Francesco Starace answers your questions

Francesco StaraceIn this week’s readers’ Q&A session, Francesco Starace, chief executive of Enel Green Power, answers your questions.

Less than a year after the company’s troubled flotation, Francesco answers your questions on the effect of the Japanese nuclear crisis on renewables, EGP’s management structures and changes to European solar subsidies.

Next week, Keith Parker, chief executive of the UK Nuclear Industry Association, will be in the hotseat. Send all your nuclear-crisis related questions to energy.source@ft.com by the end of Sunday, March 27th.

But for now, over to Francesco:

Effects of the Japan nuclear crisis

What do you think the impact will be from the nuclear crisis in Japan on the renewables industry?
Adriano Romano,
consultancy manager, Comuniquee

Japan nuclear explosionIt is not hard to predict that the present situation – at least in the short term – will lead to additional demand for both traditional thermal and renewable power production. As far as renewables are concerned, the recently announced stress tests on nuclear power stations are not expected to cause a significant impact on the “green” industry in the short term, as the sector is already growing steadily and rapidly. To assess the medium-long term impact, we will have to wait at least a year until we can see the outcome of the plant audits, their effect on the policy makers as well their impact on public opinion.

EGP’s investors

Have you managed to attract more institutional investors since flotation? Why were some reluctant to invest at the time of the IPO?
Sylvia Pfeifer, energy editor, FT

Yes, we have steadily been doing so. At the time of the IPO many investors were concerned about the wide fluctuations in the equity values of other renewable players.

Nowadays the market has recognised the uniqueness of Enel Green Power, in that it is less exposed to incentives and subsidies and is fully diversified by technology and geography versus its peers. It is present in 16 countries with a well-balanced generation mix comprising hydro, geothermal, wind and solar power, and institutional investors are increasingly interested in the new paradigm of renewable energy that Enel Green Power represents.

EGP’s management

Enel Green Power’s top management is primarily Italian and male. Seeing that the company has such a strong international profile and an extremely diverse customer profile, is it really possible for a homogenous management team to lead this company into success?
Adriano Romano, consultancy manager, Comuniquee

A wide mix of genders and nationalities does not in itself guarantee effective management. Leadership skills, a strong professional background and the capability to work as a team are the essentials to do the job.

In any case, EGP’s top management is actually quite international – it includes a German, two Spaniards and two women, all selected on the basis of their skills, expertise and team work attitude not their gender or nationality. Several of the Italian members of the team have had or are undertaking work experience abroad in different organisations. I consider the present management to be a very strong company asset.

Solar subsidies

How worried are you about changes to solar subsidies across Europe? What message does this send from governments?
Kiran Stacey

Solar panelsWe are not at all worried. In 2010 the share of EGP revenues depending on incentives was only 22 per cent, but we think that the process of constant revision of subsidies, taking into account technological improvements and cost reductions, is a sign of the soundness and sustainability of this business in the long run.

Governments are paying the right attention to the dynamics of each industry – for example the solar photovoltaic industry which is getting more competitive year after year, and we are very active in the entire value chain of this technology.

 

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