Aurex Insights: APAC Renewable Energy
Welcome to the latest coverage of the APAC Renewable Energy market by Aurex Group!
In this review, our specialist team reflects on the activity and resiliency in the market in 2020 and how companies have positioned themselves for growth in 2021. This edition summarizes hiring trends witnessed in 2020, how this affected the hiring landscape, and how to capitalise on the trend towards a candidate-driven market going forward.
What People Are Talking About
- China plans to abolish restrictions on foreign investment in renewable energy.
- Japan sets a target of 45GW for offshore wind by 2040.
- Taiwan proposes reduced tariffs on solar and wind; biomass, energy from waste, and geothermal unchanged.
M&A and Funds News
- The CI IV fund, from Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, met its EUR 5.5bn targets making it the largest-ever greenfield renewable energy fund globally.
- InterContinental Energy (ICE), a green hydrogen developer, launches an equity sale to fund a projected 126GW of renewable energy globally.
- Enel announces a strategic plan to invest EUR 70B in renewable energy and increase the portfolio to 120GW by 2030.
What we are currently working on:
- Regional Finance Director – Asia
- Project Manager, Renewable Energy E&C – South Korea
- Contract Manager, Renewable Energy E&C – South Korea
- Project Planner, Renewable Energy E&C – South Korea
- Managing Director – Technical Projects – Renewable Energy – APAC
- Contract & Claims Manager – Hydropower – Asia
- Project Development Manager – Renewable Energy – Abu Dhabi
Round up of 2020
As we all return to the offices to start 2021 afresh, let’s pause for a moment and take some time to reflect on the winding road behind us that carried us through 2020. When Aurex Group shared its year-end update for 2019, the renewables community was celebrating a number of “firsts” including first power generated by Taiwan’s first commercial offshore wind farm, installation of the first large-scale floating solar project in Southeast Asia completed in Vietnam, and both India and Korea launched their first LiDARs to measure wave and wind conditions in preparation for their first offshore wind farms. No one could have guessed the challenges 2020 would bring with the outbreak of COVID-19/SARS-2.
The first quarter of the year was dominated by hesitation, postponement, and a wait-and-see attitude as governments locked down, restricted travel, and implemented social distancing measures. There were, however, rays of light. Keppel Capital launched a USD $1B target infrastructure fund, Marubeni acquired I Suared Capital’s Chenva Energy, SiemensGamesa bid to acquire Senvion’s 100% of ASX-listed wind developer Windlab (and completed the transaction in July), Northland Power acquired Korean developer Dado Offshore Wind, and Constant Energy completed for its C&I platform.
However, by the second quarter, we were seeing activity pick up in the market. Vietnam released new FIT rates for utility-scale, rooftop, and floating solar projects; Singapore’s government investment arm Temasek paired up with Thailand’s BANPU to invest $150M into C&I solar development, Sunseap; Triconti Windcraft was authorized by the Department of Energy to create the first offshore wind farms in the Philippines; Renova achieved financial close for its 75MW biomass plant in Miyagi prefecture, Japan; Adani Green Energy and Total partnered to develop 2.1GW of solar in India; Innogy & Asia Cement and wpd & LeaLea group partnered to develop offshore wind projects in Taiwan, and the South Korean government shortlist developers for the first phase of the 2.1 GW floating solar installation on the Seamangeum seawall.
By the third quarter, it seemed people had given up on waiting to be told when business could return to normal and took matters into their own hands. Orsted and TSMC signed the world’s largest corporate PPA; a massive, record-setting 8GW solar development was awarded to Adani Green Power in India; the City of Ulsan, South Korea signed MOUs with 19 floating wind companies; Taiwan announced it would launch the Third Round offshore wind tender; we observed companies such as Orsted, wpd, ENGIE, Berkeley Energy, Climate Fund Managers, and Aquila Capital accelerate hiring; the Danish and Vietnamese governments were developing their “Input to Roadmap” to expand offshore wind power generation in Vietnam and Vietnam rolled out a new PPP law; Indonesia removed its Build-Own-Operate-Transfer requirement for renewable energy plant developers; EDF, SembCorp, Total Solar Distributed Generation, and Macquarie’s Blueleaf were said to have set up offices in Vietnam; and Tokyo Gas invested $22M into Principle Power Inc to fuel the expansion of floating wind.
As if things could not get more exciting, the fourth quarter brought us Iberdrola’s announcement to invest EUR 75B in energy and infrastructure by 2025 with 51% earmarked for renewables and Iberdrola’s acquisition of Acacia Renewables in Japan; Stonepeak Infrastructure’s maiden renewable energy fund reached $1.25B in November and is expected to hit its $2B cap in early 2021; Blackrock acquired a majority stake in Taiwanese solar developer New Green Power; First Sentier Investors bought 6 wind farms from John Liang in Australia; and even the commodity trading houses got on board with the renewable energy transition with Trafigura partnering with IFM Investors to create Nala Renewables with a goal to invest in 2 GW of solar, wind, and power storage projects globally as well as its subsidiary, Puma Energy, committing USD 100M to decarbonizing its mid-and downstream assets; Mercuria investing into EnCap-backed Broad-Reach Power renewable energy fund; Gunvor set a target to invest 10% of the company’s equity value in renewables; and Vitol considered setting up a renewable energy fund for Africa.
This year, Aurex Group observed and tracked over 280 personnel moves of mid-to-senior career level professionals in North and Southeast Asia and Australia across the renewable energy segments of Banks, Consultancies, Developers, EPCs, Investors, and OEMs. As we analyzed the data, we saw some clear trends:
- Movement out of Banks to Developers and Investors (50/50).
- Movement out of Consultancies primarily to Developers (42%), other Consultancies (24%) EPCs (21%), and Investors (21%).
- Those who were in Developers typically moved to other Developers, approximately 70%, followed by Investors (10%) and Consultancies (5%).
- Of employees who left EPCs, about 40% went to Developers, 15% went to competitor EPCs, 10% went to Investors, and 10% went to OEMs.
- Those working in Investors who changed jobs this year were equally likely to join another Investor (50%) or join a Developer (50%).
- Employees at OEMs were lured away to Developers in about 47% of moves we tracked, followed by 16% moving to direct competitor OEMs.
So, what does this tell us? Well, first off, it tells us that hiring was strong despite work-from-home mandates and restrictions on business travel. Companies leveraged video conferencing and other digital tools to assess, interview, reference, and extend offers to candidates. Candidates also became more confident in their ability to assess corporate culture remotely and onboard for their new jobs virtually.
Second, it tells us that competition continues to be fierce and that we are operating in a candidate-driven market. Candidates are easily able to move between different types of companies, various renewable technologies, and different parts of the project lifecycle. Many candidates have multiple competing offers to choose from.
Third, in a trend that has not changed from last year, we are seeing that Developers are continuing to be the driving force in hiring. They are not only offering competitive salaries but attractive bonuses that motivate candidates who back themselves to perform to take a chance.
Aurex Group, as a specialist recruitment firm dedicated to the Energy & Infrastructure sectors, can help companies in their recruitment efforts by ensuring that your brand and hiring message are well-represented when approaching candidates in the market, by ensuring that candidates understand your corporate culture during one-on-one conversations rather than simply receiving an email of a job description listing required skills and that we have in-depth discussions of future career growth to ensure that the talent you hire is motivated to stay with the company longterm.