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Guernsey Targeting Clean Tech Sector Opportunities

by Jason Gorringe,, London

30 October 2012

A recent event held in the United Kingdom has examined the potential for Guernsey to generate renewable energy, and to specialize in the provision of financial products and services to the clean technology sector, to diversify the island's economic base.

The event, held at the House of Commons in London, was organized by a UK company which is driving forward the renewable energy generation sector in the South West of the United Kingdom, Regen SW. The South West is the first region to have a specific area designated as a Marine Energy Park, with a particular focus on tidal and wave energy.

Attendees discussed how Guernsey could build upon its financial services offering to target businesses engaged in the clean tech sector, and examined the prospects of Guernsey's own tidal, wave and offshore wind resources to generate clean energy for the island and for export.

A Guernsey delegation attended the event comprising local law firms, and representatives from the government's Renewable Energy Team (RET), launched a year ago by the island's promotional agency, Guernsey Finance, to drive forward Guernsey's ambition of a diverse clean tech sector.

Guernsey Finance Chief Executive, Fiona Le Poidevin, explained: “There are many funds domiciled in and administered from Guernsey where there is a focus on sustainable investments. 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."

She added: "We believe there is also significant potential for the island’s expertise in captive insurance and our intellectual property environment to be utilized 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 clean-tech sector.”

Guernsey Finance has spearheaded a number of initiatives this year to increase awareness of the island's ambition. The island exhibited at the Cleantech Forum held in Munich in April, and had features published in industry publication Cleantech Investor in May, as well as the latest edition of the Recharge magazine.

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 clean-tech 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.”

A Guernsey delegation is exhibiting at the Renewable Energy Forum in London on October 30-31, 2012. Among Guernsey representatives at the event, Nick Vermeulen, a partner at PwC in Guernsey, is to discuss the movement of capital and in particular, the role of infrastructure and private equity funds in the clean-tech sector.

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, said: “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."

He added: "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 commercialization of the marine energy sector."

TAGS: environment | investment | business | private equity | energy | financial services | Guernsey | offshore | services

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