Aurex Insights: Renewable Energy APAC

November 2020

Aurex Insights: Renewable Energy APAC

Aurex Group brings you its industry-specific report for the renewable energy market to provide a deeper understanding of the factors and events influencing the industry for candidates and businesses.

In this issue, our specialist team speaks with Joe Johor, Lead for Battery Energy Storage Solutions, Oceania at TES to discuss the current trends for the storage industry.

What people are talking about

 
  • Will Stonepeak hit its caps on the Stonepeak Global Renewables Fund (USD 2B) and Stonepeak Infrastructure Fund IV (USD 12B) with the departure of Trent Vichie? 
  • Is Korea’s mandatory PV recycling scheme one to be replicated?  
  • Can anything stop the flow of new solar developers into Taiwan? 
  • How long will Vietnam’s moratorium on new wind project proposals last? 

Leading Pieces of M&A News

  • Is the time right for John Laing to exit wind in Australia?
  • Floating wind project developer, Ideol, heard to be seeking equity sale or outright company sale 

Exclusive Interview:
Joe Johar, Lead for Battery Energy Storage Solutions, Oceania with TES

Company Overview: 

TES was established in 2005 and has evolved to become a global leader in providing Information Technology (IT) Lifecycle Services, offering custom solutions that help customers manage the commissioning, deployment, and retirement of IT assets securely and sustainably.  

Headquartered in Singapore TES has grown to over 1,700 employees working across 22 countries. Services include environmentally compliant recycling, asset recovery, managed deployment, onsite data destruction, and electronic parts harvesting. 

TES is able to ‘close the loop’, enabling customers to transition to a circular economy by extending the life of assets with reuse/repair and where this is not possible, ensuring that materials are recovered and recycled to generate new products. We do this to ensure we are sustaining tomorrow. 


Aurex: Hi Joe, thank you for joining us.  First, can you give us an introduction to yourself and your role at TES? 


Joe:
 Thanks for your time. I have been based in Sydney for the past 35 years and have been very fortunate to be part of emerging industries throughout my time. I actually started my career in recruitment. With over 15 years’ experience with companies like Downer EDI, Eltek, SMA, Verdia, and SembCorp I’ve had exposure to EPC, manufacturing, and project development within the renewables industry. I’ve coupled my engineering qualifications with a sales and business development focus. 

I joined TES in August 2020 as the Business Lead for the Battery Energy Storage Solutions (BESS) business for Oceania. I am very excited about what we are doing with battery recycling and second-life storage solutions. 

Recently TES announced the opening of two new battery recycling facilities – TES B, our flagship integrated battery recycling and repurposing facility in Singapore, and Recupyl, a mechanical battery recycling plant in Grenoble, France.  The approximately $25 million investment positions TES as a leader in the lithium battery recycling market and the growing second life battery space. 

My role and responsibility are to establish our market offer for the use of retired batteries from electric vehicles and utilise them in second-life applications such as energy storage solutions within the commercial and utility sector. These second life BESS solutions allow for improved financial metrics compared to first life solutions. We are targeting a 50% cost reduction from conventional battery projects thus allowing for more compelling business cases for battery storage. 


Aurex: Second life sounds interesting, what does that actually mean in relation to retired electric vehicle batteries? 

Joe: When the battery from an electric vehicle reaches the end of its first life, manufacturers have a few options: they can dispose of it, recycle the valuable metals, or reuse it. Repurposing the battery is usually a more commercially appealing proposition over recycling and recovering the battery metals. TES has developed a unique process to test and warrant these retired batteries.  

Lithium-ion batteries in EV applications degrade within the first 5 years of operation and are designed for approximately 10 years. However, these batteries can live a second life, even when they no longer meet EV performance standards, which typically include maintaining 80 percent of total usable capacity. As such, we evaluate these batteries and then see if they are able to perform sufficiently to serve less-demanding applications, such as stationary energy-storage services, thus providing a second life.  


Aurex: What applications can second life BESS be used for? 

Joe: Well it depends on the battery cycling (charging and discharging) requirements. However, to date the most suitable applications for second life energy storage projects would be: deferring transmission and distribution investments, providing reserve energy capacity to maintain a utility’s power reliability, and, lastly, taking advantage of power-arbitrage opportunities by storing renewable power for use during periods of scarcity, thus providing greater grid flexibility and firming to the local grid. 

At TES, we are using these second-life batteries and combining them with plug-and-play, turnkey, containerised solutions. This could contain the power conversion system, BMS (battery management system), lithium battery, fire suppression, and high voltage AC power. They are modular in design and can be scaled from 300kWh up to multi MW configurations. 

Singapore, TES B facility – 1MW second life BESS system in a 40ft container


Aurex: Have you installed any of these second life BESS systems? 

Joe: Our TES B facility in Singapore has recently commissioned a renewable storage project. This comprised of a 350kW solar PV system coupled with a second life 1MW lithium-ion battery system. This system incorporates a full turnkey solution with a 40ft container allowing benefits of peak shaving and deferment in infrastructure spending. Further to that the BESS system could also provide emergency backup power to critical services in the event of a power failure.  

We are also in the process of putting a second life lithium-ion battery system at our NSW, Villawood facility. 


Aurex: What are your thoughts about the storage industry? 

Joe: If we look back at the solar industry for commercial projects, initially the cost of technology was quite high with paybacks of 8-10 years. Over time with efficiencies in technology and government rebates, commercial projects in Oceania have been on the rise with paybacks of about 4-6 years. Similarly, with BESS commercial projects, the cost of battery technology currently attracts lengthy paybacks. However, at TES we are targeting to introduce low costs of energy storage solutions making the business case for second-life applications a lot more appealing shaving off years in the payback. 


Aurex: What message would you like to leave with our readers? 

Joe: The goal is: sustaining tomorrow by adapting today. With the first generation of solar systems approaching the end of life, the issue of recycling and responsibly disposing of PV panels and batteries are fast becoming a major consideration for the industry. If we can work together and outline the recycling options currently available for PV modules and batteries and the best practices for the responsible disposal of expired solar components, that would be considered a positive way forward. New, emerging solutions such as second life BESS systems allow us to achieve these goals whilst pushing for a circular economy. 

Hiring Trends 

Diversify & Retrain.  We mentioned in our September newsletter the trend toward hiring individual country managers in multiple locations rather than a single, overarching regional manager.  Accepting the fact that business travel has not resumed as quickly as many hoped, companies are needing to rely more and more on employees on the ground in local markets to accomplish the mission without external support.  Whereas the previous mentality from some companies was to hire specialists in each sector (ex: onshore wind developer, offshore wind developer, solar developer, M&A leader, etc), we are now seeing higher demand for candidates who can serve cross-sector and cross-function. Candidates who pair an engineering degree and legal or finance degree along with post-qualification work experience to show a fundamental knowledge of technical due diligence and commercial due diligence are in high demand.  Similarly, those who not only originate new projects and bring to RTB status but have a proven track record of project managing the EPCIC process until hand-off to the O&M team, are commanding a premium. While candidates of this caliber come from a vastly smaller talent pool and generally cost more to hire initially, employers are hoping these “Swiss army knives” will save them money in the longterm. 


We are also hearing of companies opting to retrain staff across technologies.  In Taiwan, especially, where the central government seems to be unable to resolve the infighting between the Bureau of Energy, Council of Agriculture, Ministry of Interior (whose Coastal Management Act has limited development), and Civil Aeronautics Administration (which objects to wpd’s Guanyin project), we are seeing staff get retrained from offshore wind to onshore wind or solar.  While this generally allows employers to retain top talent by keeping them engaged and generating revenue while waiting to return to their core business, it also causes some candidates to seek to use their talent in more progressive markets. 

 

Here in Singapore, the government is pushing hard for retraining, with the Ministry of Manpower recently advising employers “to look beyond hiring the perfect candidate” according to a recent article on AsiaOne last week and to hire “local job seekers who may not have the full set of skills to do the job from day one, but who can be trained up.”  As a reminder to employers in Singapore, as of September 1st, the minimum salary threshold for EP holders was raised to SGD $4,500 per month and effective December 1st, slightly higher at SGD $5,000 per month for the financial services sector.  From October 1st, employers also must post jobs on the MyCareersFuture.sg website for a minimum of 28 days if they are considering an EP or S Pass hire and must consider all local applicants before hiring foreigners. If you have further questions, contact an Aurex Group recruitment consultant for more information. 

Market Moves

  • Co-Founder and Executive Vice Chairman of Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners, Trent Vichie, announced his retirement. 
  • The outgoing CEO of Orsted, Henrick Poulsen, will become a Senior Advisor and member of the Investment Committee on the board of AP Moeller starting in February 2021. 
  • Equinor CEO, Eldar Saetre, announced his retirement and that Andrews Opedal, formerly the Head of Technology, Projects, and Drilling will be taking over. 
  • Vattenfall’s SVP and Head of Wind Energy, Gunnar Groebler, will be joining Germany steel company, Saltzgitter as CEO in May 2021. 
  • Alexander Lenz, the former CEO of Conergy, has joined Aquila Capital as CEO of Asia, based in Singapore. 
  • Ashwani Kumar was appointed CEO of Suzlon in October. 
  • Adam Huang, who was CFO of Chenya Energy, has joined EnBW in Taiwan as a PV Developer. 
  • Voith Fuji Hydro has appointed a new President of Japan, Junji Kasagi
  • Andres Martin Baldu has joined Keppel Offshore & Marine in Singapore as Head of Project Development from Total Eren
  • Ari Soerono left Vena Energy, where he was Country Head of Indonesia, for Danareksa Investment Management.
  • Green Giraffe’s Matthew Taylor and Marion Collette are said to be relocating from the London and Paris branches respectively to open a branch office in Singapore. 

Asia Renewable Team

Amy Marietta
Consultant- Power Generation, Asia

Mobile: +65 9424 0023
Email: amy.marietta@aurexgroup.com

EA 18S9493 | R1878463

Daniel Rose
Head of Technical Disciplines – Energy & Natural Resources

Mobile: +65 9018 3743
Email: daniel@aurexgroup.com

EA 18S9493 | R1550272

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