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Aurex Insights: APAC Renewables – Jan 2022

Welcome to Aurex Group’s round-up of 2021 for the Asia Pacific Renewable Energy industry. In this edition, our team looks at some of this year’s deal highlights, how hiring trends differed from 2020, and significant factors and events that influenced the industry for talent and businesses.

What people are talking about

GIP announced plans to launch two new funds: one super core infrastructure fund with an initial target of $5B USD and a flagship fund.

Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners announced plans to launch a core infrastructure fund.

Singapore-based Keppel acquired a 51% stake in rooftop solar developer Cleantech Solar; Keppel hires Antonio Della Pelle as Executive Director of Energy Transition.

AP Acquisition Corp, a SPAC affiliate of Japan’s first private equity firm Advantage Partners, IPO’ed on the NYSE to raise $150M USD to invest in the decarbonization and renewable energy sectors in Asia (excluding mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao) and Europe.

EDPR partners with LS Electric for renewable energy development in South Korea.

Thailand’s Super Energy and China’s Sungrow partner to build South East Asia’s largest battery energy storage (BESS) project at 49MW.

Singapore holds employers accountable to ensure new employees are fully vaccinated in order to receive a work pass and in order to renew work passes of current employees.

What we are currently working on

For the full job descriptions regarding the roles below, please contact us directly.

  • Commercial Manager, Solar, South Korea

  • Legal Counsel, Renewable Energy, South Korea

  • Lead Engineer, Wind & Solar, South Korea

  • Junior Development Manager, Solar, Taiwan

  • Investment Manager, Solar & Wind, Singapore, HK, or Taiwan

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Round Up 2021 

Happy New Year! Although it is early, it seems there is already a lot of optimism for 2022! With Vaccinated Travel Lanes opened at the end of 2021, many people were able to unplug and finally travel abroad after two years in lockdown. The much-needed rest seems to have allowed workers to return invigorated and with ambitious goals in mind. While it is always important to look forward, the beginning of the year is also a good time to look backward to reflect on accomplishments and challenges before striking out on a new path for the coming year.

The first quarter of this year was dominated by big investments such as Total’s $2.5B stake in Indian renewables giant Adani Green Energy, Aker Horizon’s nearly USD $1B investment into Mainstream Renewable Power for a 75% stake, and InterContinental Energy’s (ICE) equity sale of $200M-$300M to fund 126GW of renewables.

In the second quarter, ICE announced that it had partnered with Australia’s CWP Global and Mirning Green Energy to build the 50GW Western Green Energy Hub with an estimated cost of $100B that would integrate solar, wind, and green hydrogen and cover an area larger than greater Sydney. South Korea also signed a contract for the world’s largest wind farm at a whopping 8.2GW capacity, and Swiss Investor EIP took a 49% stake in Germany’s BayWa r.e. for USD $642M.

As the year crossed into the second half, the third quarter brought new partnerships such as LOGOS and ENGIE collaborating for commercial and industrial rooftop solar development in Southeast Asia, Macquarie Capital and Taiwan’s Kaison Green Energy signing an MOU for electric vehicles, AC Energy investing into NEFIN, and Blackrock acquiring Korea Renewable Energy Development & Operations (KREDO) Holdings (previously known as IGIS Private Equity) for offshore wind and renewables development in Korea and investing into Korean solar aggregator Brite Energy. Malaysia’s Leader Energy acquired Singapore-based LYS Energy.

As the year came to a close, we saw many companies boast ambitious goals for 2022 and beyond such as Lightsource BP raising its development target from 10GW by 2023 to 25GW by 2025, SK E&S announcing it plans to be the world’s #1 hydrogen producer by 2025, AC Energy stating its mission to be the largest publicly listed renewables company in Southeast Asia, and Enel planning to triple renewable energy generation to 145GW by 2030.

How were hiring trends different in 2021 than last year?

This year, Aurex Group tracked 298 personnel moves of mid-to-senior career professionals in North and Southeast Asia and Australia across the renewable energy segments of Banks, Consultancies, Developers, EPCs, Investors, and OEMs. This is a slight increase, about 6.5%, from last year where we tracked 280 moves across the same segments and geographies.

Here are some of our findings:

For candidates leaving the Banking sector to pursue other jobs in the renewable energy sector, 50% went to project Developers (typically those backed by investors, private equity, or pension funds such as Blueleaf or Vena Energy), 40% went to other Banks, and 10% went to Investors.

Movement out of Consultancies was dominated my movement into Developers at 47%, followed by movement to direct competitors (other consultancies) at 28%, followed by equal likelihood to join a Bank or Investor at 7% each, with the remaining candidates either moving into a growing sector that we will probably start tracking next year, which is Corporates (ex: Nestle, Amazon, Fortescue Metals, etc), independent consulting, or leaving the workforce for various reasons such as the pursuit of higher education.

Within the Developer community, the vast majority moved to direct competitors with 75% moving to other Developers. Around 11% went to others such as government jobs, energy efficiency companies, corporates, or asset managers, 5% joined Investors, 3% went to OEMs, 1% went to EPCs, and 1% went to Banks. 

Of those who chose to leave their jobs in EPCs, 55% went to Developers, 26% went to direct competitors (other EPCs), 11% joined Consultancies, and the remaining were equally likely to join an Investor, OEM, or become an independent consultant/freelancer.

The pattern of those leaving Investors was similar to last year with 43% joining Developers and 43% going to other Investors, with the remaining 16% of candidates equally likely to join a Consultancy, EPC, or Bank.

Finally, of those lured away from their OEM employers, the most common place they went was to Developers at a rate of 44% followed by direct competitors (other OEMs) at 28%, then to Consultancies at 16%, then EPCs at 8% and Investors at 4%.

What do these moves tell us? Similar to last year, it confirms that both employer and candidate confidence was high despite work-from-home mandates and travel restrictions. While many experts are predicting a “resignation tsunami” in 2022, I do not believe that we will see this in the renewable energy sector. The renewables job market has remained strong throughout and companies adapted quickly to virtual interviews, hiring without physically meeting, and have mastered remote onboarding.

Second, it confirms that competition remains high in a finite talent pool. While governments continue to make it difficult to import talent from abroad, employers are forced to fight for the same candidates. We have witnessed candidates change jobs multiple times in the same year because competition is so high. We have also seen a candidate pool that is more particular in the jobs they will consider and bolder when it comes to negotiation employment terms such as probationary period length, title, flexible working arrangements, bonus, and of course, salary.

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Market Moves

  • Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners continues to lure senior leaders from Macquarie Capital with the latest being Daniel Wong, formerly global Co-Head of Macquarie Capital.

  • Miguel Angel Prado Balboa has joined EnergyRE in the US as Chief Executive Officer from EDP Renewables where he was Chief Executive Officer of North America.

  • Japanese private equity firm Advantage Partners has hired Keiichi Suzuki as Partner and Head of Renewables and Sustainability from Mitsubishi where he was General Manager of Private Equity Investment.

  • New Green Power has brought in Chloe Liao as Chief Investment Officer and Acting Chief Financial Officer from KPMG where she was a Senior Associate for Deal Advisory in Taiwan.

  • Keppel has hired Antonio Della Pelle as Executive Director to led its energy transition, formerly with KBR in Singapore as Director of Advisory for energy transition and sustainability in Singapore.

  • JLL hired Elke Kornalijnslijper as Head of Energy and Sustainability Services for Southeast Asia from SP Group where she was Head of Strategy and R&D for SP Digital.

  • Aquila Capital hired Masahiko Inoue as Director of Project Development from Macquarie Capital where he held a similar position in Japan.

  • Calven Bland has re-entered the workforce as Sales Operations Manager at Jacobs based in Singapore. He was previously Head of Construction for APAC with Vestas.

  • Taekwang Industrial hired Ryu Bin as a Director from KEPCO where he was a General Manager while Taekwang Power lost Jungsoo Kim, General Manager of Project Finance, to the Yeosu Samsan Offshore Wind Project where he is now a Project Development Manager.

  • Nikita Yu left Contemporary Amperex Technology company where she was a Regional Sales Director to join Sunseap as Vice President of International Project Development in Singapore.

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