SINGAPORE – Singapore will spend S$350 million (US$230 million) on research into clean forms of energy over the next five years to meet soaring energy demand in the region, the government said on Monday.
The tropical city-state will focus on solar power and fuel cell technologies research, the Economic Development Board (EDB) said, adding that the sector could create some 7,000 jobs and make up 0.6 percent of gross domestic product by 2015.
Located close to the equator, Singapore is well-placed to conduct research into how solar energy can be harnessed for the benefit of some one billion people in South and Southeast Asia who do not have access to electricity, EDB officials said.
"The clean energy industry is experiencing robust global growth due to rising energy demand, climate change concerns and technological advances," Lim Siong Guan, EDB's chairman, said.
The Southeast Asian city-state is keen to design and produce clean energy technologies such as solar panels, and to attract energy firms which want to enter the Asian market.
Energy firms that already have research facilities in Singapore include German solar firm Conergy and Vestas,the world's biggest wind turbine maker.
Clean energies — which also include wind, hydro, tidal power and biomass — could surge to supply half of world demand by 2050, compared with 13.2 percent currently, if governments crack down on the use of fossil fuels, the European Renewable Energy Council and Greenpeace said in January.