It’s rare for politicians and the public to agree but it is increasingly clear that most of the world realises that we have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, coming through the Covid-19 pandemic, to reset our economies in a way that safeguards the prosperity of future generations.
The consensus is that we must emerge from the current crisis better, stronger and greener. Importantly, the wider financial market now realises that we need to revalue our economies to take account of the risks and opportunities inherent in meeting the challenges posed by climate change.
Today marks an extraordinarily important milestone along this road, with the announcement of Mainstream Renewable Power’s €1bn equity investment deal with Norway’s Aker Horizons.
I am particularly delighted to have agreed this pre-initial public offering (IPO) partnership with Aker, which is a hugely inventive company, one of whose investors is the Norwegian government. I recall how the country’s former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland was among the first political leaders to draw the world’s attention to the need for sustainability in energy.
More than simply a sign of the times, this partnership signifies a step change in the role of business in spurring on the green revolution. Some 13 years on from when I established Mainstream, the energy transition has never been more essential to the welfare of societies across the globe. The move towards sustainability is no longer the aspiration of a few, but an imperative of the market, so the agreement of this partnership could not be timelier.
Furthermore, as green shoots are emerging in merger and acquisition activity across the energy sector, it’s clear that consolidation and collaboration across the value chain can offer the platform needed to make decarbonisation a reality and solve our collective climate challenge.
As the world unites behind an accelerated energy transition, it will need collaboration between large corporates and developers.
Despite a tumultuous 2020, with the fall in oil prices, fluctuating demand and financial market uncertainty, one unwavering constant in energy was the growth of renewables. The IEA estimates that renewable capacity installation hit record highs last year. It’s clear from our own portfolio how much potential this industry holds.
As the world unites behind an accelerated energy transition, it will need transformational collaboration between large corporates and developers to drive these systemic changes forward, to accelerate the build-out of new capacity, and to position decarbonisation at the heart of our recovery.
The deal announced between Mainstream and Aker represents something that needs to become more common. This will happen because the markets and society will become more aligned, synthesising investment, expertise, and shared passion for the planet, so that the market - investors, both institutional and private - boosts the process by which society will rid the world of carbon emissions.
Partnerships like this work because of a thorough process to ensure the alignment of ambitions. Mainstream's board spent months finding an equity partner that would not only share our ambition and our way of conducting business but critically, our vision, mission and values. Aker is an exceptional fit for Mainstream, and it is clear from the level of investment that there is a mutual commitment to making this work.
It is a large-scale, bold investment; precisely the kind of partnership that can truly create energy champions of the future. This kind of approach will be replicated, as it needs to be, in the months and years ahead.
This move will cement Mainstream’s position as a driving force in the shift to renewable energy and set it on a path towards becoming a renewable supermajor. More importantly, it will introduce a new era for shared climate leadership at the critical juncture we face, as the world prepares for COP26 and commits to “building back better”.
· Eddie O’Connor is the founder and chairman of Mainstream Renewable Power.