The Business Time – 2 March 2016
Singapore’s cleantech companies starting to take off in the region
Kickstarted at home by govt-led investments in R&D, they are taking their know-how to energy-hungry Asia
IN a small Philippine village about 600 km south-west of Manila and out in the country’s western island province of Palawan, the price of a piece of forested land in a Unesco World Heritage site began rising, seemingly inexplicably, a year ago.
Residents there started clearing the land and building homes on it.
The reason? News had spread that a Singapore company was going to build a solar plant there.
Atem S Ramsundersingh, the chief executive and co-founder of WEnergy
Global, recalled: “The place was developing even before we went in.”
The company is planning to build a US$10 million hybrid micro-grid in the protected nature area. The facility will have a capacity of 1.4 megawatt-peak (MWp) solar power, a 1 MW diesel generator and the largest clean battery in Asia at 1.7 MWh.
Building the plant, which is awaiting the formality of final approval from the local energy authorities, has given the four-year-old company a steep learning curve because of the size and complexity of the undertaking, but already, the firm has secured projects worth US$307 million and accounting for 161 MW.
After it obtains approval from the country’s energy regulator, WEnergy will have the exclusive right to generate, distribute and sell power in the area for 20 years for a regulated tariff. The company estimates its profitability will be 15 per cent.
The project and the firm’s experience are now being replicated across energy-hungry Asia, as a growing number of Singapore companies fan out to remote parts of the region to set up renewable-energy systems.
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