SPEECH BY MR S ISWARAN, SENIOR
MINISTER OF STATE FOR TRADE AND INDUSTRY AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF
VESTAS’ GLOBAL WIND TECHNOLOGY R&D CENTRE ON MONDAY, 3 NOVEMBER
2008 AT 7:15PM, FUSIONOPOLIS GENEXIS FRONT OF
Her Excellency, Mrs. Vibeke Rovsing Lauritzen,
Mr. Ditlev Engel,
CEO of Vestas Wind Systems A/S
Mr. Finn Strøm Madsen,
President of Vestas Technology R&D
Ladies and Gentlemen
Good evening to all of you.Let me start by congratulating Vestas Wind Systems A/S for its official opening of the Vestas’ Global Wind Technology R&D Centre in Singapore.
When Vestas set up its regional headquarters in Singapore two years ago, it was to serve its Asia-Pacific customer base. With this new research centre, Vestas is not only committing S$500 million of investments in Singapore over the next ten years, but also innovating for the world, and we are proud to be a part of this endeavour.
I am also pleased to note that besides being the largest corporate laboratory in Fusionopolis, this R&D Centre is also Vestas’ largest research facility outside its home country, Denmark. It will employing over 100 research scientists and engineers by the end of this year, and we expect this team to grow to about 300 by 2012.
International Energy Week 2008
The opening of Vestas’ Global Wind Technology R&D Centre today is timely as it coincides with the first day of Singapore’s inaugural International Energy Week.
The week ahead will see industry players, academics, and policy makers from all over the world congregating in Singapore to deliberate on various aspects of the energy sector. Their interaction will catalyse novel ideas in energy technology and solutions, and I am confident that the networking and discussions will yield valuable new business opportunities and partnerships.
In a way, the International Energy Week’s scope and dynamism embodies Singapore’s own more general value proposition for the energy sector.
Singapore sits at the crossroads of the East and West, and hosts a highly qualified and cosmopolitan workforce. When Vestas selected the location for its largest R&D Centre outside of Denmark, this steady stream of talent from within Singapore and the region, with much diversity in its cultural and academic background, proved to be a deciding factor.
With connectivity of people comes connectivity in business.Our business credentials are well known, given our hub status in finance and logistics. The Global Wind Technology R&D Centre here will complement Vestas’ home facility in Denmark, leveraging on Singapore’s strengths to cater to the global marketplace, including fast-growing demand throughout the Asia-Pacific.
Growing The Clean Energy Industry In Singapore
We have identified Clean Energy as a key growth area for our economy. Though the events of the past few weeks may have cast a shadow over the global economic outlook, we take a long-term view of economic development and the government remains committed to develop these new industry clusters. We look to Vestas, and to the Clean Energy Industry, with well-founded optimism.
In the span of about a year, the inter-agency Clean Energy Programme Office has announced new initiatives to boost our industry development efforts and has secured significant projects from companies such as Renewable Energy Corporation which had its ground-breaking ceremony last Friday.
We are encouraged by these early successes and are confident that the Clean Energy industry is on track to becoming a significant contributor to Singapore’s economy.
R&D As A Key Growth Driver
To ensure the sustainable growth of Singapore’s economy as a whole, it is essential that our key industry clusters continue to be strongly supported by a vibrant R&D base.
The Government has long recognised the importance of R&D as a vital growth driver for Singapore. Specifically, we are gradually ramping up our capabilities in energy R&D. So far the Government has committed a total of S$350 million, including S$170 million from the National Research Foundation, towards developing R&D and manpower capabilities for the Clean Energy sector.
Such commitments are necessary to maintain our competitiveness as a prime business and manufacturing location, and for investors and researchers to establish high-tech industries and corporate R&D centres in Singapore.
Singapore’s public research institutions are vital in building bridges with the private sector. Our Research Institutes and Institutions of Higher Learning have implemented strong research programmes around the needs of industry, allowing companies to access their expertise. It is a fruitful partnership, and Vestas is a prime example of how this can be done well.
Today, Vestas works in close collaboration with various A*STAR Research Institutes, including the Institute of High Performance Computing (IHPC) and the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech), as well as our two local universities, the National University of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University.
Vestas is exploring further research collaboration with various public and private institutions, particularly those which have expertise in the aerospace, marine and precision engineering sectors. These sectors are highly complementary to wind technology research.
Moving forward, we believe the Clean Energy industry will evolve to be a key growth pillar for Singapore’s economy. The opening of Vestas’ Global Wind Technology R&D Centre today is a significant milestone in our efforts to further develop our nascent but growing Clean Energy industry.
Beyond industry development, let us not forget the wider perspective that we live in a world facing major environmental challenges. We know that technological breakthroughs are vital to surmount these obstacles.This Centre represents that spirit of determination - the acknowledgement that we must devote time, resources, and our best minds to finding solutions for a problem that is truly global in scope: anthropogenic climate change.
Finally, I would like once again to congratulate Vestas on the opening of this world-class R&D centre in Singapore.Vestas is an industry leader and a technology pioneer. We look forward to working closely with you to attain your goals, and hope that Denmark and Singapore will be at the forefront of the new wave in Energy.