Year: 2020

Meet the Turquoise team: Charlie Ramsden

We are delighted to announce a new appointment to the Turquoise team. With experience across ESG, emerging technologies and clean infrastructure development, Charlie Ramsden joined us this autumn as investment associate. 

What has been the most significant technological development of recent years?

The widespread penetration of artificial intelligence, driven by fast advances in machine learning. We already enjoy the benefits of simple AI in everyday life, examples of which include Siri and Alexa. As with all new technologies, some elements of AI are over-hyped but there are promising areas that may help solve more complex issues in the future. This includes driving autonomous vehicles or designing smarter energy systems.

What has been the most influential legislative change in that time?

Net Zero. In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to legislate for net zero emissions. It is a totally necessary commitment. The legislation creates a legally binding target for the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 100%, relative to 1990 levels, by 2050. As it stands, the UK is currently not on track to reach this target, which means that growth of the low-carbon economy will need to accelerate quickly to meet future objectives.

Getting to net zero will require extensive change and new and sustained policy intervention across the economy. Energy will be a foundation, but the majority of emissions now come from other sectors. Some areas will be hard to decarbonise, so this will require negative emissions, in the form of carbon capture and offset, to compensate.

How has the perception of energy, environment and efficiency evolved in your view in recent years? What do you envisage for the future of the sector?

As a core theme, it has become more prominent. In part, this is driven by interest in ESG, but is also reflective of wider structural trends. Post COVID-19, two key factors may come into play. Firstly, the direction of economic recovery may stimulate clean growth and accelerate the transition to a lower carbon economy. Secondly, investors may seek exposure to asset classes uncorrelated to real estate and stock market cycles. Turquoise is well placed to help investors and/or companies take advantage of the opportunities presented.

From an investment point of view, what do you see as the key challenges for emerging technologies? What is needed to overcome these in the coming decades?

Implementing new technologies is disruptive, particularly in incumbent sectors such as energy and transport. It is also costly in time as well as money. This means that any new technology needs to be measurably better than previous solutions and offer a return on investment.

What’s needed? Clear government strategy, corporate & consumer buy-in and financial incentives to support early investors.

From a global point of view, what impact (if any) do you think political change has had on the energy, environment and efficiency sectors? How do you think this will change?

Whereas ten years ago there was arguably more of an international consensus around the threat of climate change, subsequent changes in administrations in countries such as the US and Brazil have produced less supportive policies. From a global standpoint, whilst overall sentiment remains positive, progress has slowed and been replaced by headline-grabbing political stories, government rhetoric followed up with little action and weak responses to global environmental disasters. However, European countries continue to lead on climate action and there is hope that China will deliver on its stated commitments.

Describe your career journey in less than 240 characters

I left the University of Exeter with a BSc in Biological Sciences in 2016, after which I was offered an internship followed by a permanent position in the Infrastructure team at The Ingenious Group. After four years at Ingenious, I am joining Turquoise this autumn with great excitement.

What’s been your biggest business challenge?

Developing a national portfolio of bio-CNG refuelling stations. Natural gas is an alternative fuel for freight transport that offers vehicle operators significant economic and environmental benefits.

What is your proudest business moment?

Supporting the growth and development of cleaner infrastructure in the UK.

Who would you like to have dinner with – and why?

Al Gore. I was fortunate enough to see him present An Inconvenient Truth at the Hay Festival in 2006. He put the climate crisis on the map for me as a school student and it has been the source of much personal interest and motivation since.


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Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 invests in 8power

Turquoise, the UK merchant bank specialising in energy, environment and efficiency, has invested in 8power for the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 (LCIF2). The investment of £450,000 is part of an overall round of £2million.

8power has developed a range of Remote Condition Monitoring (RCM) solutions for industrial machinery.  RCM is the use of sensors and software to monitor the performance of industrial machinery in real-time, particularly where human oversight is not possible (eg in hazardous environments) or is uneconomical (eg at physically remote sites.) 8power has a unique patented technology that is a key differentiator.  Originally developed by the University of Cambridge vibration energy harvesting (VEH) is used as a renewable energy source of the sensors.

Kevin Murphy, director at Turquoise, commented: “8power provides a ‘fit and forget’ remote monitoring solution for key industrial machinery, this help the customer identify problems with industrial machinery and plan maintenance and interventions to extend the asset life and prevent catastrophic failure.  We are delighted to make this investment as it fits very well in the investment strategy of LCIF2 into technologies helping to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs)”.

Paul Egan, CEO of 8power added: “We are delighted to welcome LCIF2 as an investor in 8power. This investment will enable us to achieve our goal of growing the business in the UK and Europe as well as strengthen our links to local and national government”.

LCIF2 is funded by European Regional Development Fund, with the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as the Managing Authority.

For more information please visit www.8power.com , www.LCIF.vc  and www.Turquoise.eu.

Notes:

8power provides remote condition monitoring of industrial machines and is able to provide real time data for customers who are then able to plan maintenance which not only extends the life of the assets but also prevent catastrophic failure events.

LCIF2 is managed by Turquoise and is a venture capital fund investing in eligible small to medium sized businesses based in England, particularly the areas covered by its local government backers, developing products and services which will have a beneficial environmental impact.

LCIF2 is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), following a successful bid by Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia. ERDF is an investment programme part financed by the European Union. LCIF2 is part of the UK government’s portfolio of business support products.

LCIF2 has received £10.9m (for co-investment alongside private monies) from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for this funding. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk /european-growth-funding.


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Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 invests in Kubos Semiconductors

Turquoise, the UK merchant bank specialising in energy, environment and efficiency, has announced its fifth deal for the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 (LCIF2). The investment in Kubos Semiconductors is part of a £760,000 round.

Kubos, using technology originally spun out of the University of Cambridge, is developing LEDs in cubic Gallium Nitride (GaN) to deliver efficient green and amber devices. Kubos’ technology will enable production of commercial high-end, low-cost, highly efficient LEDs by solving the green gap problem, where a significant drop in efficiency can be observed in green and amber devices when compared with their blue and red counterparts. Main applications are in general lighting, micro-LED displays, automotive, street lighting and digital signage.

Axel de Mégille, director at Turquoise, commented: “Kubos LED technology will represent a massive improvement in lighting and displays efficiency, significantly reducing energy consumption and accounting for less CO2 emissions. This investment fits very well in the investment strategy of LCIF2 into technologies helping to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).”

Kubos chief executive Caroline O’Brien added: “We are delighted to welcome LCIF2 as an investor in Kubos. This investment will enable us to further our development program to deliver a commercial proof of concept and start engaging with potential customers. LCIF2 will also enable us to strengthen our links with local and national government.”

LCIF2 is funded by European Regional Development Fund, with the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as the Managing Authority.

For more information please visit www.kubos-semi.com, www.LCIF.vc  and www.Turquoise.eu.

Notes:

About Kubos

Kubos is a Cambridge based start-up formed in 2017 to develop and commercialise its proprietary cubic GaNIP to deliver efficient green and amber LEDs. Kubos plans to license the technology to major LED manufacturers. The 2020 Cambridge Independent Science and Technology awards has shortlisted Kubos as a finalist in the start-up of the year category.

Contact: Caroline O’Brien; Email: info@kubos-semi.com; Tel: (44) 1223 781200; Website: www.kubos-semi.com.

About LCIF2

LCIF2 is managed by Turquoise and is a venture capital fund investing in eligible small to medium sized businesses based in England, particularly the areas covered by its local government backers, developing products and services which will have a beneficial environmental impact.

LCIF2 is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), following a successful bid by Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia. ERDF is an investment programme part financed by the European Union. LCIF2 is part of the UK government’s portfolio of business support products. LCIF2 has received £10.9m (for co-investment alongside private monies) from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for this funding. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.


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KisanHub raises £1.12m to transform the agri-food supply chain by streamlining data collection, communication and decision making

Cambridge-based agritech company KisanHub has raised £1.12m for its seed to sale connectivity platform that is accelerating the pace of digital transformation of the agri-food industry. KisanHub’s supply chain management platform makes use of big data and machine learning in order to help growers, field staff, procurement managers and management teams make informed decisions. 

The Future Fund round was led by Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 (LCIF2) with backing from the Future Fund and was supported by the existing investors, including IQ Capital, Notion Capital, and Sistema_VC. The funds are intended to help the company accelerate its business in the UK and Europe and further promote the values of sustainability in food supply chains with the support from government investors.

The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) underlined the importance of keeping food supply chains stable in order to guarantee food safety, especially during and after the pandemic. KisanHub’s technology helps to address the key logistical bottlenecks. According to Gartner, the top ten strategic technology trends for 2020 include hyperautomation, transparency and traceability, among others. KisanHub is adopting these for the future of the supply chain.

KisanHub’s cloud-based enterprise platform focuses on crop intelligence, supply chain intelligence, integrating data from crops, stores, load dispatches, satellites and field sensors in order to help businesses meet contractual obligations on quality and quantity of the produce. It translates raw and complex food supply chain data sets into actionable insights that provide transparency and improves the flow of information within the supply chain.

“KisanHub technology digitises the agricultural supply chain, improving the transparency and efficiency of the procurement process. The pandemic has only increased the demand for such solutions, as food supply security became more important than ever. Many risks, including seasonal and climatic ones, can be averted through the use of sensors and machine learning, and this is what KisanHub does,” said Dmitry Filatov, Managing Partner at Sistema_VC.

KisanHub’s target customers are agricultural enterprises supplying retailers and processors that work with a network of contract farmers and/or own their own farmland. The company is able to integrate enterprises’ existing software or Excel systems in order to provide an end to end supply chain management solution. The global beverage giant, ABInBev, has implemented the platform in order to connect with the growers and achieve its 2025 sustainability goals. In addition, the major British suppliers like Spearhead, Burgess Farm Produce, Manor Fresh, Jupiter Group, have partnered with KisanHub to get full visibility of the quality and quantity of the produce in their supply chain.

LCIF2 is funded by the European Regional Development Fund, with the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as the Managing Authority. The fund is managed by Turquoise, the London-based merchant bank that specialises in energy, environment and efficiency.

Axel de Mégille, director at Turquoise (managing LCIF2), commented: “KisanHub helps keep everyone in the supply chain aware of the state of each batch of produce they are growing, aggregating or retailing, so that they can plan better and reduce waste. This investment fits well into LCIF2’s strategy of investing into technologies that help to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).”

Sachin Shende, co-founder and CEO of KisanHub, added: “We are delighted to welcome LCIF2 as an investor in KisanHub. This investment will enable us to grow the business in the UK and Europe and strengthen our links with local and national governments.”

About LCIF2

LCIF2 is managed by Turquoise, the London-based merchant bank that specialises in energy, environment and efficiency. It is a venture capital fund that invests in eligible small to medium-sized businesses based in England, particularly in the areas covered by its local government backers, developing products and services that will have a positive environmental impact.

LCIF2 is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), following a successful bid by Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia. ERDF is an investment programme that is part financed by the European Union. LCIF2 is part of the UK government’s portfolio of business support products.

LCIF2 has received £10.9m (for co-investment alongside private monies) from the European Regional Development Fund, as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for this funding. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their own economic development by investing in projects that will support innovation and businesses, as well as creating jobs and regenerating local communities. For more information, visit www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding 

For more information, please visit www.kisanhub.com, www.LCIF.vc  and www.Turquoise.eu.


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Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 invests in Connected Energy

Turquoise, the UK merchant bank specialising in energy, environment and efficiency, has announced a £350,000 investment in Connected Energy, the third deal for the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 (LCIF2) since it started investing in June.

Connected Energy specialises in reusing electric vehicle (EV) batteries, which typically become redundant after losing just 25% of their capacity, to build the grid-scale energy storage systems needed to smooth fluctuations in demand by large energy users, and in supply by solar and wind farms. Connected Energy systems currently range in size from 300kW behind the meter systems, to a 12MW system (currently in development) and modular multiples of those.

Ali Naini, managing director at Turquoise, commented: “Connected Energy helps reduce emissions in a number of innovative ways, such as reducing the cost of electric vehicles by increasing the value of their used batteries, reusing valuable materials in those batteries, and creating energy storage systems that help with the wider adoption of renewable energy. They also have many of the attributes necessary for creating strong investor returns. This makes the company a perfect fit to the remit of LCIF2.”

Matthew Lumsden, CEO and founder of Connected Energy, added: “We’re delighted to add LCIF2 to our growing roster of investors. The fund is an interesting hybrid, backed by and therefore strengthening our links with local and national government, but with a typical private fund’s focus on financial returns.”

LCIF2 is funded by European Regional Development Fund, with the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as the Managing Authority.

For more information please visit www.c-e-int.com, www.LCIF.vc  and www.Turquoise.eu.

Notes:

Connected Energy is an engineering led innovator in energy storage. Its technologies, that utilise second-life electric vehicle batteries, are rapidly changing the way intensive energy users can access the benefits of low-cost, on-site solutions. Its E-STOR system is modular and scalable, as well as straight forward to install and operate for energy intensive clients to flexibly control and reduce their energy costs, and develop new revenue streams.

LCIF2 is managed by Turquoise and is a venture capital fund investing in eligible small to medium sized businesses based in England, particularly the areas covered by its local government backers, developing products and services which will have a beneficial environmental impact.

LCIF2 is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), following a successful bid by Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia. ERDF is an investment programme part financed by the European Union. LCIF2 is part of the UK government’s portfolio of business support products.

LCIF2 has received £10.9m (for co-investment alongside private monies) from the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for this funding. Established by the European Union, the ERDF helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit www.gov.uk /european-growth-funding.


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Turquoise advises on sale of Low Carbon Innovation Fund portfolio company GT Energy

Turquoise is pleased to announce completion of the sale of its corporate finance client and investment portfolio company GT Energy UK Limited (“GT Energy”) to IGas Energy PLC (“IGas”).

GT Energy  is a developer of deep geothermal heat projects in the UK. GT Energy’s principal project is a 14MW deep geothermal project in the Etruria Valley, Stoke-on-Trent.  The project is anticipated to supply zero-carbon heat to the city of Stoke-on-Trent through a council-owned district heating network, which is currently under construction. Under the current timetable it is anticipated that geothermal plant construction will commence in Q2/Q3 2021, with the plant scheduled to supply heat by March 2022.

IGas is a leading British energy company, currently producing oil and gas from over 100 sites across the country. IGas is committed to playing an important role in the UK’s energy transition and the acquisition of GT Energy represents a first step in this strategy. IGas is also seeking high-grade potential opportunities for other forms of energy, including electricity generation and storage.

Francis Wright, Managing Director at Turquoise, commented: “This transaction represents a significant step forward in the development of the low carbon heat market in the UK. Deep geothermal projects in cities such as Paris and Munich prove that this technology can deliver low- carbon heat at large scale. IGas’s understanding of geology, drilling, project management and operations will be invaluable in helping to establish this technology in the UK.

“Turquoise has been working with GT Energy since 2013 and we are delighted to see the Company embarking on the next stage in its growth with a supportive and capable new parent.”

Turquoise is a merchant bank specialising in Energy, Environment, Efficiency, covering both buy side (investment and fund management) and sell side (fundraising and M&A). In addition to its role as corporate finance adviser to GT Energy, Turquoise also acts as fund manager of the Low Carbon Innovation Fund 1 on behalf of the Low Carbon Group at the University of East Anglia and supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Low Carbon Innovation Fund 1 is the second largest investor in GT Energy with a 17% shareholding. 

Low Carbon Innovation Funds 1 and 2 (both of which are supported by ERDF) focus on investments that reduce CO2 emissions and originally supported GT Energy due to the very large emissions reductions that could potentially be achieved if deep geothermal technology is rolled out across the UK.

For more information please visit www.turquoise.eu and www.lcif.vc.


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Turquoise announces Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 investment in Spark EV Technology

Turquoise, the London-based merchant bank specialising in energy, environment and efficiency, has announced its latest investment through Low Carbon Innovation Fund 2 (LCIF2). 

The investment, part of an ongoing £530,000 funding round for Spark EV Technology, will support the company’s growth into the automotive market supporting business development efforts into China and expanding reach to European and North American customers. Harnessing live data and machine learning, Spark’s AI-based software produces highly-accurate, personalised range predictions for electric vehicles.

With individual predictions typically ten times more accurate than existing OEM solutions, Spark aims to accelerate global EV adoption by eliminating customer range anxiety. The company’s sophisticated technology has undergone more than 38,000km of real-world trials, across a range of brands, terrains and driving styles, and is being evaluated by a number of OEMs and Tier-1 suppliers worldwide.

Ian Thomas, managing director at Turquoise International, commented: “Spark’s technology addresses an important barrier to EV adoption, for passenger cars as well as buses and trucks. With EVs likely to make up 30% of global car sales by 2025, accurate range prediction is essential. This investment is consistent with LCIF2’s remit to support innovative, low-carbon technologies in the UK.”

Justin Ott, CEO and founder of Spark EV Technology, added: “We’re delighted to receive this funding through LCIF2. The equity investment will enable us to develop our product for retail and commercial EV customers and invest in business development resource to attract the fast growing China market and significantly expand our global footprint.

Managed by Turquoise, LCIF2 intends to extend and improve on the original Low Carbon Innovation Fund programme, which invested £20.5m in 46 companies as part of funding rounds worth over £76m. LCIF2 will invest an additional £11m, with the expectation to lead or otherwise help complete funding rounds worth over £40m.

Notes:

LCIF2 is a venture capital fund making equity or convertible loan investments in eligible small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Hertfordshire developing products and services which will have a beneficial environmental impact.

LCIF2 is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) following a successful bid by Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia (UEA). ERDF is an investment programme part financed by the European Union. LCIF2 is part of the UK government’s portfolio of business support products.


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Turquoise announces first investment from new Low Carbon Innovation Fund

Turquoise, the London-based merchant bank specialising in energy, environment and efficiency, has announced its first investment through the second Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF2).

The equity investment, part of the final round of fundraising for Natural Resources Limited (NRL), will support licencing of the company’s process technology for the production of packaging made from paper pulp. An alternative to existing packaging materials with highly sustainable end-of-life characteristics, the containers are energy efficient, fully recyclable and cost-competitive.

With the potential to significantly lower the carbon intensity of packaging, NRL aims to commercialise a viable, functional solution to support the transition towards a circular economy. The company is working with its licensee to make fibre-based packaging available at scale to meet the requirements of leading brand owners in the global packaging sector.

Ian Thomas, managing director at Turquoise International, commented: “Announcing our first investment through LCIF2 is a noteable milestone. As manager of the first Low Carbon Innovation Fund (LCIF1) we were able to participate in the development of a variety of world-class clean technologies. We hope to continue that work with LCIF2 and look forward to continuing to support the UK’s ground-breaking low carbon technologies.”

Managed by Turquoise, LCIF1 invested £20.5m in 46 companies as part of funding rounds worth over £76m, followed when required by support on the path to commercialisation including engagement with significant strategic investors and customers.

LCIF2 intends to extend and improve on the original Low Carbon Innovation Fund programme, investing an additional £11m with the expectation to lead or otherwise help complete funding rounds worth over £40m.

Notes:

LCIF2 is a venture capital fund making equity or convertible loan investments in eligible small to medium sized businesses (SMEs) across Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and Hertfordshire developing products and services which will have a beneficial environmental impact.

LCIF2 is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) following a successful bid by Norfolk County Council and the University of East Anglia (UEA). ERDF is an investment programme part financed by the European Union. LCIF2 is part of the UK government’s portfolio of business support products.


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Turquoise’s latest podcast: Diving deeper into terahertz light

Turquoise’s latest podcast: Diving deeper into terahertz light

In our latest podcast, managing director of Turquoise Ian Thomas interviews co-founder and CEO of TeraView, Dr Don Arnone.

TeraView is one of the businesses in the portfolio of the Low Carbon Innovation Fund, managed by Turquoise. LCIF invested in this deeptech company on the back of its leading work in the area of terahertz light.

This podcast covers topics including: what is terahertz light? Why is it important? What are its various industrial applications? How has TeraView managed to commercialise a new area of fundamental science?

The podcast draws upon Dr Arnone’s 20 years’ experience in utilising the unique properties of terahertz light across several markets, including fault analysis and quality assurance for semiconductor chips used in mobile computing and communications, as well as non-destructive inspection of high-value coatings in the automotive, pharmaceutical, food and solar industries.

Ian Thomas commented: “Turquoise is a leading advisor and investor in clean technology, and this podcast was a great opportunity to shed some light on just one of the many businesses we’ve invested in that are changing the industrial technology landscape.”

To listen to the podcast, download it here: https://bit.ly/3dgawwZ


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Meet the Turquoise team: Andrew Janis Folkmanis

Meet the Turquoise team: Andrew Janis Folkmanis

Business

What has been the most significant technological development of recent years?

In use today, the iPhone. Apple succeeded in developing a new flexible user interface, integrating technologies brilliantly to this purpose. It has changed communications techniques globally across numerous sectors.

In the field of environmental technology, I would say that 2nd generation biofuels, and in general waste recycling technologies, will continue to play a crucial role in the inevitable shift away from fossil fuels.  If the private road-vehicle will go electric, other transport modes will depend strongly on biofuels.

Having worked for the European Commission for many years, what has been the most influential legislative change you have seen?

The European Union’s 20-20-20 Strategy, agreed in 2006 and coming to fruition this year. It initiated a major shift to renewable energy, initially in Europe but the technologies have also taken firm hold globally. The next steps in EU legislation will, however, have an even greater impact.

How do you see the political and legislative environment changing through to 2050?

Following the 2008 financial crisis, we see a resurgence of left-wing politics promoting more state-control.  Will liberal fiscal regimes survive?  I believe it will depend how well the rich manage to make themselves into “good citizens” in the eyes of the man on the street.

Within this, environmental legislation is a hot-spot. Future EU targets (to 2030) will be harder to reach than 20-20-20, not only as technologically low-lying fruit has been taken, but also the EU governance of environmental targets has been weakened. Moreover, the UN COP agreements, following major setbacks post-Kyoto, are struggling to establish an adequate global framework. However, popular debate is heating up, hopefully this will drive the politics to a more robust line on climate change.

How has the perception of energy, environment and efficiency evolved in your view in recent years? What do you envisage for the future of the sector?

It is now taken very seriously, as a business and as a socially beneficial sector. An issue is that its earnings margins are not close to, for example, oil and gas. But the oil majors are also realising that their business models are being challenged, so that their investment strategies now include acquiring clean energy, and promoting technologies such as CCUS (carbon capture, utilisation and/or storage). As the pressure grows from environmental legislation, I believe inevitable, this trend will continue until ultimately there is convergence between ‘old’ and ‘new’ energy within the same businesses.

From an investment point of view, what do you see as the key challenges for emerging technologies attracting finance? How do you see those being overcome in the coming decades?

The EU’s sustainable investment taxonomy adopted in 2019 leads the way to channel investments to sustainable projects and technologies. Major financial institutions, such as Blackrock, have signalled their intent to follow this path. Again, in the long term, I see convergence from the top down, with very large investors in public companies demanding environmental compliance, and the bottom up, with smaller investors in venture capital picking the right technologies to enable the transition. A primary challenge will be developing key performance indicators for sustainable investments.

What are the key ingredients to delivering innovation?

These are too numerous to list but include a supportive regulatory framework, appropriate financial incentives (grants, etc.) from the public sector, fostering entrepreneurship and a strong financial ecosystem to provide investment capital.

Career

Describe your career journey in a few words

After 10 years helping NATO build its naval and air defences as an engineer, I moved to the European Commission in Brussels to help manage the EU’s R&D programmes, first in IT/telecoms, later in energy, aviation, maritime and Industry 4.0. I had close involvement in the EU’s enlargement to include Eastern Europe, both in the politics (Adviser to the President of Latvia) and in negotiations (negotiator of the energy chapter for the Baltic States and Poland). I worked with Turquoise from 2010-12, moved back to the European Commission until 2019 and am now returning to the venture capital arena.

What’s been your biggest professional challenge?

Drafting EU legislation on aviation insurance, following 9/11, in a few days. The sector was blocked, as private insurers invoked wartime exclusion clauses after President Bush declared a “War on Terror”, grounding thousands of planes.

What is your proudest professional moment?

Co-authoring the EU’s first Strategic Energy Technologies (SET) Plan in 2009. This defined and co-funded key energy technologies to implement the EU’s 20-20-20 strategy, a landmark in clean energy policy. And of course being part of the European Commission team, when the EU received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012.

Who would you like to have dinner with – and why?

Henry Kissinger. To discover who he thinks can put the climate agenda on track globally and how they should do it.


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