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Willis Teams with Narec Capital to Boost Renewable Energy Revolution


Posted on 17 Jan 2012

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A new strategic alliance between Willis Group Holdings, the global insurance broker, and clean energy financier Narec Capital will unlock fresh opportunities for firms in the renewable energy market to develop and scale up technologies that generate low carbon power from the air, sea and sun.

By combining dedicated finance and insurance capacity, Narec Capital and Willis are able to give would-be investors and developers of renewable technologies the confidence they need to test and deploy new clean energy solutions that are expected to provide an increasing share of the world’s power in years to come.

While the clean energy revolution poses significant social benefits and business opportunities, it also presents significant risks and challenges to developers, financiers and insurers.

Narec Capital and Willis have come together to tackle these challenges and mitigate the risks of investment in renewable technologies by sharing their complementary insurance and sectoral expertise. Where Narec Capital opens up finance opportunities by identifying investors with an appetite for early-stage renewable development and de-risking those opportunities, Willis provides an unrivalled array of insurance services and products for the renewable energy sector. The development and deployment of affordable clean energy technology and infrastructure is an area where the insurance industry especially can make a substantial contribution to the transition to a low carbon, energy-stable society.

Together, Narec Capital and Willis will combine the strengths of their respective networks in the areas of risk engineering, risk management consultancy, and development and distribution of specialist risk mitigation products for the renewable energy industry. The companies will also rely on their respective academic institution and technology partners to accelerate the research and commercialisation of renewable power and infrastructure. Willis supports more than 50 universities and public science institutions through the Willis Research Network, which has grown to become the world’s largest collaboration between science, academia, and the insurance and finance sectors. Narec Capital is working closely with leading renewable energy technology and innovation institutions across Europe building on its joint venture with the National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec).

Commenting on the partnership with Willis, Jerry Biggs, Chief Executive of Narec Capital, said: "The strengths of Willis strongly complement those of Narec Capital and our partners. The breadth of our rapidly growing financial risk mitigation capability, headed by the very experienced team of Michael Bullock and Bill Lloyd, in conjunction with our technical due diligence activities, is already helping us to bring much-needed additional financial capacity into the renewable sector and will reduce the overall cost of capital for our investors. With our team working closely with Willis, we are certain that we will be able to accelerate this market development even more rapidly."

Michael Buckle, Renewable Energy Practice Leader at Willis, added: "We are delighted to work with Narec Capital to bring together and harness a unique proposition to accelerate and mitigate the risks of renewable energy development. The agreement supports our companies' shared objective to drive positive change in the clean energy market by reducing and mitigating the risks linked to renewable development. Alongside Narec Capital, we share the same vision and the fusion of skills within each organisation shows outstanding and unprecedented capability in the sector."

Industry Background

Adding more renewables to Britain’s energy mix is a cornerstone of the UK government’s plan to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions levels generated from dirtier, fossil fuel sources and transition to a low carbon economy. Within the next decade, Britain has pledged to deliver 20 per cent of the nation’s energy from renewable sources, representing more than a three-fold increase on current capacity levels. The estimated investment needed to achieve this target is £79 bn from now through 2020.

The UK and many countries across the world are also turning towards renewable power in the face of mounting global energy demands and concerns over security of energy supplies--concerns which have only sharpened against the backdrop of recent political and social unrest in the world’s top oil and gas producing regions. According to the International Energy Agency’s most recent World Energy Outlook report, global energy demand is set to grow by one third between 2010 and 2035. The report urged more investment in low-carbon technologies, warning that, “Without a bold change of policy direction, the world will lock itself into an insecure, inefficient and high-carbon energy system”.

About Willis

Willis Group Holdings plc is a leading global insurance broker. Through its subsidiaries, Willis develops and delivers professional insurance, reinsurance, and risk management, financial and human resource consulting and actuarial services to corporations, public entities and institutions around the world. Willis has more than 400 offices in nearly 120 countries, with a global team of approximately 17,000 employees serving clients in virtually every part of the world. Additional information on Willis may be found at www.willis.com.

About Narec Capital

Narec Capital is the UK’s renewable energy accelerator. The company is a uniquely positioned financial services company with a primary focus on reducing financial risk and providing capital in order to accelerate the deployment and reduce the cost per megawatt hour (MWh) of renewable energy technologies and projects. Narec Capital achieves this through its four pillars of operation specialist consultancy, risk mitigation, capital markets, incubation & commercialisation. The company is a joint venture between Narec (The National Renewable Energy Centre) and Ashberg Ltd (a fully regulated financial services entity).

About National Renewable Energy Centre (Narec)

Established in 2003, Narec is dedicated to advancing the development, demonstration and deployment of offshore renewable energy technologies - offshore renewable wind, wave and tidal energy generation. To date, it has invested over £150 million of UK government, private sector and European Union funding to create a unique portfolio of independent facilities in Blyth, Northumberland, England.


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