"Singapore is doing everything in its power to use all available space, already putting solar power on top of more than 3,000 buildings, including all government buildings."

Pedro Vasconcelos

CEO, EDPR APAC

December 22, 2023

Could you introduce EDPR APAC and your presence in Singapore?

EDPR is a global renewable energy player, operating in the wind and solar business. We entered the APAC region one and a half years ago, with headquarters in Singapore, through the acquisition of Sunseap, a leading solar power operator in Singapore and Southeast Asia. We are currently present in nine markets in APAC, with installed and under construction solar capacity at 1.2 GWp, of which more than 400 MWp is fully owned in Singapore.

Globally, we manage more than 15 GW in renewable capacity across 28 markets, the majority being in wind but with solar catching up rapidly. Decentralized generation is increasingly in demand, which means that we go directly to our clients and install solar panels on-site. We have committed to ramping up growth to 4 GW per year from 2023 to 2026 through a €20 billion investment plan in wind and solar, of which EDPR APAC represents about 7% with a S$10 billion CAPEX and plans to roll out 1.5 GW by 2026 and targeting to reach 7 GW by 2030. 

What is the profile of your customer base?

Initially, it was mostly governments buying power from us, however as the technology matured and prices became more competitive, we began to see increased demand from corporates, large data centers, retailers, banks, etc. This has been accelerated by recent geopolitical events such as the Russia-Ukraine war, as now many businesses seek a more stable and green power supply, after witnessing serious increases in prices. 

What are the challenges you face in the region to expanding your renewable generation capacity? 

Firstly, regional electricity grids were historically designed around large, centralized power plants, and often struggle to accommodate the many smaller, decentralized renewable sources that are on the rise. Grid investment needs to catch up with renewables deployment to transform from a single grid to a multi-layered grid system.

Secondly, the link between the ambitions of many state governments is not in sync with the in-practice ecosystem for local permitting at the city or county level. The local permitting systems in place, fire permits, grid connection licenses, etc., cannot keep up with the huge volumes of renewables coming online, thus leading to bottlenecks and long development lead times. 

Thirdly, inflation, geopolitical uncertainty, and supply chain disruptions have shot up CAPEX. The current high interest rates hinder competitiveness and profitability as renewable players invest over long periods to develop infrastructure, so lower interest rates are crucial. 

Fourthly, densely populated countries in APAC, like Singapore, face land constraints. 

Innovation is key to overcoming some of these challenges, resulting in solutions like offshore floating solar deployed on seawater and the hybridization of connection points. Despite sector growing pains and bearish macroeconomic contexts, the tailwinds and fundamentals are undeniably there.

Could you comment on Singapore’s approach to increasing its share of renewable energy and on the recent investment from GIC (Singaporean Sovereign Wealth Fund)?

Singapore is doing everything in its power to use all available space, already putting solar power on top of more than 3,000 buildings, including all government buildings. However, this will not suffice given the large power consumption, so collaboration is key with neighboring countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia. The ASEAN interconnection grid is a win-win for all parties as Singapore benefits from the import of renewable energy, and its neighbors gain an economic benefit from many of their local industries. 

Singapore is also looking at leveraging its status as one of the world’s leading maritime hubs and its world-class ports and infrastructure. Many APAC markets are eyeing hydrogen as a potential export, harnessing cheap renewable energy from places like Australia to produce hydrogen, and then using hubs like Singapore to ship this hydrogen around the world. 

GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, invested a billion euros in EDPR, making it the second largest shareholder after EDP. GIC’s financial prowess combined with EDPR’s strategic and operational capabilities forms a strong duo. 

What are your goals for the coming years?

We need to step up and go above and beyond while thinking creatively about new technologies and forging new partnerships. Otherwise, we will continue to see record-setting temperatures worldwide. 

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