An interview with DNV GL

Jeremy Chun Chong Ong
Jeremy Chun Chong Ong
Principal consultant at DNV GL

With roots stretching back to 1864, the DNV GL Group is a technical advisor on renewable energy projects, including the 50MW first-of-a-kind floating solar photovoltaic park at the Tengeh Reservoir in Singapore.  

“The unique pioneering feature of this PPA is that it requires the energy supplier to provide energy round the clock from both conventional and renewable energy sources.”

Having already advised on approximately 800MW of projects in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region, DNV GL combines strengths in solar and maritime energy so it can advise on floating technologies.

Across APAC, supportive governmental policies such as the deployment of demo-plants and ambitious renewables targets could propel the dissemination of floating solar technologies. 

“There is definitely a huge interest in the APAC region. China and Japan are really leading in floating solar deployment, so is Taiwan and I think Vietnam has the potential to become the next market, as well as Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines.

50MW Tengeh floating solar 

DNV GL was contracted by Public Utilities Board Singapore (PUB) in July 2019 as a technical advisor for south-east Asia’s largest public tender for floating PV thus far. The project – located on Tengeh Reservoir – aims to diminish annual carbon dioxide emissions by 28,000 tonnes.

“What sets this project apart is that we are working on behalf of the energy off-taker, not on behalf of the developer. The unique pioneering feature of this PPA is that it requires the energy supplier to provide energy round the clock which will require both conventional and renewable energy sources to power the off site facilities owned by the off-taker,” says Ong.  

“The generated electricity will be delivered for the next 25 years, throughout the lifetime of the project.” 

Ensuring cost-effective installations

According to Ong, one of the major technical challenges is designing a large utility-scale project on a potable water reservoir, which is not something witnessed in other similar Asian initiatives so far. The limited staging space at the Tengeh reservoir project represents another challenge for EPC contractors and developers. 

A good understanding of the regulation and requirements is therefore crucial, as this specific project is under scrutiny from local authorities and the national water agency. 
“Theoretically, this specific project could be more expensive, however we have seen EPCs elsewhere coming up with good installations and methodologies. Therefore, having the experienced and innovative EPC teams in place is essential to ensure a cost-effective installation.”

The 50MW project in Singapore is only the beginning, with other opportunities coming to the market in the next few years. 

“As we already see a few floating PV projects that have been tendered out on reservoirs and even a 5MW floating PV plant near shore is in the process of being built north of Woodlands Waterfront Park and I believe there is definitely a huge interest in Singapore,” Ong concludes.

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