Helping customers to generate a return on green investment
Entelios is launching a new fund that is unique in the Swedish market.
According to Entelios and Christian Bengtsson, business development manager in the Nordics, it’s not too late to reach our climate change goals, but we really need to floor the climate-friendly accelerator. As there’s no time to lose, the company has launched a sustainability fund – the only one of its kind in the Swedish market.
A new age
Ten years ago, the extent to which our customers were interested in sustainability and the environment varied, but two or three years ago there was a clear shift.
“That’s when people started coming to us with specific sustainability goals and asking us what we could offer. This led to a process of discussion and dialogue with our customers, which made it clear that they wanted to do more than just buy emission allowances: they wanted to make a real difference”, says Christian Bengtsson.
Meanwhile, the cross-party agreement on energy in Sweden set a goal of moving to an electric power system based entirely on renewable energy by 2040. Seeing both the political desire for all energy to be renewable and growing customer demand, Entelios identified an unsatisfied demand and was inspired to set up a new fund.
“Our customers wanted clearer goals, as well as a return on their investment. Something specific. That is what our concept aims to deliver”, says Christian.
The fund does that by allowing customers to invest in a specific aspect of renewable energy, offering them the choice between innovation and research projects, direct investment in developing renewable energy and investments to reduce the global climate footprint.
Innovation and research projects
Entelios’ customers expressed a desire to support research and development, which was an important aspect of the Swedish agreement on energy. The fund has therefore signed an agreement with Mälardalen University in Sweden, which has a research area specialising in renewable energy.
“Our customers wanted an insight into the world of research, and Mälardalen is working on many exciting research projects. Thanks to this agreement, our customers can help researchers to make progress, in return for new insight and knowledge”, says Christian.
The funding provided can go towards general research, but our customers can also choose up to five specific fields, including something that may be particularly relevant to them.
“Take the example of a hospital. They have diesel generators that are bad for the local environment as well as the wider environment. Many hospitals want to find alternatives to them, so they may wish to invest in battery research”, he says.
Depending on the size of the investment, Entelios can also hold events where customers will learn more about the research projects and have the chance to choose where they want to invest their money. The aim is to create a forum where customers can meet each other to discuss their needs and the opportunities available to them.
One of the research areas that customers can support is flow batteries. Mälardalen University has one of the few research projects in Sweden focusing on flow batteries, which are a type of electrochemical cell where the electrolyte contains the energy. Energy is pumped into the electrolyte, which is then replaced, and the energy can be stored somewhere else. When you need the energy, the electrolyte is pumped back in. The liquid can also be recycled.
“There is a lot of interest in this technology in the transport sector in general, and particularly for battery-powered trains. There is also great potential to implement it in cars in the future”, says Christian.
Developing renewable energy projects
For customers who want something even more tangible, it is possible to invest directly in renewable energy projects. Specifically, a solar park is already being built in 2019.
“Many companies want to invest in solar power, but they aren’t able to install or operate solar panels themselves. Now we can install and operate them on behalf of the company, and they get an ownership interest in the project”, he says
The customers fund the construction of the solar park, and in return they get an ownership interest that is proportionate to their investment. Entelios is therefore not the registered owner – the customers are – so they get a direct return on their investment.
“A large proportion of our current customer base is in Stockholm, which is why we are starting there. On an 11-hectare site just outside the city. Our customers can choose how big a proportion they want of the project, and they can either get a return on their investment through their own electricity bills or by selling on their share.
“Over the longer term, the solar park will provide lots of energy, but the aim isn’t necessarily to cover all of the company’s consumption. It may get up to ten percent from solar energy, which is the minimum we need to reach the goal of 100 percent renewable power generation by 2040.
“The longer-term goal is more solar parks, wind farms and hydroelectric power stations – and not just in Sweden.”
Reducing the global climate footprint
A third possibility is to invest in sustainable development projects in developing countries. One of the projects in which Entelios is already involved is in Kenya.
“In Kenya there are still towns without any power supply, so people make food, for instance, on open-fire stoves. Whether outdoors or indoors, in shacks or in houses. In general, it is women who prepare the food, and they can spend hours inhaling dangerous gases produced by the fuel, with potentially catastrophic health impacts”, says Christian.
Entelios is therefore participating in a project to make efficient stoves to replace the old-style ones.
“This reduces local carbon dioxide emissions, as well as freeing up lots of the women’s time, which benefits their communities.”
Another longer-term option is to invest in developing renewable energy resources in countries like China and India.
“They’re not necessarily developing countries, and you could say that they should sort this out themselves. But time is of the essence. We can therefore take on a global responsibility and reduce their dependence on coal power, for example.”
Customers are free to choose what proportion of their funds they want to invest in the various parts of the sustainability fund. They can split their investment between different projects or invest everything in just one of them.
“What is unique with this fund is that customers can choose where they want to invest their money, which puts them in the driving seat.
There is a strong desire out there to do what is needed, and it is our job to provide the opportunities for companies to follow through on that. Many of them are starting to take real responsibility, and if that continues it is by no means too late”, says Christian.