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Wind power and the emergence of the green institutional investor

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Nanna K L Kaalund.

By 2016 wind power was meeting 10.4% of the total energy demand of European Union households. Twenty-six years before mainly Denmark had a few turbines erected. This expansion towards a low carbon energy mix came at a financial cost – so, who paid for it? Whilst governments and development banks took on a lot of the risk, the private sector also had a key role to play.

This seminar explores how project developers recycled capital through the creation of a secondary market in the 2010s. Through an analysis of an original dataset of wind power asset transactions I argue that this market facilitated the emergence of the green institutional investor. Even though they became enablers of a low carbon future, at its origin they were characterised by a tension between the expectation to follow portfolio theory and their own mission statement to facilitate the energy transition. This seminar will discuss how this continuous strain was displayed in Europe through the analysis of annual reports, marketing narratives, industry papers and press interviews. This new type of investor juggled values from the world of financial return and their social commitment to decarbonising the economy.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars series.

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