Singapore’s tower of power

One of the world’s newest and most iconic venues is expecting record attendances as POWER-GEN Asia and Renewable Energy World Asia are among the first events to be staged in Singapore’s Marina Bay Sands.

Nigel Blackaby, Conference Director

The end of October and beginning of November looks set to be an exciting time for those in the energy sector in Singapore with a whole host of activities taking place as part of the annual Singapore International Energy Week (SIEW) ” of which the joint POWER-GEN Asia (PGA) and Renewable Energy World Asia (REWA) conference and exhibitions, which take place on 2″4 November, are the largest. With Asia continuing to lead the global economic recovery, it is no wonder that the region is regarded by many as the most attractive market for power infrastructure development right now. The gathering in Singapore is likely to be a springboard for further development within the sector.

Those planning to attend the joint PGA and REWA event will experience one of Singapore’s newest jewels, the Marina Bay Sands. Described as an integrated resort, the Marina Bay Sands combines a hotel, conference & exhibition centre alongside a casino, only the second one licensed in Singapore. This so-called ‘superhotel’ cost $6.4 billion, making it the world’s most expensive hotel. Despite the inevitable delay, the complex finally opened in June this year and so PGA and REWA attendees will be among the first to experience it. Those lucky enough to be staying in the 2560-room hotel will be able to try its ‘infinity pool’ and gardens on the 55th floor, overlooking the bay.

Business hub for energyà‚ 

SIEW is an annual platform for energy professionals, policymakers and commentators to discuss energy issues, strategies and solutions. The appetite for economic development and urban progress, coupled with climate change concerns and the development of more efficient energy technologies, are driving change amongst consumers and in the energy industry. SIEW aims to facilitate the exchange of ideas and discussions on pertinent energy-related issues, while simultaneously meeting the strategic objectives of Singapore’s commitment to becoming a global leading energy hub.

SIEW is an initiative of the Singapore government and is supported and organized by the Energy Market Authority along with the Energy Studies Institute. It consists of a number of lectures, conferences and exhibitions plus several networking events all designed to maximize the value of time spent in Singapore for energy professionals. Speakers will include the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, Mr. S. Iswaran, senior minister of state for Trade & Industry and Education and H.E. Abdulla Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, deputy premier and minister of Energy & Industry for Qatar.

Aligning interests

For those focused on developing fossil fuelled and nuclear power generation infrastructure in the region or engaged in the operation and maintenance of existing plants, PGA offers the most targeted conference & exhibition within SIEW. However, given the increasing integration of the renewable energy market into the mainstream business, it is entirely appropriate the REWA sits alongside PGA, offering a one”stop shop for utilities and suppliers alike. The programmes combine sessions aimed at executives and advisors involved in the development, ownership and operation of electricity sector assets alongside technical sessions, showcasing the latest advances in technology and techniques for efficient and flexible plant operation.

The twin conferences and combined exhibition will be the largest in the event’s history and will be a real focus for those engaged in the all aspects of the electricity sector in Asia. The exhibition floor will showcase more than 150 companies or organizations with a significant number of these gathered in a section dedicated to renewables technology and services.

Even with three days at the disposal of visitors, it will require some planning to get around all of these booths and see the technology on display, as well as enjoy the networking occasions that form part of the event.

Power in Action

A select few attendees at POWER-GEN Asia will be able to get an early look at some of the state-of-the-art technology Singapore has to offer by signing up for one of the two technical power plant tours on offer. Both power plants tours start from the Marina Bay Sands on 1 November and consist of a tour of one of Singapore’s power generating plants.

Technical Tour One is being hosted by Singapore’s second”largest utility company, PowerSeraya. The sold-out tour sets off for its Pulau Seraya power station on Jurong Island at 2.30 pm. The Pulau Seraya power station, which has been built in phases since 1988, has two combined-cycle power plants. One of the most interesting aspects is the recently completed 800 MW cogeneration combined-cycle unit that will simultaneously produce electricity and supply steam. This is the largest cogeneration combined-cycle plant in Singapore and was commissoned this month. This project was undertaken by a Siemens”Samsung consortium with PB Power acting as owner’s engineer.

The second tour, which starts in the morning, is to the much larger Tuas Power Station located on a 75 hectare site in the western part of Singapore. This facility has been operating since 1999 and its 2670 MW capacity meets around 12 per cent of Singapore’s energy demand. The plant boasts a performance record of over 99 per cent in the last five years and consists of four 367.5 MW gas fired combined”cycle plants and two 600 MW oil fired steam generating units.

China And India focus

While the POWER-GEN Asia strategic conference programme will offer updates on the status of the electricity industry across a wide spectrum of countries in Asia, the focus this year in heavily geared towards China and India. These two countries represent two of the four BRIC nations, predicted by Goldman Sachs as being the four wealthiest economies by 2050 ” the others being Brazil and Russia. The BRIC thesis posits China and India as becoming the world’s dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, respectively and the strategic track at POWER-GEN Asia will examine just how these two giants are beginning to exert their influence on power sector development, supply and construction across Asia. It will also take a look at the domestic markets for electricity in India and China and explore how the fast-growing demand is being met and how the environmental impact is being addressed.

The Marina Bay Sands complex, at $6.4 billion the world’s most expensive hotel, will host the POWER-GEN Asia and Renewable Energy World Asia conferences and exhibitions on 2″4 November Source: Las Vegas Sands Corporation

The conference session addressing the increasing regional influence of the ‘big two’ will be in the form of a panel discussion featuring a line-up of experts with first-hand experience in these countries and with a vision of how Asia’s power markets are likely to be influenced in the future.

The strategic track also features two other panel discussions, enabling delegates to engage with industry experts and get their own points of view across. The first such debate will be led by IHS CERA’s Mark Hutchinson, who will moderate the roundtable discussion on the fuel options that influence the choice of plant and equipment. Experts on coal, oil and LNG will be able to comment on pricing trends, global stocks and availability as well as the political and regulatory acceptability of these options.

The second plenary discussion rounds off the conference on the morning of 4 November and addresses the area of finance and investment. A panel of four leading experts in power project finance will offer their own perspective and then exchange views on how the recovering banking sector is viewing power sector investments in Asia. The session is moderated by the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) head of Public Private Partnerships, Andrew Kinloch.

Tracking technological Advances

Technology for the power sector dominates three of the four conference tracks at POWER-GEN Asia, with plenty of useful case studies and practical solutions being presented. Sessions on CFB and IGCC technology will show how clean coal technology is advancing and being implemented in the region, while two sessions on emissions control illustrate how this is increasingly important in new and retrofit applications. Expect much talk about plant flexibility, energy efficiency and performance optimization in the sessions devoted to plant operation & maintenance.

Advancing Renewables

When Renewable Energy World Asia was launched last year, sessions were full to overflowing, indicating a real thirst for solid information about the renewable energy sector and so it will be no surprise if the full three-day REWA conference programme is well supported this year. The conference adds a second track devoted to hydropower production and opens with a plenary session entitled, ‘The Utility Perspective on Renewable Energies and Hydropower in the Region’.

Asia has considerable small-scale renewable energy but larger developments are being planned and utilities are entering the market to manage these. Strategic sessions looking at renewable energy policy, planning and finance will be presented as well as a more in-depth look at wind power and geothermal energy. Grid connection for renewable energy projects will also be tackled in a separate session.

The hydropower track draws on the expertise of the editors of Hydro Review Worldwide magazine, a leading publication for the sector. It presents sessions on the future direction of hydropower in the region and examines new hydropower developments. Other sessions looks at policy, regulation and finance, environmental impact of hydro developments and the latest technologies, enabling plants to operate more efficiently.

Talking About Growth

According to ADB figures, South Asia’s electricity demand is projected to more than triple from 43.2 MTOE in 2005 to 165.7 MTOE in 2030, growing at an annual rate of 5.5 per cent. This projected growth rate of electricity demand is faster than the 3 per cent growth rate of final energy demand through 2030 indicating that the region will feature highly on the radar for the power industry for some time to come.

Up until now, coal has overwhelmingly dominated electricity production in this part of the world but can this continue, with the pressure to develop ever-cleaner energy sources growing? There will clearly be plenty to discuss in Singapore next month.

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