Guernsey’s capacity to act as a hub for renewable energy generation and to provide financial products and services to the cleantech sector has been discussed at an event held at the House of Commons.
The renewable energy reception was held on Tuesday 11th September and included Rt. Hon. Ed Davey, MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change at the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
It was organised by Regen SW, an independent centre of expertise which is driving forward renewable energy generation and related business activities in the South West region. The South West is also the first region in the UK to have a specific area designated as a Marine Energy Park, with a particular focus on tidal and wave energy, and so the opportunities in the marine energy sector was a key theme for the day.
The discussions included a focus on how Guernsey could unlock its own tidal, wave and offshore wind resources to generate clean energy for the Island and for export. In addition, the talks also focused on how Guernsey could utilise its expertise as a leading international finance centre to provide financial products and services to the cleantech sector.
Guernsey was represented at the event in London by: Deputy Chief Minister, Jonathan Le Tocq; Jeremy Thompson, Chairman of the Renewable Energy Team (RET); Mat Desforges, Policy Advisor for Financial Services and Renewables to the States of Guernsey and who is a member of RET and also the Finance Sector Development Unit of the Commerce and Employment Department; and Peter Miller, Executive Director from Ernst & Young in Guernsey and a member of the financial services cleantech group.
The cleantech group was founded a year ago by Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance – the promotional agency for the island’s finance industry internationally.
Miss Le Poidevin said: “The group, led by Guernsey Finance, is focused on the Island’s capacity to provide financial products and services to the cleantech sector. What we have been doing during the last year is assessing the extent to which Guernsey firms are already involved in such work and where the opportunities are for this to be expanded.
“For example, already there are many funds domiciled in and administered from Guernsey where there is a focus on sustainable investments. However, we believe there is also significant potential for the Island’s expertise in captive insurance and our intellectual property environment to be utilised in relation to renewable energy. Of course, it may be that Guernsey firms, such as banks, can also provide direct funding but that is just one strand of the broader offering of financial products and services we can provide to the cleantech sector.”
Guernsey Finance exhibited at the Cleantech Forum in Munich during April this year and also facilitated a double-page spread on Guernsey within the Cleantech Investor magazine published in May.
Miss Le Poidevin added: “We have taken some initial steps to build Guernsey’s profile as a centre which can provide a range of financial products and services to the cleantech sector. The event at the House of Commons has helped put us in front of a new and important audience and we will now be following up with the contacts we made at the event. It also provides a useful springboard from which we can launch a new wave of activity to promote Guernsey in the coming months.”
Guernsey has also been the subject of a one-page feature within the latest issue of Recharge magazine. This was facilitated by Guernsey Finance, which is also leading a team to exhibit at the Renewable Energy Forum in London on 30th and 31st October. Nick Vermeulen, Partner at PwC in Guernsey, will be moderating a session focussed on the movement of capital and in particular, looking at the role of infrastructure and private equity funds in the cleantech sector. Also representing Guernsey at the event will be Paul Smith of JTC Group, Rhea Gordon of Heritage Group and Mr Desforges from the States of Guernsey’s Commerce and Employment Department.
There are also plans being put in place to bring industry representatives from the South West Marine Energy Park to Guernsey early next year so that they can meet with local finance industry practitioners and hear first-hand about the potential opportunities on offer.
Johnny Gowdy, Programme Director at Regen SW, added: “We see a great synergy in working closely with the States of Guernsey. As well as the research being conducted by Exeter and Plymouth Universities to help Guernsey develop its energy resources, there are opportunities for south west companies to provide expertise and technology to deliver future energy projects.
In exchange, as a major centre for financial services, we anticipate that Guernsey can provide financial services and access to investment which will be essential to accelerate the commercialisation of the marine energy sector”.