spent on LNG infrastructure is a missed opportunity to spend that dollar developing Hawaii-based renewable energy, where all the money stays in Hawaii’s economy.

Ige made clear that his administration will not approve LNG infrastructure. Ige said that Hawaii Gas, the utility in Hawaii that handles natural gas and has been pushing for the import of LNG as part of Hawaii’s energy mix, will still have access to gas, but it will not be from imported LNG while he is in office.

While he didn’t specify, I believe he was referring to natural gas harvest from wastewater treatment plants and landfills, a virtually untapped resource in Hawaii.


Thought Leadership to Address Industry & Buildings for Energy Efficiency & Better Performance

Posted by Ken on September 24, 2015
Posted under Express 212

Thought Leadership to Address Industry & Buildings for Energy Efficiency & Better Performance

Energy efficiency experts from near and far will be on hand to talk about the achievements and the shortcomings in efforts to save and manage energy in Singapore and globally. The occasion is the fourth National Energy Efficiency Conference in Singapore which will be held on 6 and 7 October. Its main objective is to provide thought leadership in energy efficiency, bringing together experts and industry energy professionals to share best practices and case studies of successful projects. Read More

The 2-day National Energy Efficiency Conference (NEEC) 2015 will be held on 6 and 7 October 2015 at the MAX Atria @ Singapore EXPO.

This is the fourth NEEC organized by the National Environment Agency, in partnership with the Economic Development Board and the Energy Market Authority.

The NEEC is part of the learning network of the EENP programme. Its main objective is to provide thought leadership in energy efficiency, bringing together energy efficiency experts and industry energy professionals to share best practices and case studies of successful projects.

Its starts with the Opening Ceremony and Presentation of EENP Awards 2015.

The EENP Awards aims to foster a culture of sustained energy efficiency improvement in industry, especially the major energy consuming industries. The EENP Awards also aims to encourage companies to adopt a proactive approach towards energy management by identifying and sharing best practices for companies to emulate.

The first of the Keynote Presentations will be on:

Energy efficiency as a strategy in times of uncertain energy prices

It will be presented by Dr Stefan Schmitt, Regional CEO Asia Pacific, ThyssenKrupp. He will cover: Energy Efficiency measures in an evolving landscape of regulations – Why it is important and how we approached it, based on the experience at ThyssenKrupp, a global diversified industrial.

Presenters to look out for include Mr James Day, Managing Director, Lumileds Singapore Pte Ltd Lumileds Singapore – Energy Conservation program; Mr Adrian Bukmanis, Teale Asia on “Overcoming the challenges of delivering EMIS – practical examples from the field”; Prof Hellwig Runa Tabea, Associate Professor / Cluster Director, Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), NUS on Solar thermal application for industrial process heat in the tropics: prospects and challenges, and Mr Norman Lee, Managing Director, Actsys Process Management Consultants Pte Ltd, The Good, Bad and Ugly of Organisations for Energy Efficiency.

To provide some further insight into the programme for NEEC 2015, here’s a glimpse at Plenary Session 1 on “Energy management excellence”, which will have SASA’s Ken Hickson as Moderator:

Speaker 1: James Day (Managing Director, Lumileds Singapore Pte Ltd) – Lumileds Singapore – Energy Conservation program

Speaker 2: John Smith (Managing Director, MSD International GmbH (Singapore Branch)) – MSD’s Energy Management System, Target, Achievements and Challenges

Speaker 3: Jagadish Venkatakrishnaiah (CEO, Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company Pte Ltd) – Journey of Energy Efficient Operations – A Systematic Approach

In Breakout Track 1A: Developing an energy efficiency culture

Moderator: Ken Hickson (SASA)

Speaker 1: Nilesh Y Jadhav (Program Director, NTU) – EcoCampus Initiative

Speaker 2: Norman Lee (Managing Director, Actsys) – The Good, Bad and Ugly of organisations for energy efficiency

Speaker 3: Dr Sanjay Kuttan (Director & Country Manager, DNV GL)  – Improving energy efficiency by changing the energy culture

Wednesday 7 October 2015

In Plenary Session 2 on the second day on the topic, “Trends in energy efficiency and solar power”, once again the Moderator is Ken Hickson (SASA):

Speaker 1: Christophe Inglin (Vice Chairman, SEAS &  Managing Director, Energetix Pte Ltd  – Recent trends in solar applications

Speaker 2: Harsh Choudhry (Head of McKinsey’s Green Campus (Singapore), McKinsey & Company) – Energy efficiency through innovative technologies

In the Closing of the Plenary Session and the conference, all speakers will be invited to share and Ken Hickson will moderate, with Michael Quah providing an “Overview of key learning points and opportunities from the NEEC 2015”

For more information and to register, go to: