Australia offers the greatest opportunities for brownfield renewable investments in Asia Pacific, and is only second to Vietnam in terms of greenfield renewable investment opportunities. This is according to a poll run by global law firm Baker McKenzie at its flagship renewables conference, held in Singapore earlier this month.
However, a survey of more than 120 renewable industry representatives also found the sector is suffering from a chronic shortage of quality renewable projects to invest in or finance in across the region. Just 3% of those surveyed believe there are currently enough projects to meet investor and lender demand.
The poll also revealed international and multilateral lenders are today experiencing increasing competition from all sides, with respondents seeing China as a fierce competitor in this space, while increasing liquidity in local banking markets is forcing international lenders to compete harder with domestic and regional players, according to 85% of those business leaders surveyed.
Paul Curnow, partner in Baker McKenzie's Environmental Practice Group in Sydney and the head of the Asia Pacific Renewable Energy and Clean Technology practice, said: "The results were no surprise for Australia, which has long offered incredible opportunities for those investing in renewables, given its mature market, however that said, many hot spots exist within the region for renewables investment growth such as Vietnam and Indonesia."
The survey also found that the notable squeeze on tariffs in the Asia Pacific renewables market was not likely to end any time soon, with a full 84% of those surveyed predicting that tariffs would continue to fall.
"Huge appetite exists for renewables across the Asia Pacific region which is only impeded by the lack of quality projects to invest in. Funding will readily flow from both the private and public sectors, somewhat indifferent to location, given the chance to invest in a quality project." Paul commented.
"Our recent report, Smart Energy, reveals that companies, investors and governments are starting to explore storage alongside renewables projects. We are seeing investment increase in renewables, while at the same time, investment increasing in storage technology as the economics of building such facilities become far more favourable." Paul said.
Singapore was also seen to have cemented its position as a key player in the sector, with 75% of those surveyed rating the City State as one, if not the most, important financial and legal hub for supporting development and investment in renewables across Asia Pacific.