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Cleantech innovation in Singapore

How Canopy Power enables positive change and supports Southeast Asia’s clean energy transition

Adopting a customised renewable energy microgrid can enable notable growth in a business, besides supporting the transition to clean energy in Southeast Asia where power demand is on the rise.

The rapidly growing economies of Southeast Asia, home to nearly a tenth of the world’s population, means that power demand in the region is soaring. The International Energy Agency (IEA) states that Southeast Asia’s growth in electricity demand at an average of six per cent per year has been among the fastest in the world, but a number of power systems in the region are facing significant financial strains. Diverse as the region is, a commonality across its different countries is that policy makers have been strengthening efforts to ensure a more sustainable and responsible energy future.

Southeast Asia has sizeable potential for renewable energy, but it currently only fulfils around 15 per cent of the region’s energy demand. It is up to individuals, societies, companies and investors to make a difference, in line with favourable government policies that are driving Southeast Asia’s transition to renewable energy.

Aiding the adoption of renewable energy in Southeast Asia is Singapore-based Canopy Power, through the deployment of independent microgrids. This benefits communities, businesses and industries in remote or off-grid locations abound in Asia Pacific, which typically face the issues of reliance on diesel for electricity generation and dealing with the associated high costs, logistical issues, noise and air pollution. Microgrids – localised power grids that are independent systems or can be synced with a main grid – are an alternative to dirty energy, but also a solution for communities without the access to electricity or that face brownouts. It is estimated by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) that some 65 million people in the region still lack electricity access.

Economically, an independent renewable energy microgrid makes sense. Benefits of implementing one include significant cost savings through reduced reliance on expensive diesel fuel, reduced diesel fuel logistical burden and environmental pollution (noise, air, visual), increased power generation reliability, and contribution to sustainability and eco certification which can impact top-line growth. Recently completed microgrids by Canopy Power include systems at some of the regions’s most known island resorts, such as Nikoi Private Island in Indonesia and Batu Batu Resort in Malaysia – both won Silver Awards at the 2019 WTM World Responsible Tourism Awards – as well as Wa Ale Island Resort in Myanmar. System implementations so far have a renewable energy impact of up to 85 per cent. They have enabled positive change in various ways, be it long-term cost savings, huge reductions in carbon dioxide emissions or enabling resources to be utilised for social good.

Apart from driving the integration of renewable energy in the Asia Pacific hospitality industry, Canopy Power is looking to emulate its success with microgrids across other sectors where remote business operations are common – such as agribusiness and mining. Sites like plantations, fisheries, farms and mines are in the project pipeline, and this coincides with these sectors beginning to take energy sustainability more seriously.

The company, established in 2016, has also recently launched the latest update for its Hornbill technology – an asset management platform developed and engineered in-house. Linked to remote microgrid installations with tailored control services, it allows 24/7 monitoring and management of the systems. Microgrid performance can be checked on one’s smartphone or other device, allowing proactive measures to be taken to optimise performance. This means minimising operation and maintenance costs, maximising uptime and also increased project bankability. The latest enhancements of Hornbill include new functional capabilities as well as features that provide additional data. “Hornbill allows entire portfolios of disparate systems to be managed on a single Cloud-based platform,” says Daniel Rye, business development director of Canopy Power. “The rich data set translates to cost savings and value-add for customers and project investors.”

With Canopy Power also offering financing, apart from post-installation monitoring, maintenance and management services, its microgrid systems are a viable solution for electricity generation that supports the region’s growing power demand and shifts in mindsets towards a more sustainable energy future.

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