Galileo Green Energy is a pan-European, multi-technology, renewable energy developer, owner and operator. We aim to integrate competitive green energy and storage projects with suitable energy supply solutions for end consumers and the wholesale market. Due to the pandemic, I am currently based in Madrid, Spain but the head office is based in Milan, Italy. We have an international team with workers from the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy.
I have two roles at Galileo; business development and power origination. I was involved in business development back from when I started in renewables at EDF and I also had the opportunity to focus on commercial power origination. It’s a fairly new role in the renewable business industry. Originally, we used to develop a project and then subscribe to a feed-in tariff or a governmental scheme as you didn’t need to find a customer for that energy. This has now changed with the competitiveness of the renewables and you now need to find a suitable client. There are different ways to sell that energy – physical, virtual or financial. There’s an economical incentive for the customer to buy renewables as there are savings to be made and it’s also driven by their sustainability targets. Every day, new companies are disclosing their sustainability targets as electricity consumption is a big chunk of their emissions. The two main drivers for corporate customers to buy renewable energy is that it makes economic sense and the other is to achieve sustainability targets for 2030. That’s the power origination side. The business development element has to do with the origination of a project; finding suitable locations and applying for the permits. This can be done in-house, externally or we can acquire projects with granted permits that are ready to build.
The European markets that are most interesting are the competitive, liberalised markets which are Germany, UK, France, Italy, Spain and Poland regarding resources (wind and sun), high consumption and strong 2030 renewable targets. In some Eastern Europe countries (for example) there are still some markets that are yet to be liberalised to freely develop renewables. We are also interested other markets such as Ireland, Portugal, Netherlands and the Nordics – there are lots of opportunities for wind and solar.
I have a background in finance and started my career as a financial controller - back then I didn’t even think about renewables. It was only when I worked abroad in the UK and France that I got involved with the sales department. I wanted to be involved in commercial but I got into buying (other side of the table) and I became the purchaser for all the raw materials for the manufacturer including electricity and gas. As high consumers of electricity, I learnt the difference between kW and kWh (power vs energy). I found it really interesting especially from a financial perspective. I eventually went back to Spain and did an Executive MBA at the IE Business School in Madrid.
Afterwards, I took a job with EDF Energies Nouvelles as they were creating a team to develop solar projects. Renewables weren’t at all known at that stage and they wanted people in business development to expand the company. I saw the opportunity and I stayed there for 9 years in different international functions; business development and power origination covering Iberia and South America. Eventually, I moved to Acciona and in four years I built up the commercial team. Internationally we created and managed a team to sell our portfolio of energy to 20 markets in total including the US, Mexico, Europe and Australia. Based on that experience, I accepted a job in Galileo doing business development and origination.
In my line of work, it’s 50/50. It’s beneficial to have a business development qualification so you get a good understanding of finance and project valuation. For my role it’s important to understand energy hedging, metrics, finance and commercial agreements - my qualification gave me this solid background in business development. However, experience is an important part of the commercial side as you need understand the market, renewables, regulations, and the objectives of each market and the customer. Experience also helps to develop a high level of interaction with people so you understand their sustainability targets and find personal solutions for them.
Don’t get a job in the coal industry! Coal has been around for 150 years but there’s no long-term future. Sustainability and renewable energy has so much potential – it’s the new era for energy. Renewables used to be heavily regulated but it’s now led by market forces and there are now so many different roles within business development, commercial and engineering. Renewable energy is a relatively new industry as it’s only been here for 20-25 years but there’s so much growth.
Getting a job in renewables is much easier now because of digital networking. Be proactive with physical events (which hopefully will start up again soon). Listen to the experts and try to create a network. It’s not all about your CV; you have to create a profile and use your contacts. It’s now possible to interact directly with people in the industries so target companies and send them a message. Be proactive.