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Knowledge-Transfer Webinar: Project investment and financing

 

Women in Wind held its fourth Knowledge-Transfer Webinar on 13 November 2019, on the topic of project investment and financing. We were delighted to welcome Mary Quaney, CFO, Mainstream Renewable Power (pictured above), Bridget Beals, Clean Energy Director, KPMG UK, and Isabel Rodriguez, Investment Director, Glennmont Partners, to share their insights with our program Participants in a closed-door webinar.

Some of the insights include:

  • Mary reviewed her career in the energy industry to her recent appointment to the board of Mainstream Renewable Power. She also discussed her personal motivations as a mentor of Women in Wind, before discussing the typical financing structures for wind power projects. She highlighted the importance of strong financing partners in emerging markets which can encounter political volatility, such as the recent protests in Chile.
  • Bridget spoke about her background in energy and carbon trading, and her position in the clean energy team of KPMG UK. She noted that KPMG is forecasting up to 240 GW of power capacity in the UK system by 2050, of which 75 GW could be provided by offshore wind. She highlighted the need for innovative approaches to long-term debt, such as bonds, particularly as subsidies are being withdrawn across Europe. 
  • Isabel continued on this topic by addressing the general movement in financing towards merchant mechanisms, as declining subsidies prompt a move towards synthetic or private PPAs.  She provided a comprehensive overview of PPA structures, and the opportunities for refinancing to create more value for investors.

During the Q&A session, political risk was highlighted as one of the key risks for investment. Isabel pointed out that retrospective changes to regulation can undermine investor confidence, as happened in Spain several years ago. Maturity of the market is also a key factor, with Mary highlighting the need to factor in maturity of supply chain, availability of experienced contractors for construction and the risk profile of different PPAs which may not meet international standards.

Finally, a lively webcast ended with a few pieces of advice for women shaping their careers in the wind industry:

  • Be confident and dare to put your hand up.
  • Perfection is the enemy of the common good. Lose perfectionism, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – own your mistakes when they happen.
  • Practice power posing as a means to build confidence before entering a meeting or conference, and feel comfortable owning your space. 

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