The Renewable Energy Mini-MBA
This course gives you a complete market analysis on the renewable energy industry. Covering renewable energy technology, planning, policy and profitability.
This course will earn you
35 CPD hours.
6 key course learning outcomes
- A unique, time-intensive, high-level view of the renewable energy industries, including technology and business risk comparisons between different sectors, and their contrasting roles in the business of electricity, fuel and heat production
- Discover how renewable resources, technologies, policies and investors interconnect to determine project profitability
- Understand the fundamentals of renewable technologies, market impacts, opportunities and challenges. Market analysis of Solar, Wind, Geothermal, Biomass (power & fuels), Hydro and Ocean energy (wave & tidal)
- Learn how renewable energy fits into the energy market. And, examine the impact Governments and external influences have on timescales over which it can scale
- Be fluent in the economics and the ‘financial language’ of renewable energy. From country scales to project level investor returns
- Understand the most important factors that determine renewable project profitability. Our unique team-based renewable energy growth planning and modelling exercise turns theory into practice. And brings all the learning points together
What’s New for 2014?
- Better flow of topics and learning outcomes. Based on delegate feedback and experience
- More interactive sessions on cash-flow, financial planning and analysis issues
- Revisions, improvements and information updates for the group work exercise
- More coverage of important topics including:
What can you still expect?
- Central importance and time available for our unique, team-based exercise
- Interactive, informal, discussion-friendly and Q&A-focused delivery throughout
- Unashamedly business-focused approach to the renewable energy market: both opportunities and independent, hype-free perspectives on the risks and barriers
- Unique focus on bringing together all the key business issues of renewable energy. These include:
Who has already benefitted?
- Power Generators & Fuel Producers
- Energy Utilities
- Major Energy Users (Corporations)
- Renewable Energy Project Developers
- Transmission/Distribution System Operators
- Energy Technology Vendors and EPC Contractors
- Commercial Services Suppliers (Law, Insurance, EIA etc.)
- Investors, including Commercial and Development banks, VCs and Private Equity
- Policymakers, Policy Advisors and NGOs
- Market Analysts & Consultants
Renewable energy capacity continues to be installed apace. And on a range of scales from small-scale and off-grid, to multi-MW utility-scale power plants and biorefineries. With rapidly decreasing costs this means that “grid parity” and subsidy-free renewable energy markets can become a reality.
Yet the renewable energy industry is buffeted by economic factors and other barriers in many markets, including:
- Reducing policy support
- Under-developed supply chains
- Collapsing carbon markets
- Cheapening gas supplies
- Concerns about visual, socioeconomic or environmental impacts
Understanding these issues is critical to renewable project profitability. From technology development to business model revolutions and political drivers. It is a challenge to make sense of such a fast-paced and dynamic market. And one where few one-stop, integrated information sources exist.
And that’s why the Renewable Energy Mini MBA course agenda is our most popular. It will provide you with a complete, up-to-date and easy to understand analysis of the renewable energy market. And to provide clarity on what is a complex and interconnected series of scientific and economic influences.
Delegates will understand that technology, finance, policy and resource availability cannot work in isolation. Instead, you will learn and model how all must fit together. In order to create a sustainable, affordable and profitable low-carbon energy world.
Our unique renewable growth planning exercise
The competitive context of renewable energy is complex and open to debate. Our view is that this is a good thing. Lively discussions trigger a variety of views and highlight different approaches to different markets. We believe that the best way to frame such debates and bring disparate topics together and to apply them.
This is where our energy planning exercise comes in. The exercise enables you to explore the strategic constraints, practical challenges and investment requirements. It runs throughout the whole week and demonstrates how you incorporate renewable energy sources into the energy market.
Delegates work in small teams and will:
- Quantify the scalability and limits on renewable resources
- Explore the priorities, timescales and practical limits to renewable energy deployments
- Propose appropriate policy frameworks to encourage renewable energy investments
- Quantify the financial investments required. Both on a market and project scale, and the returns available
- Weigh up the pros and cons of different renewable energy solutions using real market data. And analysing a variety of energy-market and external constraints and opportunities
Training level & delivery
We assume no prior expertise on the topics covered during the course.
All we ask is that you bring an inquiring mind, a willingness to actively participate, and an openness to share your own ideas and expertise with others!
The course is delivered by the Green Power Academy’s renewable industry expert lecturers. They are supported by expert guest speakers and renewable energy industry veterans.
The course is delivered through a mix of:
- business modelling
- business planning group work
The course runs in a friendly and informal manner. This encourages questions and lively discussions – and ensures you get the most out of your time.
Green Power Academy is an independent training organisation. We focus ONLY on business training for the renewable energy sector. We have no other interests or non-training business to promote. We provide an unbiased, hype-free view of the topics. And we are happy to highlight diverse opinions and data where and when these exist.
Supporting materials you will receive
- Hard and soft copies of presentation materials
- Comprehensive reading list for further study after the course
- All presented and utilised modelling tools. Including the financial/cash flow spreadsheet and other case study information
- A certificate of attendance
Why Green Power Academy?
- Unique courses that can’t be found anywhere else
- CPD certified renewable energy courses
- Over 1300 international delegates already trained
- Class sizes limited to 20 delegates. To ensure maximum one to one time with the course lecturer
- Up-to-date and profit driven – case studies and examples used throughout
- Interactive class sessions spark discussion and build learning
- Convenient – courses are held at 4-5 star hotels in central city locations. Or, we can train you at your office
Upcoming dates and venues
KEY ENERGY CONCEPTS
- How Energy is currently used: quantities, applications and trends
- “Power” vs. “energy”: why the distinction is important and why and when both measures matter
- Quantifying energy availabilities and densities
- The differing characteristics of renewable energies and how they contribute to an “energy mix”: including end-use applications, dispatchable sources, sustainability and timescales of intermittency
- Understanding natural limits to renewable energy (and its potential to substitute conventional sources)
- Issues of scalability, including variability and land-use
RENEWABLE ENERGY POLICY
- How policies in their various forms are currently used to change the economics of renewable energy (in each of the sectors of power, fuels and heat)
- How policies are driven and their levels determined
- Feed-in-tariffs, green certificates, tax incentives, carbon markets, renewables obligations and other policy tools
- How policy is changing and why, including key policy trends and predictions
- The debate over energy subsidies and their cost to customers
- “Grid Parity” and learning curves: when (if ever) will renewables be subsidy-free?
- DISCUSSION: Is Renewable Energy Policy working
ENERGY VALUE & PRICE
- Power system characteristics and planning
- How power prices are determined and why they vary
- Merit order curves and time-of-supply factors
- Examples of how renewable power has impacted power prices for conventional power
- Fuel prices, including trends and influences on oil and natural gas
- From wholesale to retail: Influences on consumer energy prices
- Policy impacts on energy prices
THE FUTURE OF THE GRID
- Issues around variability, curtailment, peak power, ramp rates and scaling of renewable power in the grid
- Issues in integrating renewables into power grids, including costs
- Smart Metering, Smart Grids & Microgrids
- Off-grid and distributed generation, including its impact on the traditional utility business model
- Storage (on and off-grid): how much is required and can it be scaled?
- Understanding the current solutions for energy storage and how they solve different problems; including pumped storage, compressed air (CAES), batteries, flywheels, capacitors and other technologies
- Where to site energy storage in future grids: centralised vs. distributed proposals
- Examples of smart grid developments today
A brief introduction to our renewable market growth planning exercise and a chance to initially read and understand the tasks ahead
NON-THERMAL RENEWABLE POWER GENERATION
SOLAR PV (PHOTOVOLTAICS)
- The key principles of the solar energy resource
- The nature of PV materials, including choices (silicon vs. thin-film), trends and emerging solutions (new materials such as organics, dyes and multijunctions)
- Other key “balance of system” components of a PV array, including inverters and trackers
- The cost breakdown of PV systems
- The evolution of PV module prices: ups and downs, history and future trends
- The importance of “efficiency” and other performance measures
- Performance ratios and optimising the operation of PV arrays
- Concentrated PV: pros and cons, including examples
- The nature of wind resources, and why “mean wind speed” isn’t enough to know
- Wind Turbines: the key components and design issues, including sizes, horizontal vs. vertical axis designs, gearbox & generator trends
- Onshore vs. offshore wind, including turbine differences and installation and foundation challenges offshore
- Supply chain challenges, including impacts on wind technology futures
- Operations and Maintenance (O&M) essentials for wind power
- Trends in costs and why they occur
POWER FROM WATER
- Hydro power at a variety of scales from mega-projects to micro, run-of-river
- Seasonal and other aspects of hydropower sustainability
- Resource and planning challenges for hydro
- Ocean resources: pros and cons for energy from tides and waves
- Tidal power, through barrages or tidal streams
- The many types of wave power machine and the nature of wave resources
- Other emerging ocean energy technologies, such as osmotic power and ocean thermal energy (OTEC)
- Commercialisation and timescales
THERMALLY-BASED RENEWABLE POWER GENERATION
- The nature of geothermal resources and reserves
- Why geothermal energy projects are fundamentally different in terms of cost and risk profile than other renewables
- Geothermal project phases, including drilling and exploration
- Conventional vs. engineered or enhanced geothermal systems
- At the surface: flash vs. binary power generation
- Geothermal power vs. direct heat applications
- When geothermal is not sustainable: operational limitations and timescales
- Concentrating Solar Power (CSP): solar power through thermal generation
- Technology options for CSP, including construction and operational comparisons
- CSP vs. PV: applications, costs, pros & cons
- Energy storage and hybrid solutions using CSP
- The future of CSP: how will it compete and why should it survive?
- Large-scale power from biomass
- Woody biomass feedstock resources, upgrading and logistics
- Direct vs. co-fired biomass power
- Debates over the sustainability of large-scale biopower
- Power from municipal wastes: technology challenges and economic case
- Smaller-scale biopower, including captive power and offgrid examples
EXERCISE: INITIAL GROUP WORK
- Time to start working in small teams!
- The whole morning is devoted to getting started on the comprehensive Renewable Market Growth exercise, allowing plenty of time to apply the learning from the course so far, share experiences with other team members, and review or revisit any of the course content with your
training course leader
- Reviewing the Renewable Market Growth exercise objectives, resources and data
- Analysing the current energy market information supplied
- Discussing the role of different renewable (and non-renewable) energy solutions in this market
- Quantifying the renewable resources available
- Analysing the potential pros and cons of renewables compared to conventional alternatives
- Issues around technology choices and socioeconomic impacts
- Identifying where policy supports will be needed
- Quantifying the feasibility of different growth options and their practical timescales
RENEWABLE TRANSPORT: BIOFUELS & THE ALTERNATIVES
- A clear explanation of the maze of biofuel terminology and conversion pathways, including 1st vs. 2nd generation biofuels, drop-ins, sugars & lignocellulosics, fermentation vs. thermochemical pathways, enzymes & microbes and more
- Feedstocks used for transport biofuel: now and in future
- The food vs. fuel argument, including issues around sustainability, land use, greenhouse gas emissions and policy supports
- Socioeconomic and trade debates in biofuels markets
- Specific applications, including aviation
- Competition to biofuels, including other and emerging fuels (including hydrogen, ammonia, methane and more); plus the growth of electric vehicles
- Competitive uses for biomass (chemicals, plastics and other products)
OTHER BIO-DERIVED FUELS: GASES AND THEIR APPLICATIONS
- Biogas via anaerobic digestion: current examples and scalability (including on- and off-grid)
- Upgrading biogas to biomethane: challenges and business case
- Hydrogen and other gases via biomass conversion, including potential market applications
- Distributed generation using bio-derived fuels
HEAT, CHP & EFFICIENCY
- Heat as a significant share of world energy use
- Heat generation vs. energy efficiency
- Heat distribution, including district heat vs. distributed heat
- Heat as part of CHP
- Tri-generation: power, heating & cooling
- Reviewing renewable sources of heat
RENEWABLE PROJECT PLANNING, PHASES AND RISKS
- Timing the key phases in developing renewable energy projects
- Understanding the key reasons why theory and practice may not match when planning a renewable energy project
- Permitting, planning, off-taker/purchaser contracts, grid interconnect and other key negotiations
- Environmental Impact Assessments and what they include
- Selecting and working with EPCs and other partners
- Assessing Policy, technology, financial, environmental and other sources of risk, including the options available to mitigate them
- Identifying the differing risk factors and profiles for different types of renewable energy project
- Bringing it all together: why do some projects succeed while others fail?
- Examples of project cases
METRICS FOR RENEWABLE PROJECT ANALYSIS
- Speaking the financial language: measures of “bankability”
- Sources of finance for renewable energy: the different players, their expectations and suitabilities
- Introducing the specific features and inputs to renewable energy investments and the risk factors and return variability they bring
- Understanding the key metrics used by investors and developers to analyse renewable energy projects
- Defining key terminology such as IRR, NPV, debt and other rations (DSCR etc.), returns (RoE), payback times, discount rates and more
- Capex and Opex: example numbers and why they vary so widely
- The concept of “Levelised Cost of Electricity” (LCOE), including its derivation, usage and major limitations as a metric
- Choosing between projects: measures of success, KPIs and benchmarks
EXERCISE: POLICY, INVESTMENT AND FINANCIAL RETURNS
- Introducing our excel-based cashflow model for use with the Renewable Growth Planning exercise
- An explanation of the key inputs and outputs from the model
- How to use the model to:
- Better understand the money flows within a renewable power project
- Examine how different project parameters will affect the attractiveness of the market to investors
- Identify the impact of policy mechanisms on renewable energy project returns, and design appropriate policy incentives to grow the market
EXERCISE: CONTINUED GROUP WORK
- Continuing with the Renewable Market Growth exercise
- Plenty more time available to work in teams
- Applying the financial analysis and project planning barriers to your proposed renewable energy routes
- Using the supplied cash flow model to suggest reasonable returns for projects
- Creating policy incentives to encourage investment in renewable energy
- Establishing capital constraints on your proposed plans (and adjusting accordingly)
- Which mix of projects makes most sense and how much will they cost?
EXERCISE FINAL GROUP WORK
- More significant time available for work in teams
- Further consideration of risks and potential changes to your proposed energy mix evolution, including external factors and alternatives
- Integrating and reconsidering previous aspects of the week’s learning to bring together a final list of solutions and proposals to take forward to the presentation stage
- Discussing other market trends and disruptive, external influences which will impact the business of renewables
- What share of the market can renewables meet?
- What are your key assumptions in each case and how robust are these?
- How will you present your business case?
- Final Presentation planning and preparation
- A final chance to revisit, revise and review any of the learning aspects of the week, and to ask your specific questions to the training course leader
PRESENTATIONS: OF RENEWABLE GROWTH STRATEGIES & RESULTS
- Teams present their energy plans to the whole course group
- Questions and scrutiny of the proposals and their underlying assumptions
CLOSING REVIEW: 100% RENEWABLES?
- How did the findings of each team differ?
- How realistic are the proposed models?
- Who had the best approach and why?
- What could go wrong with the proposed plans?
- Analysing real studies into decarbonising energy systems, on world and country scales
Upcoming dates and venues
Christian Erich Grütte
Christian Erich Grütte is an independent advisor with many years’ experience in the renewable energy sector. He advises utilities, IPPs, manufacturers, developers and financial investors on renewable strategies, business development and financing internationally. His specific experience includes the assessment of regulatory, technology and development risk in countries around the globe. Further, his focus is to assess and create the ability of renewable energy projects to be financed both from equity sponsors and debt lenders.
Christian is a recommended speaker at leading international renewable energy conferences and one of Green Power Academy’s core team of executive trainers on investment and financing topics. He has delivered a range of financing courses and our acclaimed Green Power Mini-MBA programme to delegates across Europe as well as in the US, Chile, South Africa, Dubai and Brazil.
He holds an MSc in Industrial Engineering and Management from the Technical University of Berlin and currently serves as a lecturer in the Renewable Energy Finance Studies Program of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.
He also forms part of the Working Group ‘Financing the Energy Turn-around’ in Frankfurt and was one of the first members of the European Technology Platform for Wind Energy, as well as of EWEA, ACORE, LAWEA, EUBIA, ESHA and EGEC.
Read our exclusive interview with Christian Erich Grütte, renewable energy finance expert and trainer of Green power Academy’s upcoming “Renewable Power Economics” and “Financing Renewable Power Projects” training courses:
Q: What do you think are the main financing challenges facing renewable power project developers at the moment?
A: In an environment where we see decreasing government incentives, the main challenge currently is to achieve “bankable” power purchase agreements (PPAs) or to secure long-term off-takers for tradable green certificates.
At the same time, and driven by overall financial market regulations, we are also seeing much shorter tenors for project loans, which complicates further the challenge of long-term financing.
Q: What do you believe are the main factors that people tend to overlook or underestimate when financing renewable power projects?
A: From early on in the process, financing needs to be an integral part of project development. Each development decision invariably determines the financing options later on. So starting to look for financing after most of the development is finished, leaves very little flexibility for financial solutions.
Also, the timing, costs and requirements that are involved to achieve a financial close are highly underestimated.
Q: What would you say are the main trends in terms of sources of finance for renewable power projects?
A: Given the shorter loan tenors and the difficulties in achieving bankable PPAs, we are increasingly looking at semi-permanent loans or extended construction financing solutions on balance sheet.
Engineering Procurement & Construction companies (EPCs), manufacturers or utilities are realizing the project and assuming most of the construction and start-up risk; and, at a later stage, institutional investors are entering the project on a full equity basis. For smaller projects we are also increasingly seeing “crowd financing” on a full equity basis as a solution.
Q: What’s your background in renewable power finance?
A: I’ve had some 12 years as a financial advisor supporting both investors and developers across the world, in all types of renewable energy power projects. I’ve got particular experience in scouting new projects in emerging markets, sourcing equity and debt, assessing bankability and leading negotiations towards financial close.
I also lecture in the Renewable Energy Finance Studies Program of the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, and am part of the Working Group ‘Financing the Energy Turn-around’ in Frankfurt.
Q: On previous courses, what would you say are the key things that people have found eye-opening and most likely to change how they think about financing projects?
A: Everyone is interested in understanding the way lenders assess bankability and how the various elements of the term sheet drive equity returns within the financial model. The courses also make people Realise that there is no silver bullet delivering a financial solution, but rather that it’s an iterative and integrative approach that’s required to achieve a financial close.
Paul Cawsey has been involved in sustainable development and renewable energy both academically and in the field for over 10 years.
Prior to joining Green Power Academy as a full-time trainer and training developer, he was head of learning and lectured in renewable energy technology and environment issues at Merrist Wood College, a multi-award winning, specialist college for “land-based” industries. In addition Paul was involved in commercial work including biofuel projects in the south east of England and land-use scoping – focusing on renewable energy – for a global mining company.
In the course of his work with GPA, Paul has trained across the world, including various parts of Europe, plus South Africa, the Middle East and Brazil. Those companies who have attended Paul’s training include: Shell, BP, Novozymes, Avantium, Amilina, CAF, Arizona Chemicals, DRAX, Danish Energy Agency, AkzoNobel, Contour Global, UPM, Neste Oil, Port of Rotterdam (plus many more).
Paul holds a BSc degree in environmental science and an MSc in land management.
Dr John Massey
John Massey founded the Green Power Academy in 2008, following an outstanding academic science background and over twenty years of commercial experience of industry research, analysis and training across a variety of technology-based industries. In addition to his roles as Academy Training Director and board member for parent company Green Thinking Services, he remains “hands-on”, as part of the core training team for the Academy.
With a unique talent for understanding, distilling and explaining a diverse set of technologies within their market and commercial contexts (including their economic and financial modelling), John has written and presented training courses across the renewable energy space and in over 15 countries, covering every continent. These courses have been presented both on a public basis and as private “in-house” courses to customers including utilities, investment funds and technology vendors. In addition he acts as a keynote conference moderator at selected renewable energy events.
John’s particular and continued research focus is on the role of renewable energy sources within wider energy markets, bringing together the inter-related issues of: technology evolutions and limitations; market competition and economics; project financial planning and risks; policy and socioeconomic influences.
Within Green Power Academy he has led, created and delivered essential training materials within our core areas of solar PV, wind power, geothermal, bioenergy and all-encompassing energy mix planning. In keeping with the importance of understanding renewables within their wider market context, he was responsible for devising, creating and leading our acclaimed Mini-MBA programme, which is now available in 8 countries across the globe each year.
Academically, John holds a 1st Class honours degree in Natural Sciences (specialism: Geological Sciences) from the University of Cambridge, which he followed up by a PhD in Earth Sciences and a Diploma in Economics, Innovation & Sustainability.
Upcoming dates and venues
Upcoming dates and venues
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