On the 30 March Glennmont brought together a group of the leading infrastructure investors from the Netherlands and surrounding countries to discuss the recent trends and developments in offshore wind investing. The message was clear from all parties that offshore wind is expanding and offering great opportunity for investment; that risks are becoming more recognised and quantifiable and the construction and operations companies are more able to manage the technical challenges of this huge sector.
The keynote presentation was made by Maria van der Hoeven, the former Environment Minister of the Netherlands and Executive Director of the International Energy Agency. Maria is currently senior associate fellow at Clingendael International Energy Program (CIEP). She gave a strong endorsement of the prospects for offshore wind power generation in the current climate, noting that the momentum achieved by the decarbonisation of the power generation sector makes it less prone to regulatory impact, especially given the reducing cost of production of power from renewable sources. She drew the attention of the delegates to the strong and continuing support for the sector from both individual European Governments as well as the European Union.
Maria was followed to the podium by Bart Heijermans, the CEO of DeepOcean Group, the specialist offshore engineering company who specialise in cable laying and connection infrastructure. Bart was able to bring the perspective of one who has spent a large part of his career in offshore engineering and pointed out that the repetitive nature of offshore wind power made it much less risky and more predictable as a construction project than offshore oil and gas construction. Bart commented that improved management, access and construction techniques have helped to lower the cost of production and look likely to continue to do so.
Finally we welcomed Max ter Linden, Managing Director of Mergers and Acquisitions at ABN AMRO who spoke about the strong appetite among lending banks to offer project finance for offshore wind projects with tenors up to 15 years. Max reported that the banks have been reassured by the higher levels of understanding of the risks associated with construction and operation offshore and by the greater capacity for managing them among the specialist construction and operations companies.
Glennmont Partners offer investors the opportunity to play a part in this rapidly maturing industry through their funds managed by their technically expert investment and asset management teams.