574. Singapore is pleased to co-sponsor this agenda item, and would like to thank Switzerland for submitting this discussion paper on "Making MSMEs Competitive in Green Technology" and the cosponsors as well. Singapore would also like to appreciate the US' key coordinating role in the IP and Innovation side-event on 9 March 2021.
575. Singapore would like to share our experience on IP, MSMEs and Renewable Energy (RE). From launching the world's largest floating photovoltaic (PV) test bed to building the first industrial microgrid test system in South East Asia, Singapore is demonstrating that it can be a 'Living Lab' for RE innovators to test ideas. Beyond testing, innovators can leverage Singapore's world-class legal framework, robust IP regime, conducive business environment, and extensive global networks to commercialize their innovative RE ideas, transforming them into viable technologies for global markets. Allow me to share three key points underpinning Singapore's efforts.
576. First, the Singapore Government has invested and continues to invest heavily to drive PV research. For instance, the National Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2020 plan has specifically set aside USD 660 million for R&D and deployment initiatives related to urban solutions and sustainability. The funding will strengthen Singapore's innovation and research capacities in the areas of solar technologies, smart grids, and energy storage systems. Strong governmental commitment has been instrumental in fostering the growth of numerous research bodies undertaking complementary PV research. For example, the Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS), set up in 2008, was one of the first research bodies to cement the country's position as a solar energy hub in Asia. Singapore has also been reaching out to researchers and companies from all over the world to experiment, to act as a test bed, and to scale up their RE solutions through Singapore. REC Solar, a subsidiary of the Norway-based REC Group—a leading global provider of solar energy solutions—will inject close to USD 150 million into their production plant in Singapore, which is regarded as one of the world's largest fully integrated solar manufacturing facilities. The REC Group will also invest another USD 37 million in a research partnership with SERIS, which will accelerate the commercialization of innovative solar technologies in Singapore.
577. Second, Singapore has also nimbly turned rapid digitalization and disruptive technologies to its advantage. Through a highly coordinated policy directive, we are now an accessible launch pad for energy market players to create innovative solutions. In addressing the needs of the energy market, our Energy Market Authority launched a regulatory sandbox in October 2017 to enable the energy sector to test new products and services, in a creative manner, outside of Singapore's regulatory systems. The sandbox complements ongoing R&D initiatives, whereby market players can tap into new technologies or apply existing technologies in novel ways to create value for electricity and gas consumers, or to improve business and operational procedures. This bold move is essential for growing new, potentially disruptive technologies that do not fit within the existing regulatory environment and infrastructure.
578. Third, Singapore's IP Office (IPOS) has evolved from its traditional role as a registry and regulator to become a builder of Singapore's innovation ecosystem by working with other public agencies and enterprises to use IP as an enabler to transform ideas to assets to the market. At the policy level, IPOS is working closely with public agencies to develop the National IP Protocol, which lays down key principles and guidelines on how agencies should manage government IP. IPOS is also involved in helping realize the value of Singapore's IP assets. Through its subsidiary IP ValueLab (IPVL), IPOS is lending its deep technical IP knowledge to the rest of the government agencies in the areas of identifying, developing, and managing their portfolio of intangible assets that result from their innovation activities. IPVL has also intensified its engagements with Singapore-based enterprises to assist them in identifying and growing their intangible assets so that they can scale up and grow internationally. To equip local businesses with IP know-how and management expertise, IPOS has partnered with the Singapore Business Federation to help some 25,000 of its members access its suite of IP services. These include IP training and education as well as advisory services in IP management and strategy.
579. We look forward to hearing from other Members on their national experiences.