Posts tagged under energy security
The ATM team has written about several simple innovations that have the potential to help many of the world’s poor. These innovations, such as water rollers and water bottle lamps, required only an imaginative mind and knowledge of engineering or design.
With that in mind, I headed out to visit Singapore Polytechnic’s “SP Engineering Show 2012” in hopes of finding some projects that showed potential for widespread use. At the show, I saw several projects that looked exciting and decided to highlight two of them here.
1. Gen-Electro Bike: cheap power is a bike ride away
The Gen-Electro Bike was the first project that caught my attention. It came in the shape of a dynamo and battery attached to the rear wheel of a normal bicycle. The way it works is that as people pedal and travel using their bicycles, the kinetic energy moving the rear wheel will be converted into electrical energy using the dynamo and stored into the battery.
Zhang Jun Kai, one of the team members, talked to me about the project. His team saw that access to electricity was very problematic for areas such as rural Indonesia. Also, they noticed that several of these people used bicycles as the main method of transportation. The team was able to put these bits of information together and solve the former by utilizing the latter.
A recent article published for the the Clean Energy Expo Asia 2011 in Singapore (read it here) talks about biorenewables in Southeast Asia and its potential for the future.
One point that the article makes is quite important:
… companies need extra workers to transport fronds to oil processing plants, which require large quantities to produce a commercially viable amount of fuel, further increasing labour demand.
Mr Atkinson raised his concerns over the increasing shortage of labour in Malaysia’s palm oil industry.
“If you want millions of tonnes of biomass to be collected from the fields, there isn’t the personnel available to do this,” he said.
This snippet highlights the problem of the labor intensive processes required to gather the biomass, and how there are not enough people in villages to do it. The meaning behind this statement is that people are unwilling to do this amount of hard labor at current compensation levels. This is consistent with the migration mega-trend happening in ASEAN, where people are fleeing their rural homes (where most of the agricultural industry is situated) in search of better paying jobs.
The Roundtable on “Rising Asia, Growing Inequality”, which was attended by a full house of about 220 guests, students and media, saw a lively debate on the nature of inequality witnessed today and the sense of injustice amplified by the social media, which is in turn facilitated by rapid technological change.
Watch the exciting debate among the six panelists moderated by Dean Kishore Mahbubani here. The first video features the only debate, further below you will find the Question & Answer Session.
- Professor Kishore Mahbubani, Dean of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (Chair)
- Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation
- Dr. Anies Baswedan, President, Paramadina University and one of Indonesia’s leading public intellectuals
- Professor Fu Jun, Executive Dean, Peking University School of Government
- Mr. Gideon Rachman, Chief Foreign Affairs Columnist, The Financial Times
- Mr. Karim Raslan, writer and consultant based in Indonesia and Malaysia
Senator Ton Nu Thi Ninh, President, Founding Committee of Tri Viet University, Vietnam
We would like to express our gratitude to the Rockefeller Foundation, New York and the Centre for Strategic Futures, Singapore for their generosity in supporting this Roundtable event and the Asian Trends Monitoring Project.
Coming on Monday: Full-length video of the event and footage from the Q&A Session. We will post it here.
The session was moderated by Dean Kishore Mahbubani and featured Dr. Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation; Dr. Anies Baswedan, President, Paramadina University and one of Indonesia’s leading public intellectuals; Professor Fu Jun, Executive Dean, Peking University School of Government; Mr. Gideon Rachman, Chief Foreign Affairs Columnist, The Financial Times; Mr. Karim Raslan, writer and consultant based in Indonesia and Malaysia; and Senator Ton Nu Thi Ninh, President, Founding Committee of Tri Viet University, Vietnam.
Don’t want to wait for tomorrow? To find out what the panelists discussed during the 90 minute debate, read a feature article about the roundtable event on the LKY School’s homepage here.
Our final preview before the official release of ATM Bulletin #12. (click to see full size)
If you’re in Singapore, don’t forget to attend the “Rising Asia, Growing Inequality” roundtable event organized by the ATM team. This event looks into the question of why Southeast Asia’s economic growth has led to the creation of parallel economies with dramatic social inequalities. The Roundtable will be held on September 30, 2011, 1:30-3:00 pm at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy.
In this issue we look at the enduring problems surrounding trade, trade enhancement and facilitation, and the benefits and downsides of trade in the energy and health sectors.
While trade is often approached as a problem of inter-state politics and centred on multilateral and bilateral efforts to reduce tariffs and formal obstacles (quotas and non-tariff trade barriers) to trade, this issue highlights how the difficulties of deepening trade relations rest equally with informal barriers. Intra-state regional protectionism, poor infrastructure, or demands for informal payments, can all have a restrictive impact on the free movement of goods and services within economies. Indonesia, for example, lacks a national transportation system able to connect key economic centres, pushing up the cost of domestic shipping rates such that, in many instances, it is cheaper to import perishable goods from abroad rather than source them domestically.
As a prelude to ATM special issue on Rice, where we profile the future of a crop that feeds over 3 billion of the world’s population, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) senior economist Sushil Pandey stopped by LKY recently to give a talk on “strategic research and policy issues for food security” with reference to rice. Insights can be gleamed by listening to the podcast here.
Sushil was promoting IRRI’s new book “Rice in the global economy: strategic reseach and policy issues for food security” (click here to download). The book presents a new vision for the future of rice farming and addresses key strategic questions for food security in the context of major developments in the global economy. Sushil and co authors reckon that we’ll see increasing diversification of rice farming (farmers growing other, more profitable crops), a declining share of rice as a percentage of farmer’s incomes, increasing input costs (especially labour) in the future, as well as the yet unknown effects of climate change on rice production. The challenge, he says, will be to link up those millions of plots of land (farmers with < than 3 acres), to supply chains that distribute rice to areas where there are deficits (i.e. food insecure areas).
The energy security team will soon begin their Christmas hibernation, but wanted to provide you a pre-Christmas energy security link special. We look forward to being back in full service come the New Year, and wish you all Happy Holidays in the meantime.
- Malaysia plans to reduce carbon emissions 40% by 2020
…and also plans for 2 1,000MW nuclear plants to come online by 2022
‘Energy poverty,’ like poverty in general, is an ambiguous concept. Methods exist to determine which households are energy poor, but there is no standing consensus on where to draw the line, or even which writing instrument to use. Households who spend more than 15% of their monthly expenditure on energy? 8%? Households that rely on fuelwood for more than 50% of total energy demand, using some levelized unit (kg.o.eq.)? We could also judge poverty by a time-cost method and factor in the number of hours spent per week in gathering/purchasing supplies (or the number of hours spent cooking). This would not only be relevant to biomass gathering, but also people living in areas with poor distribution networks where customers themselves might have to travel 1+ hours to get LPG/kerosene/etc. refills.