Guernsey: Guernsey Hosts Renewable Energy Forum
Last Updated: 11 April 2013

Members of the South West Marine Energy Park (MEP) have visited Guernsey to learn more about the financial services expertise the Island can offer the cleantech sector.

The group's visit came as a result of Guernsey's representation at a Regen SW renewable energy reception at the House of Commons last September, which raised awareness of how Guernsey could use its expertise as a leading international finance centre to provide financial products and services to the cleantech sector. Given the strong interest in Guernsey's offering, a joint forum in Guernsey was arranged for South West MEP members and the Island's financial services cleantech group, as well as members of the States of Guernsey Renewable Energy Team (RET).

Guernsey's financial services cleantech group was founded in 2011 by Fiona Le Poidevin, Chief Executive of Guernsey Finance - the promotional agency for the Island's finance industry internationally.

Miss Le Poidevin said: "We were delighted to welcome members of the South West MEP to the Island. The forum demonstrated that there was a lot of interest in Guernsey structures, particularly our expertise in investment funds, captive insurance and intellectual property.

"The event gave us the opportunity to showcase Guernsey's financial services offering and explain how it could be applied to various areas of the renewable energy sector, in particular marine and offshore wind. The sector faces a number of challenges such as raising finance and managing the risks associated with energy generation, so the forum allowed members of the Island's finance industry to explain how they might be able to assist. We have now got plenty of ideas to look at going forward as we continue to build on the relationship between Guernsey and the South West MEP."

Topics covered at the forum, held at Fermain Valley Hotel on Thursday 21 March, included an overview of the marine energy sector, taking into account its priorities and challenges; as well as technology and project development and related financial services. Guernsey firms represented at the morning event were Appleby, Collas Crill, JLT and PwC, while in the afternoon Mat Desforges, policy adviser to RET, gave a presentation on Guernsey's renewable energy opportunities which was then discussed by the group.

Johnny Gowdy, Director at Regen SW and Programme Manager of the South West MEP, said the event had been a great success.

"The forum was a great platform to share ideas and to look at the challenges and opportunities apparent in marine energy and other renewable energy fields. We knew before we came here that Guernsey's financial services sector was able to service the industry and the forum reinforced our initial impression and gave us an opportunity to explore the offering in a more comprehensive way," said Mr Gowdy.

"Guernsey's RET also faces many similar challenges to that of the South West MEP members and therefore we were able to share some of our experiences in this regard."

The South West MEP represents a collaborative partnership between local and national government, local enterprise partnerships, technology developers, academia and industry, which aims to create a positive business environment that will foster collaboration, attract investment and accelerate the commercial development of the marine energy sector.

In terms of upcoming events, a team from Guernsey will be exhibiting at the Cleantech Forum Europe 2013 in Bilbao. The three-day event, which gets underway on Tuesday 16 April, brings together entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and advisors from across the globe to discuss the issues pertinent to the cleantech industry. Peter Miller of Ernst & Young, Patricia White of Legis Fund Services, Kate Storey of Collas Crill and Mat Desforges of RET, will all be accompanying Guernsey Finance to the event in Spain.

Miss Le Poidevin commented: "The financial services cleantech initiative is now truly gathering pace and we are very pleased with the interest to date. In particular, this offering spans the various sectors of the financial services industry in the Island, allowing representatives to collaborate and share ideas which will hopefully lead to a greater number of opportunities being created in the future."

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