Shell, Energy Experts and University Students Engage in Debate on the Future of Energy

23 Nov 2018

In a unique opportunity, over 250 students and undergraduates from Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines challenged prominent regional energy experts and global energy company Shell on the issue of climate change and the future of energy at  The Great Energy Debate,  a live panel debate held  on 23 November 2018 at the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD). The debate was streamed live at Curtin University, Malaysia and University of the Philippines.
Maarten Wetselaar, Shell Director for Integrated Gas and New Energies, tackled tough questions from the energy-engaged millennials on the 21st century challenge of providing more energy while reducing impact to the planet.
“Energy affects us all. While we rely on energy in our everyday lives, the way in which it’s produced and used is tied to the well-being of our planet. I’m keen to find new ways to engage with young people – and others – to openly discuss the challenges, as well as the opportunities, surrounding the future of energy,” Mr. Wetselaar said.
Of particular interest to students was the role of renewables. Liu Yuchen, a Junior year student from SUTD, came keen to understand how we could transition from the current reliance on fossil fuels to more renewables. On this, Mr. Wetselaar explained: “I see it as my role to prove that new energies can help the environment and also be commercial. We cannot subsidise our way out of climate change. We need to find commercial models so that people want to invest in it on a large scale and we are finding good opportunities in it.”
Leading energy experts participated in the panel and provided their views on meeting the energy challenge and how different sectors of society can collaborate. The panellists were the following: Wu Changhua, a China sustainability policy and partnership specialist; Jay Layug, former Undersecretary of the Department of Energy and Chairman of the National Renewable Energy Board; and Peter Godfrey, Managing Director of the Asia Pacific Energy Institute, based in Singapore. Professor Peter Jackson, Head of Engineering and Systems Design at SUTD, moderated the live debate. Goh Swee Chen, Country Chairman of Shell Companies in Singapore also joined the students from various institutions in Singapore in watching the debate.

Panellists engaging the audience at The Great Energy Debate (from left, Prof Peter Jackson, Mr Maarten Wetselaar, Ms Wu Changhua, Mr Peter Godfrey and Mr Jay Layug)

SUTD’s Professor Peter Jackson added: “We had a great panel of distinguished experts in energy policy, law, and business and they each approached the questions from a unique perspective. I thoroughly enjoyed the lively exchange of ideas and hope that everyone learned something from this debate.”
Shell recognises the significance of climate change, along with the role energy plays in helping people achieve and maintain a good quality of life. Shell takes part in the energy transition by finding ways to produce more and cleaner energy.

You can watch the debate on

SUTD Junior year student, Liu Yuchen, posing his question