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Sunny times (sort of)

Posted May 15, 2024 at 10:30 am
Alexander Gunz
Heptagon Capital

Your author is just returned from a week of vacation in Spain. Far from the seaside (in fact on a wine tasting tour in the middle of the country), constantly rotating wind turbines dominated much of the skyline. Spain is also Europe’s sunniest country, with the mercury touching 30 degrees on our trip. These developments are clearly good news if you’re an alternative energy operator. Over half of Spain’s electricity is now derived from renewable sources.

Passing the 50% mark in terms of renewable contribution must be considered a major achievement, particularly given that the EU average is only 23.0%. Two corporate interactions in (markedly cooler) London at the start of May served as a useful reminder of just how much still needs to be done to make renewables a more significant source of energy.

We were lucky to spend time with Henrik Andersen, Chief Executive Officer of Vestas. He reiterated that all countries would benefit from having “diversity in their energy mix.” Few doubt the logic of such an assertion (we first made it in 2011) but getting there remains problematic when there still exist “enormous bureaucracies and red tape” in terms of permitting for new turbines in Europe. Some countries (such as Germany and the UK) have made good progress in respect of accelerating the process, but these remain the broad exceptions for now.

One interim solution, then, may be liquefied natural gas. Sure, “the world cannot decarbonise without access to wind” (per Vestas) but consider the role that LNG can play in facilitating decarbonisation from coal-to-gas switching. Data shared in a recent presentation given by Cheniere Energy show that liquefied natural gas generates 47-57% fewer GHG emissions versus coal and up to 99% less air pollutant. Beyond the facilitation of decarbonisation, liquefied natural gas can help enable energy security and economic development. With sunnier political times in Europe perhaps still an optimistic scenario with ongoing war on the region’s borders, every step towards energy independence must therefore be considered a positive. 

Originally Posted May 14, 2024 – Sunny times (sort of)

The above does not constitute investment advice and is the sole opinion of the author at the time of publication. Heptagon Capital is an investor in Cheniere Energy and Vestas. The author of this piece has no personal direct investment in either business. Past performance is no guide to future performance and the value of investments and income from them can fall as well as rise.

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