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Cablegate: Energy Market Authority Deputy Ceo On Singapore's

VZCZCXRO6528
OO RUEHDT RUEHPB
DE RUEHGP #1243/01 3261040
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 211040Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY SINGAPORE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6056
INFO RUCNARF/ASEAN REGIONAL FORUM COLLECTIVE
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 SINGAPORE 001243

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG SN
SUBJECT: ENERGY MARKET AUTHORITY DEPUTY CEO ON SINGAPORE'S
ENERGY FUTURE

1. (U) This message in Sensitive But Unclassified. Protect
accordingly.

2. (SBU) Summary: Singapore Energy Market Authority Deputy
CEO Lawrence Wong told the DCM that Singapore would like to
take steps to reduce its energy dependence on gas coming into
Singapore from its neighbors by pipeline. In 20 or 30 years,
Singapore may pursue nuclear power options, Wong said, if the
technology is in place to make it safe to operate nuclear
reactors in the context of Singapore's very limited land
area. In about 10 years, Singapore may move to make greater
use of electric cars, which should increase energy
efficiency. Staring in 2012, Singapore will have the
capacity to bring in LNG by ship, reducing its dependence on
the pipelines and the neighbors. End Summary.

3. (SBU) DCM met on November 14 with Lawrence Wong, Deputy
Chief Executive of Singapore's Energy Market Authority (EMA),
and asked Wong how he sees Singapore's energy future. Before
Wong's recent move to EMA, which is Singapore's energy market
regulator, Wong had served as Principal Private Secretary to
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. Wong noted that EMA and
Singapore's Energy Studies Institute held the inaugural
International Energy Week the week of November 3, attracting
2,500 people to energy-related discussions including a
November 4 lecture by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew
(transcript e-mailed to State EAP/MTS). Singapore's hope is
that this will develop into a major annual international
gathering, like the Shangri-La Dialogue in the military and
security area. The organizers are looking for a
non-governmental partner with extensive energy contacts to
play the organizing and networking role for International
Energy Week that the London-based International Institute for
Strategic Studies (IISS) plays for the Shangri-La Dialogue.
Wong plans to approach Cambridge Energy Research Associates
(CERA) to see if they are interested in this.

4. (SBU) Wong said Singapore, which is currently about 80
percent dependent on gas imported by pipeline from its
neighbors to meet its energy needs, is thinking seriously
about pursuing nuclear power options to diversify energy
supply, but this is a long-term prospect, perhaps 20 or 30
years out. Wong said the idea is to create the conditions so
the government can respond in an informed manner if a time
comes when a company determines that it makes sense, from an
economic perspective, to seek to build a nuclear reactor in
Singapore. At present, Singapore has virtually no expertise
in the nuclear area, so the country is starting from scratch.
The big problem for Singapore with regard to nuclear energy,
as Lee Kuan Yew stated, is that it lacks the land area to
create a 30-kilometer safety buffer around a nuclear reactor.
Another problem, Wong noted, is that a typical nuclear
reactor would generate about one-sixth of Singapore's power
needs, which means Singapore would have to come up with
elaborate contingency plans to avoid big disruptions if the
reactor ever had to be shut down. As technology advances,
this may become less of a problem. Singapore is waiting to
see if the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Committee approves pebble
bed reactor technology, which holds out the prospect of
moving to multiple mini-reactors that need only small buffer
areas, Wong said.

5. (SBU) Wong stated that in the period about 10 years out,
Singapore is interested is shifting more to electric cars,
which should increase energy efficiency. The GOS does not
want to raise unrealistic expectations and is not willing to
provide market-distorting subsidies for electric cars, which
is why Lee Kuan Yew gave a cautious response when asked about
electric cars, but in fact conditions are excellent for
electric cars in Singapore, with it compact, flat, landmass.
Singapore would need to come up with a creative way for
people to charge their cars in parking lots (relatively few
Singaporeans have private garages), but this is a technical
problem that can be solved. A major advantage of electric
cars is that the tendency is to charge them up at night, when
the electric grid is otherwise relatively lightly utilized.

6. (SBU) In the period starting four years out, in 2012,
Singapore will begin using LNG (initially three million tons
annually, later six million tons) to meet a significant part
of its energy needs. Singapore is working with BG of
Houston, which will be the consolidator. The big advantage
to LNG is that it can come in by ship from suppliers
anywhere, which will lessen Singapore's dependence on gas
that comes by pipeline from the neighbors.

Visit Embassy Singapore's Classified website:

SINGAPORE 00001243 002 OF 002


http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eap/singapore/ind ex.cfm
HERBOLD

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