Speech by Senior Minister of State for Trade & Industry and Education S Iswaran at the Official Launch of CleanTech One
Mr Cedric Foo, Chairman of JTC Corporation
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am happy to be here today for the official launch of CleanTech One, the first multi-tenanted building at CleanTech Park and the region’s first eco-business park.
The plan for CleanTech Park was unveiled earlier this year. Conceived as a choice location and nerve centre for R&D and business activities in clean technologies, it is set to play a major role in the development of the cleantech industry. The industry is expected to contribute S$3.4 billion to Singapore’s GDP and employ some 18,000 people by 2015. I am happy to hear from Cedric that CleanTech One has achieved 50 per cent tenancy, which means we now have a critical mass of private and public institutions to catalyse the development of the CleanTech Park.
Cleantech Industry as a Key Growth Area for Singapore
Motivated by our self-evident constraints in land, water and natural resources, Singapore has been at the forefront in seeking innovative responses to challenges such as water and energy security, and rapid urbanisation.
In this regard, the cleantech industry has been identified as a key growth area for our economy. As outlined in the Economic Strategies Committee’s (ESC) recommendations earlier this year, this sector has significant potential to generate sustainable economic value for Singapore. In fact, major players in solar energy, carbon services and water technologies have chosen to locate their activities in Singapore because they believe the prospects for the green economy here are bright. This creates more opportunities for research, business and jobs.
Singapore as a Home for Cleantech Innovation
Recently, the Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council (RIEC) chaired by our Prime Minister, endorsed a S$1 billion fund for the “National Innovation Challenge”. It aims to develop innovative solutions to national challenges in areas such as energy resilience, environmental sustainability, and urban systems. This will give impetus to Singapore’s efforts to foster cleantech as an economic growth area while finding solutions to address our national requirements. A significant portion of the funds will focus on the development of manpower and R&D capabilities. In so doing, we want to leverage on our capabilities in research and infrastructure to support companies in three ways; first, by creating a vibrant research ecosystem, second, by expanding and deepening our capabilities, and third, by shaping Singapore as a “living laboratory”.
Creating a Vibrant Research Ecosystem
We have made good progress in building up a strong cleantech ecosystem comprising world-class R&D centres, testing and certification services, and multipliers such as various venture capital (VC) funds and incubators. These institutes and initiatives serve to complement each other to create a dynamic environment for advancement in clean technologies.
The CleanTech Park is a case in point. It provides a conducive environment and strong base for cleantech companies to expand and pursue growth. We seek to balance economic viability with environmental sustainability, and demonstrate that companies can achieve both sustainability and profitability. Locating various cleantech firms within an industrial park also allows companies and research centres to leverage off each other thereby developing innovative cross-disciplinary solutions.
We hope to replicate the sustainability features of CleanTech Park across other industrial parks in Singapore, and also share the expertise and lessons learnt with other parks in the region.
Expand and Deepen Our Capabilities
A solid research base and skilled manpower pool are some of Singapore’s key attributes. This has helped to attract leading global cleantech companies to base various parts of their business functions in Singapore – be it R&D, HQ activities, manufacturing, or system integration.
For example, one of the world’s largest integrated solar energy companies, Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) from Norway, has invested S$2.6 billion to set up a world-scale integrated solar manufacturing facility here. DNV, a leading certification and professional services firm, announced earlier this year its plan to establish a 100-strong Cleantech Centre to develop clean technology solutions with global industry partners.
These investments add to the diversity and vibrancy of Singapore’s cleantech eco-system. They also reinforce Singapore’s position as an effective base from which companies can develop cutting-edge clean energy solutions. These global firms also serve to bring much-needed breadth and depth to the skills available here.
Singapore as a Living Lab
Finally, such capital-intensive investments require low-risk environments for test-bedding and Singapore aims to provide such a platform. Using our expertise in systems integration, we have developed various wide-scale integrated test-bed sites where we welcome companies to develop, pilot and demonstrate their latest solutions. The CleanTech Park has been designated as one such “living laboratory”, where systems-level clean technology solutions can be implemented and tested.
In conclusion, I would like to congratulate JTC on the launch of CleanTech One. I wish the tenants of CleanTech Park every success, and look forward to the emergence of a host of new cleantech solutions which are conceptualised, developed and manufactured in Singapore. Thank you.
Source: Ministry of Trade and Industry