The world’s biggest supplier of wind power technology is pumping S$500 million into Singapore over the next ten yearsVestas Wind Systems on Monday opened its largest research facility outside its home country, Denmark.

The announcement comes as 2,500 industry players and experts gather in Singapore for the country’s inaugural International Energy Week.

Wind energy may be an unlikely source of power for land-scarce Singapore, but that has not stopped Vestas Wind Systems from basing its regional headquarters here.

The centre in Singapore is Vesta’s fifth R&D facility in the world and it expects to triple the number of research scientists and engineers it has here to 300 by 2012.

Finn Strom Madsen, president, Vestas Technology R&D, said: “A wind turbine is a high technology machine and it consists of more than 7,000 parts.

“What Singapore doesn’t have in wind resources and in wind turbine, they have in human brain capacity. The team here is working globally with our global teams in product and technology development.”

The Singapore centre will focus on research areas like material science and software development, and collaborate with public and private institutions.

It is already collaborating closely with two local universities – Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS) – and the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, and is exploring further collaborations with institutions, particularly those which have expertise in the aerospace, marine and precision engineering sectors.

With strong global interest in clean energy, Singapore Polytechnic has launched a renewable energy course this year – building on its research into wind energy that began over 10 years ago.

Dr Jiang Fan, senior lecturer, School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Singapore Polytechnic, said: “We can still experience strong winds during the monsoon season. As such we can install a small wind turbine. … Singapore can be used to study the design – for example, the design of the wind turbine and the wind system control.”

Other challenges ahead for Singapore researchers will be to improve battery storage capacity, which is necessary for wind to be a stable source of energy.

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