Blog post

It floats – but is it financeable?

Energy Blog
10 November 2021

Clément Weber, co-chair of the WFO’s Floating Offshore Wind committee, discusses Green Giraffe’s foray into the floating offshore wind sector more than eight years ago and its stunning development since.
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Blog post

The end of the affair

Energy Blog
12 October 2021

The EU have banned the sale of petrol or diesel powered cars from 2035. What does this mean for European consumers, the car industry, and renewable energy?
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Blog post

Stepping off the gas

Energy Blog
28 September 2021

Ahead of the COP26, Michael Ware discusses the surge in gas prices and the overnight shortage of petrol in the UK.
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Blog post

Renewable heat: the next big challenge?

Energy Blog
29 July 2021

How can the 13.3 giga tonnes of CO2 that are produced annually by the domestic and industrial heating sector be avoided? While decarbonising heat may well prove to be more difficult than decarbonising electricity, there are a few promising technologies and policies that may be up to the challenge.
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Blog post

Swimming against the European tide: why French politicians are surprisingly hostile to renewable energy

Energy Blog
16 June 2021

Despite, or maybe because of, being at the forefront of the nuclear energy revolution, France is now struggling to adapt to the transition to a renewable future. Jérôme Guillet discusses why.
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Blog post

What does the Shell carbon emissions ruling actually mean?

Energy Blog
28 May 2021

Earlier this week Shell was ordered by a Dutch court to reduce its net emissions by 45% by 2030.
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Blog post

What is the capture price for nuclear?

Energy Blog
29 April 2021

“Capture prices” have become a hot topic for renewables lately. Projects are increasingly exposed to short term spot prices even if they benefit from long term price regimes like CfDs (contracts for difference) – the power is still sold in the wholesale market in any case, and subject to the discipline of balancing costs and marginal pricing. The increasing penetration of wind and solar in many markets means that the industry is forced to grapple with a growing number of periods where there is a lot of wind power or solar power at the same time, as all projects in a given area are subject to the same weather patterns. When there is a lot of wind, and correspondingly a lot of wind power generated, supply may become too plentiful, causing prices to go down. When there is no wind, prices will go up, but wind projects will not get the benefit of these as they are not producing. If the production profile is not in line with demand, the capture price received by the project can be lower than the average wholesale price for all generation. While quite location-specific, it is generally estimated that the capture price for wind is lower than the average price (and is expected to go down a bit further in coming years), whilst the capture price for solar is often higher than the average price (thanks to power demand generally being higher during the day), with trends for the future varying quite wildly depending on demand patterns and expected future penetration.
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Blog post

Single point of failure – lessons from the Ever Given

Energy Blog
19 April 2021

The grounding of the giant container vessel Ever Given across the Suez Canal has rightfully generated a lot of headlines, triggered both by the spectacular pictures of the skyscraper-sized vessel stuck in the sand and by the impact on global supply chains. For a lot of “just in time” businesses, the interruption of a vital route used by more than 10% of global seafaring traffic has had a direct impact on their production lines (and indeed we have learnt that one of our clients had their solar panels on that very vessel). This comes at a time when we have seen that shortages in microchips, manufactured by a tiny number of huge producers like TSMC, are causing havoc across critical industries like car manufacturing
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Blog post

Green bonds: “I know it when I see it”

Energy Blog
31 March 2021

With ESG becoming an ever hotter topic as investors want to find sustainable and green assets, and the EU is working on setting definitions and standards (see Greenwashing in finance: Europe’s push to police ESG investing) to limit greenwashing, it is worth remembering one of the best known sentences in US Supreme Court history, when Justice Potter Stewart wrote that obscenity was hard to define, but “I know it when I see it”.
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Blog post

In praise of (some) bankers

Energy Blog
12 March 2021

Moody’s have just published their 11th report on defaults and recovery rates for project finance bank loans, covering a large fraction of all transactions done between 1984 and 2016. The report shows that the sector continues to offer good risk discipline, with a “10-year cumulative default rate of 6.4% and an average recovery rate of 79.3%.”  Moody’s further notes that “marginal default rates for project finance bank loans are similar to marginal default rates for high speculative-grade corporate issuers during the first three years following financial close. They fall over time, however, and trend toward rates consistent with the single-A rating category by year seven following financial close.”
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Blog post

Texas: lessons learned from a Wild West electricity market

Energy Blog
26 February 2021

The unexpected winter storm caused millions to be without power in Texas. Initial noise and commotion were around blaming renewables (as usual and expected). Going forward, will this be enough pressure for politicians to ensure functional infrastructure in Texas? Only they can tell. Jérôme Guillet, Managing Director of Green Giraffe, discusses the lessons learned.
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Blog post

Will a Biden presidency propel US offshore wind projects?

Energy Blog
25 January 2021

Will a Biden presidency propel US commercial scale offshore wind projects? Sylvian Watts-Jones examines the last four years and looks at the road ahead.
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Blog post

The lazy (and incorrect) use of the word “subsidy”

Energy Blog
8 December 2020

We would like to make a stand against the lazy – and incorrect – use of the word “subsidy”, by too many in the media and even in the industry, to describe contracts for differences (CfDs).
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Blog post

Is the Nordic region the new hotspot for renewables?

Energy Blog
12 November 2020

Despite its long winters and temperatures which can go as low as -50°C, is the Nordic region (Finland, Norway and Sweden) poised to become the new hotspot for renewables investors?
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Blog post

Waste not, want not: the future of Energy from Waste

Energy Blog
27 October 2020

Michael Ware discusses Roman rubbish disposal habits and the future of the Energy from Waste industry. A common complaint of the grumpy middle-aged European academic is the creeping Americanisation of language. An example often cited is ‘garbage’, although the pedants amongst us know that garbage was originally an English word that went to America with the pilgrims on the Mayflower and has only recently come back to its mother country via the medium of television. I was musing on this whilst watching an American program on the Discovery channel about Roman ‘garbage’ dumps and hence the inevitable segue into a blog about rubbish. As well as the etymology of the word garbage, my other take away from the program is how modern civilization still disposes of its rubbish in much the same way as our Italian forefathers did: we put in big holes in the ground and pretend it never happened.
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Blog post

Is the sun rising again on Spanish solar power?

Energy Blog
8 October 2020

On paper, Spain should be at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution particularly when it comes to solar power. It is a big largely empty country, has some of the highest levels of irradiation in Europe and relatively steep conventional power prices. You’d think that these three factors would mean that solar power in Spain would be taking off like a budget airline heading to Magaluf, you’d think that Spain would be leading the charge towards a future powered solely by the sun and you’d think all those hot dusty plains would be transformed into acres upon acres of solar farms. You’d think all of these things, but you’d be wrong. Although it is an over-used metaphor, the Spanish renewables industry has been on a bit of a hair-raising rollercoaster journey in the last 15 years. After a promising start when the country had one of the highest installed solar capacities in the world, the industry went down a very steep decline then a flat bit but is now seemingly going back up the scary steep section. The market is heating up dramatically and the international investor market is once again looking at the Spanish solar market with maybe too much enthusiasm? So, what has changed and why are we now back on the upslope of this peculiar rollercoaster shaped market?
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Blog post

A new age of renewable energy in Morocco

Energy Blog
9 September 2020

Why is the Moroccan renewable energy revolution of interest to Western investors and developers? As yields on renewable energy projects fall to ever lower lows, investors are increasingly searching elsewhere for long-term, double-digit returns. Morocco may be the answer.
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Blog post

Are biofuels the next big opportunity?

Energy Blog
12 June 2020

As governments look to accelerate the decarbonisation of the transport industry, biofuels might be the next big opportunity in global renewables. Michael Ware discusses the RTFO obligation and the growing investment in organic fuels.
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Blog post

Is the future of the blue sea red, brown or green?

Energy Blog
3 June 2020

In these extraordinary times, we have been thinking a lot about biomimicry, which, as you probably know, is an approach of taking innovations, patterns and solutions that already exist in nature and applying them to technology. The core idea is that Mother Nature who has spent billions of years being creative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems humanity is facing so we can helpfully learn from her successes and avoid her mistakes. A good example of this is the humble seaweed which is the collective noun for a range of species of multicellular algae. All seaweeds share a common ancestor with trees and mosses and belong to one of three groups commonly known as reds, browns and greens. For such a small and unassuming plant, seaweed could play a big part in the battle against climate change.
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Blog post

Pay me to take my oil, please

Energy Blog
21 April 2020

Green Giraffe’s Managing Director Jérôme Guillet considers the impact of negative oil prices on the renewable energy industry.
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Blog post

How green is your digital footprint?

Energy Blog
8 April 2020

The amount of CO2 you are saving by your valiant attempts to use reusable coffee cups is probably undermined every time you hit reply all and attach a video of that parrot to your company wide email. The first commercially successful copy machine, the Xerox 914, was a red-hot new technology back in 1959 – so hot that the machine shipped with its own fire extinguisher due to its tendency to catch fire. The company labelled this accessory the “scorch eliminator”, but despite this, the copy machine went on to become one of Xerox’s most lucrative products. Things have come a long way (and are hopefully safer) since then and we eagerly await the next technological step, the promise of the paperless office. This new utopia has been just around the corner since the mid-1970s. Going by the stacks of paper covering the desks of many there is still a long way to go, however email has at least made a big difference.
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Blog post

Swimming against the tide – When will tidal energy take off?

Energy Blog
20 February 2020

Matthew Taylor outlines the hurdles to the tidal sector that have preventd it from becoming a mainstream energy source.
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Blog post

Japan – an island nation with divine wind

Energy Blog
31 January 2020

Yurie Kawada discusses the opportunities and challenges for the up-and-coming Japanese offshore wind sector. In an attempt to keep one of my New Year’s resolutions, I have been reading up on the history of Japan. While doing so, I was reminded of the most interesting fact that the once-invincible Mongol empire crossed the Sea of Japan twice in the 1270s and 1280s in a bid to conquer the world beyond China. Both times they were beaten due to strong winds and storms. In gratitude for this, the Japanese named the strong winds on their land the “divine wind” and huge weather events such as typhoons, tsunamis and earthquakes have always featured significantly in Japan’s history. Fast forward 750 years, and we now see that the weather is radically shaping the evolution of renewable energy in this densely populated island country. As you will recall, the Great Tsunami of 2011 hit the eastern coast of Tohoku region and subsequently destroyed the Fukushima Nuclear Power Station, an event which caused enormous damage to the country. This, understandably, led to strong opposition towards nuclear power and subsequently all the Japanese nuclear power plants were halted in 2012. This left a big gap in the country’s energy mix as nuclear power had contributed 26% of the country’s generation capacity.
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Blog post

Thirsty work: is clean power the answer to clean water security?

Energy Blog
18 December 2019

Sebastian Reid proposes the coupling of renewable energy with desalination as a win-win solution for both developers and governments. Over decades of investigation, the search for extra-terrestrial life has been based on a single principle; follow the water. Up to 60% of the human body is literally water, so life without liquid water seems as yet inconceivable. Back on Earth, water is not hard to find – two-thirds of the planet covered by it. Yet London, Tokyo and Barcelona are some of the many cities expected to experience clean water shortages from 2025. Earlier this year, Indonesia announced it would move its capital from Jakarta, as the rapid depletion of the city’s groundwater resources is causing it to sink, displacing 10 million people. In 2017 and 2018 Cape Town suffered a severe shortage, with water levels dropping to 15% of dam capacity. Currently only 0.5% of the Earth’s water is fresh and accessible, and this resource, once thought plentiful, is being exhausted due to inefficient use of water resources combined with urbanisation and overconsumption. Agriculture, in particular, has been put once again under the spotlight. 70% of all water demand derives from agriculture alone; a single beef burger has a water footprint of 2,000 litres, and 50 billion beef burgers are eaten each year in the US alone. To put it into perspective, a whopping 100 trillion litres of water per year are used to meet the burger needs of just 4% of the world’s population. Surely savings must be made. Whilst management of water demand must improve, something can also be done on the supply side. Over 97% of the world’s water reserve is stored in our oceans, but in each kilogram of this water sits around 35 grams of dissolved salts which render this precious commodity unusable, a fact which leads us of course to desalination.
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Blog post

Is National Grid’s Triad system past its peak?

Energy Blog
7 November 2019

Michael Ware discusses the information assymetry of the peak demand Triads system in the UK. My surly next door neighbour has finally had enough of my barking dog and my two young sons kicking their footballs into his garden and is selling his house. Not particularly earth-shattering news, I know, but what is interesting is that he hasn’t advertised the asking price. If you want to make an offer, you have to call his estate agent for some sort of over-the-phone vetting process, after which they may or may not tell you quite how much he is asking for his 4 bedroom Victorian semi in a leafy street in Epsom. We know this because we tried – and they wouldn’t tell us. This secrecy creates an information asymmetry which, as classic economic theory tells us, will impede the working of the market. My neighbour knows how much he wants to sell his house for – but the buyers don’t know his price and will probably be put off as a result. His paranoid behaviour is impeding the efficiency of his transaction and will cost him money in the long run. When I tried to carefully explain this over the fence whilst retrieving my son’s football he was a tad less than impressed.
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Blog post

Thinking twice about the future of transport

Energy Blog
14 October 2019

In George Orwell’s scarily prescient novel “1984”, he introduces the concept of doublethink: the ability to hold two apparently contradictory thoughts at the same time, e.g. my wife fancies the svelte, densely coiffured actor Hugh Jackman but has actually married me, a fat bald accountant. On a less personal scale, the UK Government’s approach to transport seems to be a classic example. They proudly proclaim no new cars or vans powered solely by a petrol or diesel engine will be sold in the UK from 2040 – but at the same time they spend the best part of GBP 500 M per annum on incentivising technology to produce diesel and gas from bio sources such as crops and waste. This is through the somewhat clunkily titled Road Transport Fuel Obligation scheme (RTFO).
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Blog post

Hydrogen – A Green Future is not Blue

Energy Blog
27 September 2019

Niek Schumacher reflects on the hype around hydrogen and how its business case could be made green. As you might remember from chemistry lessons at school, hydrogen is both the lightest element in the periodic table and constitutes 75% of the mass of the universe. And despite being such an innocuous little molecule, it is about to play a third major role in the energy revolution. The recent hype around hydrogen as the Holy Grail of the energy transition is mainly thanks to its incredible versatility; enabling it to replace fossil fuels in mobility, heating and electricity generation and serve as a low-carbon feedstock for industrial processes. Though hydrogen is currently not playing the role some might foresee it having in the future, it is important to note that the petrochemical and fertilizer industry are already consuming enormous volumes of the stuff. Unfortunately for Mother Nature, this hydrogen is produced using natural gas, a process which causes significant carbon emissions. On a global scale this so-called grey hydrogen is responsible for almost 2% of worldwide emissions, more than the carbon emissions in the UK.
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Blog post

E-scooters – the next big thing or just eco bling?

Energy Blog
31 July 2019

Daniel Marshall looks at the growing use of electric scooters on the streets of Paris and the challenges we face integrating green transport in our cities.
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Blog post

Is the revolution in battery storage at risk of going flat?

Energy Blog
26 July 2019

Michael Ware challenges some assumptions about the role of battery storage in the future.
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Blog post

Are car charging points today’s equivalent of Levi jeans?

Energy Blog
28 June 2019

Michael Ware discusses Levi Strauss and the future of electric car charging.
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Blog post

Green Giraffe across the pond: opening our Boston office

Energy Blog
23 May 2019

Randy Male, director of Green Giraffe’s new office in Boston, discusses expansion plans across the Atlantic.
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Blog post

Is energy from waste the next big investment opportunity?

Energy Blog
18 April 2019

The renewables industry has, in part, become a victim of its own success in this regard. Globally over GBP 1 trillion has been invested in projects in the last then years.
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Blog post

Why we opened an office in Cape Town

Energy Blog
31 October 2018

Henri Gouzerh (head of Cape Town office) explains the rationale for opening an office in South Africa, the challenges faced over the past 12 months and the opportunities it brought Green Giraffe. At the end of 2017, Green Giraffe opened an office in Cape Town, South Africa. In this post we discuss why the time was right for the move, how we got there, and highlight some of the opportunities in the South African and the wider African markets.
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Blog post

Carbon pricing and the impact on renewable energy finance

Energy Blog
20 December 2017

Damiano Ting disusses the impact of carbon pricing on the economics and financing of renewable energy.
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Blog post

The Green Giraffe – Deutsche Bucht story

Energy Blog
1 December 2017

With the closing of the Deutsche Bucht (DeBu) financing (and sale of the project to Northland Power), a major page in Green Giraffe’s history has turned and it is worth telling the tale in full. We were first approached by Highland, the family office of Lord Irvine Laidlaw of Rothiemay, in September 2011, on the recommendation of CMS, a Hamburg law firm. At that time, Green Giraffe was a very young company, not two years old. We had just helped close our second major transaction with the financing of the Meerwind offshore wind farm in Germany, advising Blackstone (following the closing the previous year of the C-Power offshore wind farm in Belgium). At the time, offshore wind transactions were quite rare and these deals put us on the map, at least for offshore wind advisory.
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Blog post

Floating offshore wind (part 2): Financing FOW

Energy Blog
21 September 2017

In a second post on floating offshore wind, Martin Guzzetti addresses the financeability of the sector.  
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Blog post

Floating offshore wind (part 1): Coming of age

Energy Blog
7 September 2017

Martin Guzzetti discusses the strategic rationale behind floating offshore wind, exploring the similarities and differences with fixed-bottom offshore wind projects.
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Blog post

The Tesla Model 3 and why we ordered a few

Energy Blog
3 August 2017

Jérôme Guillet explains how Green Giraffe are on the road to carbon-positive.  
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Blog post

Zero bid auction proves the need for a new support system

Energy Blog
11 July 2017

Jérôme Guillet explains why fixed energy prices are necessary for the renewable energy industry. As the renewable energy sector and its regulators grapple with the prospect of so-called “zero-subsidy” bids, as seen in the recent German offshore wind auction, here’s a suggestion to ensure that the renewable energy sector does not do anything counterproductive or even destructive in any of the upcoming tenders.
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Blog post

Why Hinkley Point is unlikely to get built

Energy Blog
4 July 2017

Jérôme Guillet looks at the reasons why Hinkley Point C nuclear power station is unlikely to ever get built. The Hinkley Point nuclear project in the UK is a long running saga, and it currently looks like it’s finally going to happen, after decisions by both the UK government and the board of EDF to go ahead with the project. Some early works have started (behind paywall) and full construction is now scheduled to go ahead in 2020 with operations starting in 2025. But new developments in the offshore wind markets, plus some of the complications associated with Brexit, are increasingly likely to both derail it and offer a way out.
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Blog post

The Green Giraffe Energy Blog

Energy Blog
12 June 2017

Jérôme Guillet, Managing Director of Green Giraffe, introduces the new Green Giraffe Energy Blog.
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