(EnergyAsia, May 9 2012, Wednesday) — China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Corporation (CGNPC) has begun construction of an integrated biomass-solar power generation plant in Singapore at the same time that it has started up a wholly-owned subsidiary CGNPC Solar-Biofuel Power (Singapore) Pte Ltd to operate its regional clean energy activities.

As the first overseas project to be developed and implemented by CGNPC, the 9.9-megawatt plant generates electricity by drawing from an unusual combination of waste biomass and solar energy. It uses a proprietary waste-to-energy process and a solar rooftop design to produce electricity with reduced carbon emissions.

The company’s senior vice president, Tan Jiansheng, noted the project’s significance as it was announced in November 2010 during the visit to Singapore by China’s Vice President Xi Jinping to celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Pledging CGNPC’s “utmost commitment to the construction and implementation of this project to provide clean and reliable power supply to Singapore”, he said it will form the base and proof of concept for CGNPC Solar-Biofuel Power (Singapore) Pte Ltd to expand into Southeast Asia and Australia by collaborating with local enterprises and R&D institutions.

CGN Solar Energy Development Co LTD (CGNSEDC) is supporting the solar energy facility at the project site in Shipyard Crescent, said chairman and general manager Han Qinghao.

The wholly-owned CGNPC subsidiary has developed and commissioned solar power plants with a total capacity of 210MW in China’s Qinghai, Xinjiang, Tibet and Ningxia, making it one of the country’s top three solar energy enterprises. It recently started up a 2MW rooftop solar power project in the US.

Mr Han said CGNSEDC aims to develop and commercially operate solar power plants with a total capacity of 2,000MW over the next three years.

“With strong support from our parent group CGNPC, we seek more opportunities in the renewable energy sector, both in the domestic market and abroad, to make greater contribution to the development of clean energy and emission reduction,” he said.

In February this year, the Energy Research Institute at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and the CGNPC signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on clean energy projects.

Mr Han said that through this solar biomass integrated power project, CGNPC and Singapore institutions and organisations will undertake joint research and development work on renewable energy solutions.

In launching the project’s construction, Tan Choon Shian, acting managing director of Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) said CGNPC joins Chinese cleantech enterprises solar module manufacturers like Trina Solar, Yingli Solar and Jinko Solar in using Singapore as a springboard to the global market.

He said: “These companies have recently established their regional headquarters and innovation centres in Singapore. In addition, Singapore’s position as a top financial centre has also attracted a slew of Chinese environment and water companies like Sound Global, CNA Group and Asia Water Technology to raise capital through the Singapore Exchange in order to fund their international growth plans.”

In 2007, Singapore identified clean technology as a key sector for the growth of its economy, allocating S$700 million to fund R&D, innovation and manpower development. Last year, the government raised its commitment to the sector by injecting another $195 million into R&D activities.

By 2015, Singapore expects the cleantech industry to contribute S$3.4 billion to its GDP and employ some 18,000 people. The EDB will focus on four key competitive advantages: technology, market access, financing and talent development while positioning Singapore as a “living laboratory” for companies to develop, test and demonstrate solutions to meet urbanisation and sustainable development issues.