Green Growth & Business Forum focus on energy investment
For Europe and Asia, green growth offers enormous economic and business opportunities, with the United Kingdom leading the way as world leader in installed capacity of offshore wind generating ten billion pounds of investment and 6,800 skilled jobs. The UK’s International Climate Fund is being deployed in a wide array of initiatives including 112 million pounds to the Global Environmental Facility which has supported projects across ASEAN, including 5 million pounds to a Climate Innovation Centre in Hanoi, and more than 7 million pounds spent in Indonesia to promote low carbon growth. Read More
Green Growth and Business Forum:
A numbers of speakers from the United Kingdom spoke at the Green Growth and Business forum, which was jointly organized by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office/the British High Commission in Singapore, alongside the National Climate Change Secretariat of Singapore, and supported by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
Leading the UK charge was the British Minister of State for the Cabinet Office, responsible for Cities and Constitution, Rt Hon Greg Clark.
He has been responsible for producing two landmark policy papers which set out how the Conservative Government will make Britain a leading player in the low carbon field. One paper was on “The Low Carbon Economy” and the other entitled “Rebuilding Security”.
He pointed out in Singapore that growth offers enormous economic and business opportunities.
The global market for low carbon goods and services has been valued at over three trillion pounds – equivalent to approximately six trillion Singapore dollars – and is growing rapidly at about four percent each year. The UK green goods and services market – the sixth largest in the world – is worth around 128 billion pounds and supports nearly one million jobs.
“Our green goods and services exports are growing at about four percent each year, and we enjoy a trade surplus of more than five billion pounds in these sectors,” Mr Clark told the forum.
Offshore wind, where the UK is already the world leader in installed capacity, has generated ten billion pounds of investment and 6,800 skilled jobs. The UK’s offshore wind industry has been further boosted by the recent decision by Siemens to invest £160 million in wind turbine production in the Hull area; creating 1,000 jobs directly and countless more in the local supply chain.
Technological innovation is also playing a key role with opportunities in energy efficiency, energy management systems and storage, ‘SmartGrid’ technologies, clean transport and alternative energy vehicles; and intelligent data management.
He affirmed that governments can play their part in creating the enabling environment for green growth.
An example is the UK’s Green Investment Bank. Launched in 2012, its mission is to accelerate the UK’s transition to a green economy. The Green Investment Bank is a unique institution. It is a public company, operating unashamedly and unambiguously as a “for profit” bank, but with initial capital of almost 4 billion pounds provided by the UK government.
The Green Investment Bank aims to undertake targeted financial interventions, with the aim of improving the economics of marginal projects, and attracting private sector investment.
Mr Clark also emphasised the role of the private sector: “It has, and will continue to have, a crucial role to play in driving green growth and in the move to a greener economy. The business opportunities offered by green growth are the major theme that we will explore during our Forum today.”
He wrapped up by saying: “There are sound, hard-headed commercial reasons why businesses should embrace green growth. In the UK alone it could be worth 20 billion pounds to the economy over the next few years – in addition to the 23 billion pounds companies could save by using resources like energy and water more efficiently. That’s 43 billion pounds in savings and growth.”
His Excellency Antony Phillipson, British High Commissioner in Singapore took the stage at the second day of the Green Growth & Business Forum, primarily to set out what the United Kingdom is doing, to set an example and to demonstrate that it is committed to green growth and a low carbon future in Europe and Asia.
Here are some key extracts from his speech:
Green growth will not just help countries deliver a lower emissions trajectory, it will help them do so in a way which is consistent with continued, sustainable economic growth.
It will also help avoid the huge costs that unabated climate change will impose.
These costs are already being felt by the insurance industry. Losses relating to natural disasters and weather events have quadrupled from about 30 billion pounds in the 1980s to close on 120 billion pounds over the last 10 years.
And there are also the environmental and social costs to consider: the World Health Organisation estimates that globally a staggering one in eight deaths now results from exposure to air pollution.
Over 70% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from energy use, so this is a global issue. It is a particular issue, however, at this moment in time for emerging and rapidly developing economies like those in South East Asia.
The majority of South East Asia’s emissions have traditionally come from the forestry and land use sectors, but this is changing.
According to the International Energy Agency, energy demand in the region has increased by 150% since 1990, and is projected to rise by a further 80% in the next 20 years. On a business as usual pathway, South East Asian emissions, which already account for about 12% of global emission, could double by 2030.
With three quarters of all thermal power plants currently under construction in the region being coal-fired, and oil consumption projected to double by 2030, this is the business as usual reality.
Urgent action is therefore required in this region to incentivise and deploy lower carbon and renewable energy solutions.
On the energy demand side, the International Energy Agency’s Efficient ASEAN Scenario signposts an alternative future.
It suggests that the investment required for high efficiency energy technologies would be more than offset by lower fuel bills.
Between 2013 and 2035, cumulative additional investment in industry, transport and buildings amounting to more than 200 billion pounds could deliver fuel bill savings of almost 300 billion pounds.
Under this scenario, ASEAN energy intensity would improve by 2.5% per year on average, cutting growth in primary energy demand by almost 15% in 2035.
Research and innovation will play a crucial role in helping all countries meet the challenge of providing secure and affordable energy supplies to their citizens in a way that is consistent with a stable climate and high environmental standards.
Research is required to continue the development new ways of generating, storing, transporting and saving energy.
Innovation is required to reduce the costs of new technologies, to ensure that they can be deployed and will work reliably at scale, and that we have the infrastructure, skills and financing to make the best use of them.
In the UK we recognise the equal importance of research and innovation.
Our research councils are funding groundbreaking work at our universities and research centres.
Our Technology Strategy Board has developed seven Catapult centres where scientists and businesses work together on late stage research and development.
We already have Catapults in Offshore Renewable Energy, Transport Systems, and Future Cities, and we are about to launch a new Catapult which will focus specifically on Energy Systems, integrating approaches like distributed generation and smart energy meters.
We have an Energy Technologies Institute, a public-private partnership – involving Shell and Rolls-Royce, amongst others – which is putting £200 million into large scale prototype and generation projects.
The ETI recently helped a British company, Blade Dynamics, to develop an 80m long wind turbine blade, which is now being trialled by Siemens Wind.
At the same time, the UK government remains committed to working with countries around the world to promote lower carbon, greener economic development.
The UK’s International Climate Fund is the UK’s global climate finance offer to the developing world. 30% of this 4 billion pound fund goes to support projects aimed at reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
Here in South East Asia, our International Climate Fund is being deployed in a wide array of initiatives, including:
- 112 million pounds that we have contributed to the Global Environmental Facility which has supported projects across ASEAN
- 5 million pounds we have committed to a Climate Innovation Centre in Hanoi, and the more that 7 million pounds we have spent in Indonesia to promote low carbon growth
- and further significant UK-funded initiatives are already planned or under way including 11 million pounds we will spend in Indonesia thorough the UK-German Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) Facility.
On science and innovation we actively encourage collaboration between UK and South East Asian researchers to meet the Green Growth challenge.
And as Minister Lee Yi Shyan noted in his remarks yesterday, Cambridge University has established its first research centre outside the UK here in Singapore, with the support of the National Research Foundation.
Working with NUS and NTU, the Cambridge team aims to develop ways to reduce the carbon footprint of the petrochemical industries on Jurong Island.
Strathclyde University, one of our leaders in tidal power, is working with the Energy Research Institute at NTU to develop solutions for South East Asia.
There is no doubt that this is a challenging path that we are embarking on. But as I said earlier it is not one that we can choose not to travel and, what’s more, at present we are making our way with insufficient haste and determination.
Only by continuing to work together, on best policy practice and in business, science and innovation will we succeed in achieving the growth we need but at an environmental and social cost that is sustainable.
My government is fully committed to building and using the partnerships we need around the world and particularly in this region to do just that.