ClimateInvest Podcast: UK Clean Energy and Biogas Financing (Craig Reeves)

This in the first in our series of podcasts featuring discussions with institutional investors and fund managers regarding investments and how they can assist in the battle against climate change and the achievement of net zero carbon emissions.

In our premier episode, former FT journalist Stuart Fieldhouse speaks with Craig Reeves, founder of alternative investment fund manager Prestige Funds, about private debt as an asset class and specifically about what Prestige is doing to help the UK to reduce carbon emissions and achieve its net zero target in 2050.

Prestige is an established private lending specialist with over a dozen years in the market and has developed considerable expertise in lending to the strategically important UK rural economy. It has created project finance capabilities for the funding of biogas facilities in the UK and for the processing of farm and food waste into biogas.

These anaerobic digestion plants (AD) have become an important complement to other sources of clean energy like wind and solar power, and unlike these can run 24-7.

On this podcast we discuss AD-derived energy, how it works in practice and how Prestige finances these plants and works with management teams to help them stay in business. As Reeves points out, while Prestige can finance the construction of plants, it is also important that they can continue to be profitable.

As part of this Prestige’s lending partner, Cambridge-based Privilege Finance, has developed an Operation and Maintenance arm called Eco Verde Energy (EVE) which delivers ongoing support for the plants Prestige finances.

This lending strategy does have genuine impact investment characteristics – the podcast looks at some examples of how the AD strategy is helping to both manage waste and has delivered green energy to over a million households in the UK.

We also look at how private debt can be a genuine contributor to a green / climate friendly investment strategy, and how in Prestige’s case this is paving the way to the launch of an Islamic finance variant of its rural lending funds.

Private debt has itself become a much more widely recognised asset class among investors in the last decade. Prestige and fund managers like it are playing an important role as alternative lenders to projects which are helping to make a difference to the planet.

Many commercial banks have actually withdrawn from lending to smaller businesses, including those involved in AD plant launches, since the financial crisis in 2008, but now specialists like Prestige and its lending partner Privilege are working with larger banks and fund managers to help them deploy capital into this area.

On the podcast we also talk about the future scope of AD technology globally, and how Prestige investors have asked about the prospects for financing plants in other regions of the globe. AD is a form of clean technology that is rapidly creating fans within the investment community.

Over time we will be featuring more podcasts on the site as well as most of the major podcast channels. Make sure you subscribe to it to receive the latest views on climate from investors and asset managers.

To hear the podcast please click here.