Virtual Power Purchase Agreements in Singapore

Rising pressure to move towards net-zero carbon emissions has resulted in an increasing number of large corporations entering into physical power purchase agreements (PPA) and/or virtual power purchase agreements (VPPA) for renewable energy.

In resource-scarce Singapore, solar energy remains the main source of locally generated renewable energy. Recently, Singapore unveiled one of the world’s largest floating solar panel farms, but due to Singapore’s land constraints, the majority of the solar photovoltaic systems are deployed on building rooftops. Under a PPA arrangement, a corporation with rooftop space enters into a long-term offtake agreement to purchase power from a solar generator at a pre-agreed price based on a specific delivery schedule. This arrangement is commonly referred to as “solar leasing” in Singapore since the project developer will typically lease the rooftop from the corporation to install solar panels.

However, PPAs are often not feasible when dealing with constraints like limited rooftop space or where energy demands are in excess of rooftop energy generation. In such situations, we have seen more corporations turn to VPPAs to meet their sustainability goals.

We set out below a brief overview on VPPAs, including some of the key issues that, in our experience, parties to a contract often encounter.

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Rise of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) in Singapore

During the recent Budget announcement in February this year, Minister of Finance Lawrence Wong stated that Singapore will aim to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by or around 2050, in line with our commitment to address the challenges of climate change.

Presently, the bulk of Singapore’s energy supply comes from natural gas, and the power sector accounts for about 40 percent of the country’s total emissions. This paired with growing environmental awareness in Singapore have started putting pressure on organisations to meet clean energy goals as investors and customers become more vocal about the importance of using green energy. This growing pressure from stakeholders has led to a rise in the use of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) by businesses, as a means of fulfilling their sustainability commitments and reducing their carbon footprint.

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Singapore Implements Sanctions Against Russia

Ever since Russia’s act of aggression against Ukraine that began on 24 February 2022, the United States and several of its key allies have successively imposed significant sanctions against Russia. These sanctions range from prohibitions on trade and investment in certain regions of Ukraine and the designation of specific  nationals that cannot interact with the market and financial system of United States, to imposing new sovereign debt restrictions and even cutting Russia further off from the global economy by removing them from the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (aka SWIFT) messaging system and disconnecting them from the international financial system, making them no longer able to operate globally. On 8 March 2022, the Biden administration also announced that the United States would be banning the import of Russian oil.

Singapore has joined these efforts, with Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Vivian Balakrishnan issuing a Ministerial Statement in Parliament on 28 February 2022, stating that Singapore intends to impose its own sanctions against Russia. On 5 March 2022, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) issued a press statement with two factsheets that set out the details of the economic sanctions and restrictions.

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Debt Collection in Myanmar

The COVID-19 pandemic triggered severe economic shock, particularly in countries like Myanmar that rely heavily on labour-intensive industries. The recent change in the government has added further concerns to the political state of Myanmar. With this recent set of events, we have seen foreign investors and suppliers face difficulty in recovering debts in Myanmar. This Alert sets out actions that may be considered by creditors towards recovering debts from a Myanmar company.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the author and are not to be construed as legal advice.

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