Smart grid for UNESCO forest site wins Erasmus Energy Business Award

A smart grid designed to supply carbon-neutral power to a nature-rich UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Philippines has won this year’s Erasmus Energy Business Award at the third annual Erasmus Energy Forum in Rotterdam, hosted by Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM).

Atem S. Ramsundersingh, CEO/Member Board of Directors of Singapore-based WEnergy Global accepted the Erasmus Energy Business Award for the best and most innovative sustainable business idea from Volker Beckers, chairman of the Advisory Board of the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business, which is RSM’s specialist research centre, during the Erasmus Energy Forum on Thursday, 19 June 2014.

WEnergy is a partner in the Sabang Renewable Energy Corporation’s project. Construction will start in August 2014 in Barangay Cabayugan, Puerto Princesa, Palawan, Philippines. The area is an important habitat for biodiversity conservation and home to some of the most important forests in Asia. The Sabang project will include a solar-powered photovoltaic power plant, diesel generators and 15 kilometres of smart grid to supply 650 local consumers, improving their standards of living and helping local businesses to flourish in a sustainable manner.


Ten entries made it to the final selection for the Erasmus Energy Business Award, and were judged on their innovation, sustainability, viability and impact. Judges were Volker Beckers, Dirk Schlesinger from CISCO, Jan Paul Buijs from Enexis and Dr John Collins from University of Minnesota.

Judges made a shortlist of three before selecting the winner. The two runners-up were;

  • Universal Smart Energy Framework (USEF), based in Arnhem in the Netherlands, an alliance of national and international companies specialising in specifications and guidelines for energy frameworks for co-creation of smart energy systems, enabling the supply of energy to match the changing social context of the 21st century.
  • Smarter Grid Solutions, a company based in Glasgow, London and New York, and its Active Network Management (ANM) system for power generators to use existing assets as they develop smart power network controls with more efficient and faster connections of generation to distribution networks. ICT is used to monitor and control the power network, making better use of the real-time network capacity.

Mr Ramsundersingh from winning firm WEnergy Global described the Sabang project to the 150-strong audience at the Erasmus Energy Forum Business Day at the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum. The diverse audience included leaders from business and industry, as well as policymakers and academics.

The two-day Erasmus Energy Forum continues on Friday, 20 June with an academic conference at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.

Erasmus Energy Forum

Since its inception in 2012, the annual Erasmus Energy Forum event, organised and hosted by the Erasmus Centre for Future Energy Business at RSM has grown in size and influence. The first two annual events in 2012 and 2013, brought together representatives from a wide range of industries, academia and politics, in front of large influential audiences. The Forum features world-class thinkers, academics and leaders from a wide range of business and industry sectors – including transport, power producers, equities and unions – as well as leading academics addressing major themes from the perspectives of all stakeholders in front of an international audience.

The 2014 event addressed three themes: EU policies and markets; energy microgrids and new business models; and financing sustainable energy. Headlining the event was European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, who spoke about European Energy Policy for 2020 and beyond and the need for a comprehensive strategy to strengthen the security of energy supplies. Other speakers included Allard Castelein, CEO of Port of Rotterdam Authority; Peter Smink, CEO of Nuon in the Netherlands; Hans ten Berge, Secretary General, Union of the Electricity Industry EURELECTRIC; Mel Kroon, CEO of power transmission firm TenneT; Prof. Marc Oliver Bettzüge, University of Cologne; Robbert-Jan Stegeman, CIO of Alliander in the Netherlands; Volker Beckers, expert in the integrated energy business; Prof. Peter Birkner, Member Executive Board of Mainova in Germany; Prof. Derek Bunn, London Business School; Peter Atherton, equity researcher for utilities firm Liberum Capital UK; Guido Dubbeld, CFO of Eneco Holding NV; Prof. Wolf Ketter, RSM and Dr Ronald Huisman, Erasmus University Rotterdam.

This year for the first time, the Forum took place over two days; Business Day at the Rotterdam Wereldmuseum and an academic conference at Erasmus University, Rotterdam for Science Day, which includes the inaugural address of recently appointed Professor of Next Generation Information Systems at RSM, Dr Wolf Ketter.

Previous Erasmus Energy Forum events have been recognised for successfully bridging business, science and policy, and offering a unique environment for exchanging information, as well as valuable networking opportunities.

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is ranked among Europe’s top 10 business schools for education and among the top three for research. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who carry their innovative mindset into a sustainable future thanks to a first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes. RSM also has offices in the Amsterdam Zuidas business district and in Taipei, Taiwan. 

For more information on RSM or on this release, please contact Marianne Schouten, Media & Public Relations Manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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