S'pore banks on green data centers, logistics

Recognizing IT's role in reducing carbon emissions, Singapore identifies four areas to export local infocomm green competencies that have addressable market size of US$70 billion.
Written by Vivian Yeo, Contributor

SINGAPORE--Recognizing that IT can play a big role in helping to reduce carbon emissions around the world, Singapore has identified four areas in which the competencies of its infocomm industry can be exported, a government official revealed.

Speaking at the Eco World 2010 conference and exhibition here Thursday, Lena Ng, divisional director for infocomms and media at IE Singapore's corporate group, noted that statistics from Gartner show the ICT industry contributes about 2 percent of global carbon emissions. At the same time, IT can help other industries lower carbon output some 98 percent of the time, she said.

After taking into account the competitive advantages of Singapore's ICT industry, IE Singapore chose to focus on efficiencies in data centers, as well buildings, transport and e-services.

Citing a study the government's trade development agency conducted with Frost & Sullivan, Ng said the addressable market size in the four areas amounted to a "huge" US$70 billion. This can be broken down into US$16 billion for data centers, US$14 billion for buildings, US$19 billion for e-services and US$20 billion for logistics.

In the area of logistics, for example, supply chain planning and management capabilities are an integral component, she explained. Without proper route optimization, delivery fleets could return empty and still emit carbon.

According to Ng, the government agency has over the last six months conducted a green audit of local companies interested in marketing their products and services overseas. Eight early adopters including CrimsonLogic, Emerio and 1-Net, were identified following an assessment on their go-to-market strategy competencies in green IT.

IE Singapore also intends to release soon a whitepaper it put together after collaborating with other government agencies, which will be used to promote the country's green ICT competencies to the international market, she added.

To better assist businesses in their efforts to take their green technology global, it set up a Green Programme Office early this year and also provides an Internationalisation Capability Development Programme (iCDP) to fund consultancy costs.

"As a CXO, CEO in the green ICT company, you have to make the right decision, take the right gamble in order to [be the] first-mover in the green economy," said Ng.

Green in clean
Also looking into export of green solutions is IE Singapore's sister agency, the Economic Development Board (EDB).

According to Leonard Lee, EDB's head of urban solutions, clean energy is one of six areas the organization is focusing on in its pursuit of exporting products to Singapore's urban problems.

In the area of clean energy, there has been to date a number of solar energy testbeds here in the form of public and private initiatives. These include an Intelligent Energy System smart grid pilot project and a micro grid project in offshore island Pulau Ubin.

In addition, the recently-announced CleanTech Park will serve as a facility for testbedding "all kinds of energy", he added.

Last year, Singapore committed S$1 billion (US$716 million) to sustainable development initiatives over five years. Some 40 percent has been earmarked for projects including green buildings and solar panel testbeds in public housing, said Inderjit Singh, Member of Parliament and advisor to Eco World 2010, in a statement Thursday.

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