We are delighted to confirm a new appointment to the Turquoise team. With experience in project finance at RWE, Tom Wilson has joined us as an Associate.
Describe your career journey
I read Economics and Finance at Bristol University, graduating in 2020. My first role was at RWE in project finance. Following RWE, I worked on transactions in Special Situations credit. I joined Turquoise in October, and I’m excited about what this role holds.
What’s been your biggest business challenge?
Reaching financial close for the 1.4GW Sofia Offshore Windfarm. Lots of late nights and weekends worked during Covid-19 lockdowns made this challenging, but worthwhile.
What drives you?
Working in industries and on projects that have a tangible impact on the transition to clean energy.
What public figure do you most admire – and why?
Anthony Bourdain is a personal hero of mine. His book Kitchen Confidential sparked my passion for cooking, leading to a string of kitchen jobs alongside school.
What have been the most significant technological development of recent years?
Personally, I have been amazed by AI art generators such as Craiyon. At first, I thought it was a fun and interesting tool, but as I have read around the topic, I realised how important this step is. The outputs may not be good enough yet to replace graphic designers and artists, but perhaps a combination of human with AI can multiply creative output. Recent discussions have been around ‘prompt engineers’, a new role in which people develop and refine the inputs for AI.
What has been the most influential recent legislative change impacting your business?
Solvency II came into effect in the EU at the start of 2016. At a high level, it dictates how assets can be matched against future liabilities and corresponding capital requirements with the aim of ensuring the viability of insurers and pension funds (hence why it is known as ‘Basel for insurers’). However, the regulations have greatly limited investment into infrastructure, which is a naturally ideal asset class for insurers due to its long duration, index linkage, non-cyclicality etc. As a result, the current government is seeking to replace Solvency II with new, UK specific legislation. If carried out correctly, this can free up to £90bn for investment into social housing, infrastructure, and green energy.
How has the perception of climate technology investing evolved in your view in recent years? What do you envisage for the future of the sector?
The last few years saw a surge in ESG focus from the financial sector. As of late, with greenwashing allegations against major asset managers, the industry has faced difficulties. Subsequently, in the last 12 months we have seen a structural shake-out of the sophists from the more earnest investors. I believe with this change we will see more focused capital within the space, leading to funding for more robust businesses, recementing confidence and catalysing growth within the green and climate tech sector.
From an investment point of view, what do you see as the key challenges for emerging technologies? What is needed to overcome these challenges in the coming decades?
I believe that the wave of change will come from new entrants to the market rather than the current market participants. New technology will have to be developed by passionate, intelligent, and pragmatic teams to encourage market evolution. Fundamentally, these teams will require independence of action in their early stages that isn’t fostered in larger organisations. Through Turquoise and my role, I hope to use our skills to seek out these teams and provide vital fundraising and advisory as they scale. I hope the work we do will create change within or replace market participants with firms encouraging innovation.
From a global point of view, what impact (if any) do you think political change has had on the energy, environment and efficiency sectors? How do you think this will change?
In the last decade we have seen a growing social trend towards more environmentally conscious policies. My belief is politicians will have to follow in lockstep for fear of losing their share of the green vote to their opponents.
More recent developments such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine this has heightened our dependency on incumbent energy sources and need for energy sovereignty, channelling funding and subsidies towards new energy technologies and developments.