On May 15th and 16th 2017, in Chantilly, France, Glennmont Partners brought together key institutional investors and a range of renewable energy thought leaders to reflect, discuss and analyse the trends that are shaping our industry and promoting investment to the sector for its tenth annual seminar. The Glennmont team were joined by Former European Commissioner for Climate Change and Minister for the Environment of Denmark, Mrs Connie Hedegaard; CEO and President of leading technical advisor KiloWattSol, Mr Xavier Daval; Director of Financial Engineering at global sustainable power developer, Voltalia, Mr Olivier Cormarie; and Head of Power and Renewables at leading lending bank, Natixis, Mr Ranjan Moulik. All the presenters were in agreement that:
• Clean energy growth has passed an inflection point and is now accelerating. Carbon reduction is seen as good for business
• Solar still has very significant growth potential. New research that indicated that the world’s continents contain at least 3 times more solar power than is needed by the inhabiting populations
• Auction systems are now used globally to set Feed In Tariff prices. Investors and developers will need to work more closely together and form partnerships to win auctions
• Offshore wind is a maturing technology with global deployment set to triple within 2020. The sector has seen a maturing and consolidation of a solid value chain with financially sound counter-parties
Mrs Connie Hedegaard, Former European Commissioner for Climate Action and former Minister for the Environment and Climate Change, Denmark, addressed Glennmont’s guests.
Connie highlighted that clean energy growth has passed an inflection point and is now accelerating. Carbon reduction is seen as good for business and adopted by a wide spectrum of corporates. Irrespective of President Trump’s position on the Paris agreement – China has already said that it will continue the Treaty’s obligations. Carbon reduction is no longer only top down driven by politicians but by market forces as costs are reduced and the technology advances. Over the next years – electric vehicles will become the norm further reducing carbon emissions. Also, progress will be made on with energy efficiency and better European inter connections. Energy and carbon reduction are more and more co-ordinated on a European level which will help growth.
Xavier Daval – CEO of KiloWattSol – a leading technical adviser – spoke passionately about the growth of solar. Over a period of just ten 10 years solar demonstrated unprecedented growth: already 300GW has been installed, panel efficiency has increased by more than 30% and costs have down by 99%.
Solar still has very significant growth potential. New research that indicated that the world’s continents contain at least 3 times more solar power than is needed by the inhabiting populations on each continent. Smarter systems and advances in technology and further cost reductions will propel solar growth forward.
The distributed nature of solar, advances in smaller battery systems and ample availability of irradiation, position solar optimally for growth.
Olivier Cormarie – a director at Voltalia a leading global developer – gave an update on the latest development of Feed In Tariffs (“FIT”). Most countries now use an auction system to set FITs. This will ensure market pricing for new projects. Voltalia believes that under the auction system – investors and developers will need to work more closely together and form partnerships. These partnerships will raise a new set of questions about sharing of control and what happens when bids are not successful.
Ranjan Moulik – Natixis’ Managing Director, of Power and renewables gave a finance perspective on off shore wind.
Offshore wind is a maturing technology with global deployment set to triple within 2020. Cost reductions targets have been exceeded way ahead of schedule. It offers multiple comparative advantages such as 45% load factors which are significantly higher than onshore wind and solar PV. The development of the Offshore Wind Industry has enabled the maturing and consolidation of a solid value chain with financially sound counterparties.
The seminar concluded with a presentation from Enercon’s plant manager, Thibaut Labonde and a tour of Enercon’s Wind concrete tower Factory in Longueil Sainte Marie.
Thibaut’s presentation highlighted new technology already in use in wind turbine and tower manufacturing. Concrete towers can be taller than traditional steel towers. They can be more modular and are thus easier to transport to more challenging sites at lower cost.
Enercon uses a combination of steel and concrete component to build a next generation of towers which can go as high as 160 meters.
After the presentation, guests were permitted to tour the factory and witnessed in great detail the manufacturing process of various concrete towers and reinforcement materials used at each stage.