Energy & Utilities

APAC Outlook’s energy and utilities section covers the latest developments in the sector, from renewable energy to smart grids. Our corporate stories showcase the fascinating history of energy production and distribution in the APAC region, highlighting the impact of traditional methods and the transition to more sustainable practices.

Executives from featured companies leading the way in energy and utility innovation, give a behind-the-scenes look at the challenges and opportunities in this critical industry.

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Energy & Utilities Corporate Stories

Suntech New Silicon Cells Optimise Global Solar Solutions

Wuxi Suntech, a subsidiary of Shunfeng International Clean Energy (SFCE), has achieved a new round of efficiency breakthroughs for its silicon solar cells. The Hypro modules that use these solar cells, together with Sunways inverters, will contribute significantly to the optimised and integrated EPC solar solutions that SFCE is rolling out around the world. Tested by the National Centre of Supervision and Inspection on Solar Photovoltaic Products Quality, the conversion efficiencies of Suntech's monocrystalline and polycrystalline solar cells have reached yields as high as 20.82 percent and 19.11 percent respectively, positioning Suntech as a leader in the global photovoltaic industry.These advances come just two months after Suntech first introduced its high-efficiency HyPro monocrystalline silicon cells, which at the time had a 20.5 percent efficiency yield. Suntech's HyPro is available in 60 cell and 72 cell modules with 290W and 330W output power respectively, which represent an average of 20W power increase - above the industry standards - thus marking Suntech's HyPro module as one of the most superior panels in the solar market.As part of the SFCE group, Suntech and other subsidiaries are in the unique position to achieve even greater output in electricity generation through leveraging technological synergies. The Group's EPC solution, led by Suntech's fellow SFCE subsidiary SAG, offers clients a one-stop shop for EPC needs, connecting up-stream PV manufacturing and down-stream solar services and plant development, creating comprehensive and integrated solar solutions. Coupling Suntech's new high-efficiency modules with Sunways's inverters delivers 3 percent more electricity generation. Moreover, SFCE's EPC solutions deliver additional output

By Editorial Team

China-Pakistan Superhighway worth $46 Billion Gets Go Ahead

China and Pakistan have launched a plan worth $46 billion to link their economies by forging “Silk Road” land and sea ties to allow for better reach to the Middle East and Europe. With growth in key industry areas such as energy and infrastructure becoming vital to future development and international relations, the two countries’ economic ambitions will serve to meet growing demand for trade. China’s President Xi Jinping signed the agreement for a China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on the 20th April, which includes a network of roads, railways and pipelines between the long-term allies in the next 15 years. They will span 1,865 miles from Gwadar, Pakistan, to China’s western Xinjiang region, giving China direct access to the Indian Ocean and beyond. The $46 billion figure is around 20 percent of Pakistan’s own GDP, and is more than the GDP of 106 countries worldwide. “The aim of the project is simple: to create a trade route, or ‘superhighway’, from the western Chinese city of Kashgar to the southern Pakistani port of Gwadar,” says news platform Desiblitz. Pakistan and China have held close diplomatic military and economic ties for decades. Under the CPEC development, the Chinese government and banks will lend to Chinese companies to allow them to invest in projects as commercial ventures. Moreover the new routes will provide China with cheaper market access to the Middle East by providing an alternative trade route, rather than using its current ports on the eastern and southern coasts; these areas are vital for the country’s oil imports. “The Chinese are stepping

By Editorial Team

China’s changing attitudes to economic globalisation

The first ever China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held in Shanghai later this year signifies a turn in the economic tide regarding the country’s approach towards international trade and wider globalisation.Set to take place between 5-10 November at the National Exhibition Center in Shanghai, welcoming more than 200 Fortune 500 firms and 2,800 global businesses, the Expo is expected to reflect the alterations being made to China’s trade strategy that has historically heavily relied upon exports.“Hosting CIIE is an effort by the Chinese government to create an open platform where nations and companies from around the world can introduce themselves to the vast Chinese market and explore opportunities for local cooperation,” said Sun Chenghai, Deputy Director General of CIIE Bureau, speaking in January ahead of the conference.The event countdown has well and truly begun having been announced in May 2017 by Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. However, it has been the announcements made by the Chinese government in the months leading up to the conference that have provided a real flavour for what this could all mean on the global stage for years to come.Most interestingly, in April 2018 the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country’s leading body for economic planning, outlined a five-year timeline for the automotive sector.See the latest edition of Asia Outlook magazine hereQ&A: Why entrepreneurs should look to Hong Kong Fuelling China's growthThis stated that the Chinese government would begin to relax its foreign ownership limits within the industry, lifting restrictions

By Editorial Team

Tata Power Solar Completes 25 Years of Harnessing Solar Power

Tata Power Solar, India’s largest integrated solar player, has announced the completion of 25 years in the global renewable energy space.A pioneer in the Indian solar market, Tata Power Solar has influenced more than 30 million people and reduced carbon footprint by more than 6.2 million tonnes as of 2014.With businesses in cell & module manufacturing, EPC (engineering, procurement & construction) services and off-grid solutions, Tata Power Solar is one the oldest solar energy companies in the world.As well as being recently ranked the number one third-party EPC player, the company is also the leading domestic module supplier and rooftop solar player in the industrial and commercial segment, for 2014, by Bridge to India; as a consequence of its quality, efficiency, customer care and reliability.Commenting on the occasion, Ajay Goel, CEO, Tata Power Solar said, “Our 25 year journey is a testimony to the path-breaking work done in transforming lives of communities across the country.“We hope to help countless customers adopt cleaner and efficient means of energy adoption, as well as mobilise communities with insufficient access to energy. As we steadily tread forward, we aim at expanding our reach into deeper parts of the country where we can contribute towards sustainability and make a mark by improving lives of millions more.”The company has strived to make solar power accessible to the far-flung regions of India, touching thousands of lives in every corner of the country, energising communities.Having built strong partnerships with numerous governments, non-profits and rural banks, Tata Power Solar has empowered those mired in energy

By Editorial Team

Darco Systems (M) Sdn. Bhd.

South East Asia's Solution to Water & Waste Management Technological innovations and a holistic business approach in water and wastewater treatment set Darco Water apart from its competitors Writer Emily Jarvis Project Manager James Mitchell Darco Water Technologies was established in 1999 to design, fabricate, assemble, install and commission engineered environmental systems (EE systems) for industrial use in Singapore and Malaysia; sourcing generic components globally to meet specific design requirements. The company became listed on the Singapore stock Exchange after just two and a half years, starting with no more than 50 employees. By 2007, sales turnover had reached an impressive s$88 million and today, the company has grown exponentially to have over 300 employees. In just over a decade Darco has expanded throughout Asia. The group now has operations in Singapore, Malaysia, mainland China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Indonesia, serving companies across a huge range of industrial practices including the following sectors: electronics, semiconductor, textile, food and beverage, printed circuit board, solar-energy, pharmaceuticals, and municipal water and wastewater treatment projects. After each project, Darco provide maintenance and servicing of water and wastewater management services (WM services). "We develop innovative engineering and knowledge-based solutions to provide for all water and wastewater requirements across various industries," affirms Zach Thye, Executive Director of Darco Water Technologies. Further, the group has recently expanded into air management systems, soil remediation and solid-waste recycling services. Meeting Demand in Southeast Asia With a management team that have more than 20 years of experience in water and wastewater treatment for a diverse range

By Editorial Team

Houston Electric

The Spark of Singapore Not only does Houston Electric have an excellent reputation, their extensive project list over the last twelve months signals continued and sustainable company growth Writer Emily Jarvis Project Manager James Mitchell Since Directors Jenny Tan and Jimson Wee formed the company in 1993, Houston Electric has witnessed strong growth. For 21 years, the company has been supplying specialist electric products and general electrical supplies to the oil and gas sector, water treatment and petrochemical plants. "Our company has three departments: a project sales department, which caters mostly to projects and provide customers a full package which refers to products assembled to meet our customer's requirements, instead of just individual components. We have an MRO (Maintenance, Repair and Operations) department, which caters specifically to drilling companies MRO requirements & day to day purchases; and a further department in charge of selling products that we are the authorised distributors of," says Jimson Wee, one of the company Directors. Houston Electric is the authorised distributor for renowned brands such as Appleton, Eaton, Sola HD, Conax Technologies, Siba Fuses, Shihlin transformers and RPS. ATEX and NEC Product Standards Houston Electric's wide range of products comply with both European ATEX and American NEC standards, enabling them to provide the appropriate products to meet various customer requirements effectively. Further, the company is ISO:9001 and Bizsafe Level 3 certified and is registered with the local Building and Construction Authority in order to keep up with the relevant standards, as Wee comments: "In recent years, we have noticed an increase

By Editorial Team

China to Top US Business Travel Spending by 2016

Despite concerns over a slowdown in the world's second largest economy, China's globe-trotting businessmen are on track to top travel spending by 2016, overtaking their U.S. counterparts, according to a new survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Business travel spending in China has soared over the past decade driven by the economy's stellar performance. Mainland businessmen spent $225 billion on travel in 2013, up from $32 billion in 2000, logging an average growth of 16.2 percent. Spending by their U.S peers has been far more subdued in comparison, at 1.1 percent annually since 2000, reflecting a long, drawn-out period of economic sluggishness. Last year, corporate America – the world's largest business travel market – spent $274 billion on travel. This shift in business travel spending is set to continue, according to Michael McCormick, Executive Director of GBTA. "This report underscores that China, along with the other BRIC countries of Brazil, Russia and India are leveraging their business travel expenditures into more economic opportunities," he said. Asia Pacific is already the largest business travel region in the world, comprising 38 percent of global business travel. Two-thirds of the activity in the region comes from China and Japan. This year, global business travel spending is expected to hit a record $1.18 trillion, marking a 6.9 percent rise over the previous year. Business travel is seen a barometer of the global economy, which is expected to expand 3.4 percent this year, up from 3.2 percent in 2013, according to the International Monetary Fund. See more at:

By Editorial Team

China Services Sector Sees Boom

Activity in China's services sector expanded at its fastest pace in 15 months in June, reinforcing signs that the broader economy is stabilising. The services purchasing managers' index (PMI) compiled by HSBC/Markit rebounded to 53.1 in June from 50.7 in May, well above the 50-point level that demarcates expansion in activity from contraction. "The expansion in the service sector reinforces the recovery seen in the manufacturing sector, and signaled a broad-based improvement over the month," said Qu Hongbin, chief economist for China at HSBC. "We think the economy is slowly turning around, and expect the recovery to remain supported by accommodative policies on both the fiscal and monetary fronts over the coming months," he added. In a sign that the domestic economy is regaining some internal strength, a sub-index measuring new business jumped to 53.8 in June, the strongest expansion since January 2013. Government data on the services sector released earlier in the day also pointed to continued strong expansion, though the pace of growth dipped slightly to 55 for June from 55.5 in May. The findings follow upbeat readings from similar factory activity surveys earlier in the week which offered signs that the world's second-largest economy is steadying as a flurry of government stimulus measures start to kick in. Beijing has stepped up policy support in recent months to give a lift to economic growth, which dipped to a 18-month low in the first quarter. Such measures include targeted reserve requirement cuts for some banks, quicker fiscal disbursements and hastening construction of railways and public

By Editorial Team

China and Greece sign US$4.6 Billion Trade Investment Deals

On 19th June, Greece and China signed over a dozen trade and investment deals with an approximated worth of $4.6 billion (€3.4 billion). The deals were agreed as Chinese Prime Minister Li Kequiang began a three-day official visit. "Greece can become China's gateway in Europe, and the start of a European trade corridor," Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras said at the joint conference with Li. Athens seeks to "bring China even closer to Europe," Samaras said. The deals included multi-billion dollar Chinese bank loans to build at least 10 Greek-owned ships in Chinese shipyards. Also, there have been agreements on the construction of solar energy parks in Greece, and trade deals involving marble, granite, wine and olive oil. "Co-operation between Greece and China is always mutually beneficial," Li said, adding that Beijing would also take an interested in new Greek bond issues expected later this year. "When the Greek government issues bonds, China will continue to be a long-term, responsible investor," Li commented.

By Editorial Team

China Reveals Plans to Scrap Millions of Cars to Reduce Pollution

China aims to take 6 million cars off the road in an attempt to improve air quality in smog-hit regions. China's Government has revealed plans to remove up to 6 million vehicles off the roads if they do not meet emission standards. The move is an attempt at reducing the country's pollution problems. The plan also outlines emission targets for various industries to meet in the next two years, as the council admits that many of the targets set for the 2011-2013 period haven't actually been met and that efforts need to be increased. One fifth of the vehicles to be scrapped will be sourced from the northern regions of China, currently the area hit worst by pollution. For example, the Hebei province has been targeted to scrap 660,000 vehicles, Beijing 333,000 and 160,000 in Shanghai. On top of this, next year, 5 million vehicles are set to be scrapped in highly developed regions like Yangtze River Delta, the Pearl River Delta and the smog-choked region of Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei. It has been stated by The Ministry of Environmental Protection that 7.8% of cars on China's roads do not meet the minimum national standards. The state news agency, Xinhua, published that 31.1% of air pollution in Beijing comes from vehicle exhaust emissions and the removal of older vehicles from the roads may not only reduce energy consumption but may help to reduce emissions of sulphur dioxide by 2% and nitrogen oxides by 5% per year. The plan stated that: "Strengthening control on vehicle emissions will be a major

By Editorial Team