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Aurex Insights: APAC Renewables – Sep 2021

Welcome to Aurex Group's Asia monthly snapshot for the renewable energy industry where we highlight some of the factors and events influencing the industry for talent and businesses. In this issue, our specialists discuss Copper's role in the low carbon economy. We also take a look at developing hiring trends and recent talent movement.

What people are talking about

Indonesia’s 145MW Cirata floating solar reaches financial close.

AC Energy invests USD80M in Malaysian solar developer NEFIN.

Macquarie Capital and Taiwan’s Kaison Green Energy sign EV MOU.

Japan to award 1.5GW of offshore wind licenses this year.

Banpu to exit Sunseap.

Wave energy demonstration project to launch in Western Australia.

Blackrock invests $100M into solar aggregator Brite Energy.

Taiwan’s National Development Fund seeks minority investments in offshore wind.

​What we are currently working on

For the full job descriptions regarding the roles below, please reach out to us directly.

  • In-house Counsel – Offshore Wind & Solar – Korea

  • In-house Counsel – Solar Developer – Taiwan 

  • Wind Project Engineer – Onshore Wind – Korea 

  • Junior Development Manager – Solar – Taiwan

  • Permitting & Consent Director – Offshore Wind – South Korea

  • Offshore Installation Manager (WTG) – Offshore Wind – Taipei, Taiwan

  • Modelling & Simulation Specialist – Low Carbon Systems - Singapore

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Copper’s role in the low carbon economy

Copper is a very important metal in the energy transition. Copper is strategically perhaps more important than oil as decarbonization of transport and industrial fuels through electricity requires a lot of copper. An electric car, for example, contains five times more copper than a car with a traditional combustion engine. Aluminium is a good substitute, although it does not have the same thermal and electrical conductivity as copper. To truly decarbonize, the International Energy Agency predicts that the market for critical minerals, mainly copper, must grow seven times in the next decade. This level of supply will support the photovoltaic systems reliant on copper for solar energy, wind turbine production, energy storage as well as electric vehicle production.

However, with that said, there are several challenges associated with sourcing copper. One of the main difficulties involves going to difficult parts of the world to mine this product. Several copper mines are in hard-to-reach areas without the proper infrastructure to transport and export the metals globally. This means companies involved have a capital-intensive exploration and production (E&P) process and investment is only possible if prices are high enough to support such initiatives. 

Ivan Glasenberg, the CEO of Glencore, the 4th largest copper miner in the world, once said that copper prices need to hit USD $15,000 per tonne to encourage companies to go on this journey versus where it is currently trading around $9,300 per tonne. However, even if this price point is met, new E&P is not for the faint of heart. New billion-dollar copper mining projects can take 7 to 10 years to start generating meaningful returns. Even if the mining industry is tempted by the high prices, it might be too late to prevent large supply deficits from happening later in the decade.

What does this mean then for the low carbon economy as a whole? Copper continues to play an integral part in the existing system and its dominance is likely to rise with time. We can expect to see an increase in hiring demand for people in procurement functions with metals knowledge and market research functions for this metal incorporates. In trading houses, we expect to see not only demand for physical traders but also firms diving in to seize arbitrage opportunities and it is likely demand for paper traders will increase in the next year. We expect demand for hiring in this space to remain positive and potentially be at a level where there is more demand than supply in the labour pool.

Summer hiring trends

After a lull in hiring during the month of August while Europe took its summer holidays, we have seen a marked increase in hiring activity across all levels of seniority from the appointment of Peter Schultz as Head of Business Development for Asia with Berkeley Energy in Singapore to mid-level appointments such as Dongjun Lim as Project Development Manager for Renewables with GS Energy in Korea to junior appointments such as Yaning Liu joining Vena Energy as Investment Analyst in Singapore.

With travel still restricted throughout much of Asia, we suspect that greenfield development will remain difficult through the end of 2021. We are hearing that there is a growing appetite for developers to acquire projects in the post-permitting phase and are seeing strong demand for candidates who can support technical due diligence and financial valuation. We expect demand for these kinds of candidates to remain high even though the talent pools are quite shallow. 

Similarly, we are seeing demand for in-house legal counsels who can help structure shareholder agreements and facilitate deals. Companies that have recently had changes within their legal teams include Vena Energy in Taiwan, Blueleaf Energy in Singapore, Cleantech Solar in Singapore, POSCO Energy in Korea, Equinor in Korea, and Equis Development in Korea.

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Market Moves

  • Former CEO of Principle Power Inc, Joao Metele, joins Global Infrastructure Partners as Senior Advisor based in the USA.

  • Shivanan Sundralingam has left Keppel Renewable Energy to join Blue Water Shipping as Head of Renewables for APAC.

  • Blueleaf Energy continues to fill its new organizational structure with the appointment of Arnaud Aryal as Corporate Solutions Director, Viktor Dancza as Engineering Manager, Alysha Lau as Senior HR, Pragya Jha as Legal Consultant, and Therese Neo as Investment Manager.

  • Jon Kang joined Equis Development in Korea as EPC Technical Head from Daelim Energy.

  • RWE Renewable Energy has expanded its team in Taiwan with the appointment of Sophorn Chea as Senior Development Manager for Offshore Wind and Yu-kai Wang as Senior Technical Development Manager.

  • Fellow Denham Capital alum Daniela Dragan joins Jasandra Nyker at Nala Renewables in London along with Georgios Kefalas from SUNEL Group as Construction Site Manager and Carlos Peraita Colsa as Senior Project Manager based in Switzerland.

  • Takashi Kanda joins JERA as Senior Development Manager for Overseas Offshore Wind from Orix Group in Japan.

  • Yeojin Yun joins Hanwha Solutions in Korea as Managing Director of Solar and Q Cells from GS Holdings where he was General manager.

  • Narkjoon Choi joins Samchully Asset Management as Investment Manager for Energy and Infrastructure in Korea.

  • COP has hired Saerom Choi in South Korea as Senior Commercial Manager from KORAMCO.

We always look forward to keeping in touch and exchanging ideas, insights, and opinions. If you are a company considering hiring, we welcome the opportunity to present our services and capabilities. If you are a candidate, please check our jobs page or reach out to us to discuss your background, skills, and future aspirations.

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Amy Marietta 
Consultant, Power Generation, Asia 

Aurex Singapore Pte Ltd 

amy.marietta@aurexgroup.com 

+65 9424 0023 

12 Marina View, #11-01 Asia Square Tower 2, Singapore 018961 

EA 18S9493 | R1878463