Panel Discussion on the Smart Energy Economy

The panel discussion on the Economic Strategies Committee’s (ESC) recent recommendations for a Smart Energy Economy, was held this morning at NUS. The panelists include:

  • Prof. Linda Yuen-Ching Lim: Professor of Strategy at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan
  • Dr. Natasha Hamilton-Hart: Associate Professor and Deputy Head in the Southeast Asian Studies Programme of the National University of Singapore
  • Dr. Tilak Doshi: Chief Economist and Principal Fellow at the Energy Studies Institute
  • Dr. Cheng-Guan Michael Quah: Chief Scientist and Principal Fellow at the Energy Studies Institute

The panelists provided their frank views on the ESC recommendations and report, both good and bad. Some of the key views include:

Timid and Bounded

Dr Natasha called the report timid while Dr Michael called it bounded. Dr Natasha said that some of the recommendations were already what the government has been doing for decades. It also fails to look at the reality of some problems, including the income inequality of the rich and poor. Dr Michael said that there were no stretch goals and the KPIs were achievable. There is a need to create new thinking, look forward and keep pushing the boundaries.

Lack of Integration

Prof Linda said that there is a lack of a holistic approach to integrate all the strategies. Manufacturing, tourism or other sectors, and energy can’t be looked at separately. There is a need to integrate our energy strategy across the different sectors. The government is at a competitive advantage as it can do things other government can’t do easily.

Culture Change

Dr Michael highlighted the importance of culture change and a different kind of lifestyle while Dr Tilak spoke about the role of behaviour economics. Prof Linda commented on the difference between energy conservation and energy efficiency. There is a need to reduce our absolute energy consumption if we talk about energy security. Steps have to be taken to reduce our energy dependency and prepare for higher energy prices.

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