Registration and coffee
Chair’s opening remarks
Keynote: What are the opportunities in energy transition investing?
In this session, the keynote speaker will review the opportunities for investment in the energy transition in Europe. The speaker will discuss the current macro-economic challenges facing the industry as well as regulatory changes that might impact infrastructure investors and developers. How will the European infrastructure market help the region reach ambitious 2050 climate neutral goals?
- What are the current regulatory challenges affecting infrastructure development in the energy transition in Europe?
- What are the opportunities for investors seeking long-term value?
- How is digitisation affecting the sector and is it giving rise to a new type of investor?
- Where are the opportunities for value in the whole energy transition supply chain?
Opening panel: Current state of the European energy transition
Europe’s transition to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 presents challenges and opportunities to infrastructure investors and developers. The radical reduction in the use of hydrocarbons in favour of decarbonised energy sources will involve profound changes in behaviour as well as significant technological innovation and investment. In recent months, the worsening energy crisis due to the war in Ukraine and the increased cost of energy, may have led to a decrease in progress, but regulators and governments have urged institutions not to lose sight of the climate crisis.
- How has the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the cost of energy crisis affected investment in the energy transition? Should governments do more to make the EU independent of Russian fuels?
- Are LNG and biomethane mature enough assets to support the move away from Russian gas? How investable are these assets?
- Which are the most investable renewable energy production activities? Solar, wind, bioenergy hydro or geothermal energy? How are investors and developers approaching energy storage?
- How are infrastructure investors approaching merchant risk in the subsidy free environment?
Panel: Hydrogen production and consumption at a crossroad
European investors’ focus on hydrogen has never been bigger, as EIB figures suggest that up to EUR 42bn of investment will be needed by 2030 in European electrolyser capacity alone. CIP and Ardian have set up multi-billion euro hydrogen-focused funds and several projects are reaching maturity and scale. But there remain major challenges to overcome, not least regulatory support mechanisms and lenders’ willingness to finance such projects. This panel will review opportunities and challenges for the upcoming wave of hydrogen projects across the continent.
- What are the main sources of demand for hydrogen in Europe, and by how much is this demand expected to grow?
- Are new hydrogen projects mainly catering for existing industrial consumption, or are investors preparing for mass adoption in transport and heating?
- How competitive is green hydrogen in today’s market and can its cost come down in the current high electricity price environment?
- With most investment being done by utilities and corporates, to what extent is it attractive to infrastructure investors and why?
- What regulatory support is being planned at European and national level to incentivise green hydrogen adoption and support its production?
- How does the UK approach to supporting blue hydrogen through its carbon capture cluster schemes compare to other European initiatives? Which ones are proving more attractive for investors?
- How bankable are hydrogen production projects today? Are project finance lenders dipping their toes in this market and how can initiatives such as the planned EU hydrogen bank help?
- Are green ammonia and other power-to-x projects more attractive than standalone green hydrogen electrolysers? Do they have an edge in the sustainable transport market?
Panel: Clean energy financing in the new rising interest rate environment
Lending to renewables is increasingly becoming less certain amidst the shift to pure merchant lending and the project financing of nascent energy transition sectors. But the dramatic shake-up in the European economies have created yet more uncertainty. How will renewables lending respond to the changing markets?
- What impact are rising interest rates having on borrower appetite for renewables debt to finance construction and support refinancings?
- Are high power prices balancing the rise in borrowing costs for developers, or simply introducing more uncertainty?
- Are higher energy prices translating into more generous PPAs? Or is this hitting offtakers’ creditworthiness and increasing counter-party risk for lenders?
- A variety of merchant debt structures have emerged, but which are the most likely to dominate?
- Are renewables, and particularly offshore wind, still dominated by banks, or are institutional investors taking a bigger slice and why?
- Are rising inflation and interest rates reversing the seemingly unstoppable fall in renewables cost?
- Are more esoteric sectors such as battery storage, hydrogen and carbon capture projects still a long way from being mainstream sectors for project finance bankers?
Case study: Allego – the 2021 EV charging IPO – what next?
Dutch charging infrastructure operator Allego announced its IPO through a merger with Spartan Acquisition Corp. listing on the New York stock exchange at the end of 2021. Citing better access to new financing resources, Allego announced that the IPO will enable the company to “finance the construction of new public charging stations, expand our technology and implement expansion plans.” One year on, where has the company invested to meet growth targets?
- How was the IPO structured via a SPAC?
- What is Meridiam’s position in the company now?
- How has the growth strategy been implemented?
- Which types of assets are Allego looking at to expand their European footprint?
Panel: Floating offshore wind coming of age
Interest in floating offshore wind across Europe is booming. Following the huge amount of capacity awarded in the ScotWind leasing auctions, developers are racing to prepare projects for large new tenders coming up in France, Norway, Spain, Portugal and Italy. But turning gigawatt-scale ambitions into reality remains challenging, as investors and governments grapple with supply chain restrictions, price instability and technology risk. This panel will discuss whether the asset class has matured enough for investment.
- Has floating technology developed enough to be investable on a commercial scale? Are industry standards starting to emerge for floating platform solutions?
- Can the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) of floating wind continue to come down at a time of rising inflation? How close are we getting to fixed-bottom LCOE? Can adding hydrogen production elements revolutionise floating wind’s economics?
- How supportive are the upcoming European tenders for commercial scale floating wind? Are two-way CfDs being effectively used across jurisdictions, and can developers consider merchant projects as a viable option?
- What bottlenecks are developers and investors facing amid supply chain disruptions, staff shortages and lengthy planning procedures? Are certain countries such as Ireland, which has seen big players pull out of offshore wind projects, facing more complex challenges?
- Is there enough investment in the grid to ensure that new floating projects can be connected in a timely manner?
- Do oil and gas companies have an edge in the floating market, given their long experience in deep waters?
- How is financing evolving after the first pilot deals in Portugal, Scotland and France? How deep is the non-recourse debt market for floating offshore?
Panel: Battery storage investing comes of age
The UK’s battery sector is the most mature in Europe, but it is fast evolving into one dominated by energy trading arbitrage rather than services. Are investors prepared for the change and is continental Europe on their radar?
- Amidst delays in getting battery cells and grid connections, is the UK still on track to sufficiently ramp up battery storage supply?
- Are investors locating batteries correctly to leverage the growing opportunity for trading energy in the wholesale markets?
- As batteries grow in size is there a sufficiently liquid market of investors to buy development stage or built assets?
- With just a small handful of lenders in the battery sector, will debt plug the gap in financing ever bigger projects?
- Is the continental European battery market on your radar as the UK sector matures, and if so where and why?
Panel: Preparing EFW for the next stage
Investors have piled into the EfW market with a plan to decarbonise assets, expand them and potentially sell them to pension funds down the line. With sourcing scarce material becoming a headache, EfW owners are also targeting traditional waste businesses with a view to integrating them.
- Where is the sector at in terms of fees, accessing waste and generating revenues from selling electricity?
- Are pension funds likely buyers of EfW assets in the future given they are polluting assets? Or will they be fully decarbonised through CCS, enabling institutional investors buy such assets en masse?
- Is regulation supportive of CCS as an investment opportunity?
- Given parts of the UK particularly in the north and Scotland have a lot of EfW plants, are there still opportunities for greenfield EfW developments?
- Is there an opportunity for UK EfW platforms to further consolidate and become pan-continental?
- Is co-locating adjacent sector assets such as solar PV and batteries alongside EfW assets an opportunity for investors.
- What is driving the current appetite among some investors for waste management, such as Macquarie’s takeover of Beauparc?
Panel: Investing in the renewable energy supply chain and interdependencies
The renewables sector has many interdependencies that contribute to renewable energy production including vessels, ports, and interconnections to turbines to ensure that energy reaches the grid. Expert consultants have identified assets that are currently underinvested in, and this lack of investment will lead to delays in renewable energy production. Panellists will review supply chain investment opportunities and challenges.
- Is enough resource being allocated to develop interdependencies such as connections to turbines, underwater pipes, and storage to enable Europe to meet renewable energy goals?
- How might policy and regulation changes hinder or help developers to resource the necessary projects?
- What are the investment opportunities and challenges? Are independent investors having to fund developing the whole supply chain?
- What is the merchant risk when reviewing projects for development? How can information transparency support investment cases?
Conference close and networking drinks
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