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The IJGlobal Podcast

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IJGlobal - Infrastructure Journal - is host of this podcast series where members of the editorial team delve into matters relating to the finance, procurement, delivery and operation of infrastructure and energy projects around the world. This coverage ranges from greenfield project / corporate finance through to M&A activity in this space, and infra fund activity... all of it in the infrastructure and energy world. You can find IJGlobal at www.IJGlobal.com - and it is an established provider of news and market intelligence in this sector, boasting 2 extensive databases tracking international developments.
30 Episodes
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The almost right word

The almost right word

2022-01-1741:20

Infrafintech – Infrastructure finance reimagined is an innovative financial journalism podcast. It’s a serial podcast, meaning each episode builds from the last.Most podcasts about infrastructure finance and finance, in general, are episodic. Podcasters interview a personality or a panel covers a topic for a given episode. They have a conversation and the audience is like a fly on the wall, gaining insights into how those ideas and trends might apply to their own work.So why is IJGlobal covering infrafintech? Our primary focus is covering infrastructure finance at the project level, perhaps uncovering the debt pricing on an 18-year non-recourse loan for a Taiwan offshore wind farm. Or maybe disclosing the short-listed bidders on an M&A transaction concerning the equity interest of a road project company in India.This first podcast season doesn't share any project-level details nor does it offer particular insights for sector specialists. Rather, it tells a story about an industry-wide issue – the nexus between infrastructure, finance, and technology.The word infrafintech, which we coined in a feature in 2021, only appears on the IJGlobal website 4 times. Out of nearly 150,000 news articles and features, infrafintech really doesn’t appear on anyone’s radar.Talking about the why not to cover infrafintech reveals exactly why we should cover it on our first podcast season ... because it’s not on anyone’s radar.Even well-known business analytics platforms and global fintech databases don’t categorise infrafintech within the fintech industry. The market is undoubtedly small. But that’s today. What about tomorrow? ... What about developing a future worth creating?Infrafintech – Infrastructure finance reimagined puts a stark question to the infrastructure finance industry ... Why are we practically the last area of financial services to adopt fintech solutions? Fintech has significantly enabled and disrupted nearly all aspects of financial services. Yet to date infrastructure finance is the black sheep in the fintech family.Infrafintech may have its greatest impact in developing markets including those in Asia Pacific, where the need to increase technology investment, lower impact costs, and enhance policy measures is abundantly clear.This first season targets three audiences – daily users of infrafintech, infrafintech solution providers, and financial backers of infrafintech, whether in the venture capital or corporate venture communities. This triumvirate represents the demand, supply, and financing of the inchoate infrafintech industry. Episode 1 – The almost right word – focuses on unpacking infrastructure as an asset class and the contours of infrastructure finance. It is critical that our three audiences share a common foundation of understanding. The venture capital industry, in particular, has tended not to have infrastructure finance in its opportunity set.  That's why we examine what infrastructure is and how the private sector has taken an increasingly expansive view of the asset class. Entrepreneurs and financiers of infrafintech solutions will need to pick and choose where along the financial value chain to concentrate. Therefore, we also explore infrastructure finance and ways founders can bucket their infrafintech solutions.It’s easy to lose sight of what is at stake in the financing of large, complex infrastructure assets. We can become disconnected from the human element. In their pitches, founders of infrafintech solutions need to weave in what is at stake – the human element – to capture the imagination of the venture capital and corporate venture communities.In episode 2, we delve into the challenges facing infrastructure finance to lay the groundwork for what infrafintech startups may pr
In the first of a series of IJGlobal Infra Dig podcasts, nuclear power luminary Dr Tim Stone CBE sets the stall for a massive wave of investments in the UK and internationally as the tide of opinion turns in favour of base-load solutions.Tim – who was appointed chair of the UK's Nuclear Industry Association in October 2018 and has been chair of the Nuclear Risk Insurers for more than 6 years – is an internationally-renowned champion of nuclear energy as a primary solution to a low-carbon future and a well-known figure in the infrastructure finance community.In this podcast, hosted by IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville, Tim delves into the UK nuclear industry, identifying a massive requirement to build new capacity in the coming years before spotting trends across the international scene, comparing it with large-scale alternatives like offshore wind and the burgeoning hydrogen market.
Dr Tim Stone CBE joins IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville in the second in a series of 3 podcasts where he delves into the future of nuclear investment, primarily in the UK but also with an international focus.Tim – who was appointed chair of the UK's Nuclear Industry Association in October 2018 and has been chair of the Nuclear Risk Insurers for more than 6 years – is an internationally-renowned champion of nuclear energy as a primary solution to a low-carbon future and a well-known figure in the infrastructure finance community.In this podcast, Tim focuses on how the UK will finance a massive investment programme in the nuclear space which is poised – not without its issues – to deliver billions of pounds worth of investment over the coming years.
Ian Dixon – an infrastructure and energy specialist of more than 30 years’ standing – joins IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville on the Infra Dig podcast series to discuss all matters energy, and the global shift to renewables.Ian retired recently and is a well-known figure in the infrastructure financing community having worked in banking, at a monoline insurer, as an investment banker, as well as having had a stint at a credit rater.This latest podcast continues the theme of energy investment, delving into international renewable energy agendas, the ambition to hit Net Zero and whether it’s realistic to anticipate a world in the foreseeable future where all energy is derived from alternative sources.
For the final podcast in a series of 3, Dr Tim Stone CBE joins IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville to investigate the impact of the Ukraine invasion and energy security issues, before launching into the planned discussion on base-load technologies.There are few people in the market with as all-encompassing a view on nuclear and the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, given Tim’s role as chair of the Nuclear Risk Insurers. He is also chair of the UK's Nuclear Industry Association.In the podcast Tim says that: “The 4 nuclear sites that provide 50% of Ukraine’s power are still operating and they are currently… operating safely and sensibly.”The invasion of Ukraine, Tim says, has added another “bolt of lightning” to the question over energy security which now centres on the “Russian hegemony of gas and oil” which “cannot continue”.Tim says: “It has rattled cages all around the world in terms of thinking about energy security and sovereignty of energy and it has added more fire to the conversation over what should a sensible energy system in a country look like.”The conversation moves on to the deployment of Advanced Modular Reactors (AMR), role that is to be played by hydrogen and – the holy grail for nuclear – fusion.
IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville pulls up a distant chair for a fireside chat with Sydney-based Global Infrastructure Hub chief executive Marie Lam-Frendo.In this latest Infra Dig podcast where we interview infrastructure and energy specialists from around the globe, the spotlight turns on the Australia-headquartered GI Hub to learn more about its plans to increase private sector involvement in the delivery of infra investments in lower-to-middle income markets.The G20-backed organisation is a not-for-profit organisation – formed by the G20 and majority financed by it – that “advances the delivery of sustainable, resilient, and inclusive infrastructure”.In this 30-minute podcast, Marie talks listeners through the Hub’s strategy and involvement in markets – as diverse as Indonesia, Mexico and Saudi Arabia – as it rolls out its mission to support transformative investment where it is needed most.
Discussion centres on risk – and indeed insurance – in this latest Infra Dig podcast as Warren Beardall pulls up a chair to the IJGlobal fireside to share views on a subject close to his heart.Staying true to the Infra Dig mission to host podcasts with infrastructure and energy experts, this one sees IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville share airspace with a PPP insurance specialist of considerable renown.Warren’s career started in the mid-90s and he has been active in PPP insurance since the turn of the millennium at JLT and then Aon, until leaving in 2018 when he returned to studies and re-branded as a consultant.Today’s discussion ranges from the fundamental product of insurance and the role it plays in the procurement of PPP projects through to projects that go wrong – Edinburgh Sick Kids and Cornwall Schools, being 2 examples – and what we can learn from these projects.
Chris Colbert – Portland, Oregon-based chief strategy officer and CFO at NuScale Power – joins IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville for today’s podcast to talk about nuclear energy.The latest in the Infra Dig podcast series, sees discussion centre on small modular reactors – SMRs – a subject that NuScale Power is more than qualified to discuss given it will have its first unit operational before the end of this decade… and if you want one sooner, Chris reckons he could line you up with one before then!As things stand, the first NuScale SMR power plant will be in Idaho Falls as a front-runner for the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP), an initiative spearheaded by the public power consortium Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS). The NuScale Power Module will start generating power in Utah in 2029, with the remaining modules coming online for full plant operation by 2030.This is an exciting company at the forefront of a revolution in baseload, low-carbon energy generation and Chris has a lot to say on the matter…
This week’s Infra Dig podcast sees IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville welcome back regular guest Dr Tim Stone CBE to talk about last week’s announcement by the UK government that nuclear is receiving a shot in the arm.Before delving into the UK’s ambition to deliver 24GW of new nuclear energy by 2050, Tim gives a brief update on the 4 Ukrainian nuclear power plants and then it’s all about British nuclear and cross-party support to deliver an ambitious programme.Tim – who currently serves as chair of both the Nuclear Risk Insurers and the UK's Nuclear Industry Association – talks candidly about the challenges being faced and the massive investment programme that finally looks to have the support that will catapult it off the drawing board.
Interconnectors are shooting up the news agenda as markets increasingly seek to achieve energy security and today’s Infra Dig podcast turns the focus on a sector where understanding needs to ramp up significantly.In a new style of podcast – presented by IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville – the mission is to explain “how it works”… and to that end we introduce Niklas Persson, managing director of the Hitachi Energy unit grid integration business, who has deep history in the interconnector space.This style of podcast – explaining how things work before looking at the wider market – is driven by an established belief that many people who lend to projects or acquire assets often have paper-thin understanding of how the underlying asset actually works.To this end, Niklas runs through his sector, explaining what interconnectors are and how they work, before moving on to HVDC and the key role it plays in transmitting energy over long distances. Conversation then moves on to the wider market, briefly discussing some projects that Hitachi Energy is delivering.
The Infra Dig podcast this week sees Gridserve chief executive Toddington Harper tell all about electric vehicle charging, his company plans while also giving his views on the wider market.IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville sits down to chew the electrons with Toddington who runs the UK’s most innovative EV charging company which has already established its Electric Forecourts in Braintree (Essex) and Norwich (Norfolk).In a longer-than-normal (about 45 minutes) podcast, Toddington speaks frankly about his own plans for the UK and partnering in other markets and gives a thorough run-through of a fascinating infrastructure sub sector.
This week’s Infra Dig podcast sees IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville sits down with Fiona Reilly, managing director of FiRe Energy, to discuss all things energy.Fiona is an established player in the energy sector and has a CV that includes a long spell as Norton Rose Fulbright head of nuclear services, followed by serving as PwC global lead for nuclear capital projects and infrastructure. More recently, she set up her own company – FiRe Energy Ltd – and works a heck of a lot with the UK government… among many other things.In this podcast, Fiona shares her wisdom on the UK nuclear scene as well as delving into £16 billion Xlinks project between Morocco and the UK.
The latest in the Infra Dig podcast series sees IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville discuss the intricacies of Project Finance with Agnes Mazurek who has a wealth of experience of lending to and advising on infrastructure and energy transactions around the globe.In a longer than normal podcast – at around 45 minutes – Agnes delves into the finance model to give a masterclass on how project finance transactions are put together.This podcast sees Infra Dig return to one of its stated missions: to explain how things in the Infrastructure and Energy world actually work, interviewing established professionals who can explain… without leaning too heavily on jargon to allow for the proliferation of understanding of this growing asset class.Far-ranging discussion runs through the procurement process, bidding, creation of Special Purpose Vehicles, the role of equity on project finance deals, and arranging debt, leading on to operations.
The latest Infra Dig podcast seen the focus turn on Xlinks – a fascinating renewable energy development in Morocco that will transmit electricity through an HVDC link to the UK.Simon Morrish, founder and chief executive of Xlinks, talks to IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville about his company’s plans for a truly ambitious project that reaches a landmark stage this month.He runs the through Xlink’s strategy for solar plants and wind farms in southern Morocco (with associated battery energy storage systems) before discussing XLCC – the company that will be creating the 15,200km of HVDC cable in the UK. And then there is the cable-laying ship which will be fuelled by hydrogen to maintain green credentials throughout and will be the biggest such vessel in the world.Then discussion moves on to plans to project finance the £18 billion transaction… and so much more.
Dublin Metro North – which has been wheeled out again under a new guise, Metrolink – is back in the news as the government pushes for the €3 billion mass-transit PPP to be delivered as a priority project.IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville talks to Mike Flynn of Michael Flynn Associates about Ireland’s ambitions to – finally – deliver the metro system it has long aspired to.Mike, who has been described as an “itinerant builder of railways” and led one of the teams on the first procurement process, speaks openly about the challenging project, his experience in the last process and its return at Metrolink.He swiftly refutes claims that it is a “monumental stinker of a project” defending the Metrolink as an essential piece of infrastructure that Dublin sorely needs… which is confirmed by its having made it back to the table.This week’s podcast focuses primarily on Dublin’s mass-transit solution, but also takes a broader look at light rail projects, with Mike giving an expert view having worked on projects across Continental Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific, Australia, as well as North and South America.Mike has also been involved in almost all of the UK’s tramways and metros in some way shape or form over the years… and he even went through the baptism of fire that was Edinburgh Tram.
This latest podcast turns the focus on battery energy storage systems (BESS) and microgrids as Infra Dig continues its mission to foster greater understanding of the infrastructure and energy asset class.IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville is joined by Maxine Ghavi, senior vice president and head of the grid edge solutions business at Hitachi Energy, who has some 30 years’ experience in the sector.Maxine has held a number of senior roles around Hitachi Energy – and ABB prior to that – and her specialist knowledge spans the breath of the power industry… including grid edge technologies, microgrids, storage, renewable energy in general, software and semiconductors.This podcast falls into the category of How It Works and is designed to increase understanding across the industry as she delves into just what “grid edge” means and how that sits alongside battery storage and microgrids.
If there’s a UK transport project from yesteryear that continues to set teeth on edge, it has to be Edinburgh Tram. The only solace IJGlobal readers take from it is… that it wasn’t a PPP.In this week’s Infra Dig podcast, IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville talks to return guest Mike Flynn of Michael Flynn Associates about this disastrous, directly-procured light rail project.Mike – known widely as an itinerant builder of railways – delves into his knowledge of the Scottish capital’s plans to build a tram system and looks at what went wrong.Some 45 minutes later and there’s a lot more to say… and Mike never even touched on the inquiry that has been running since 2008, racking up a cost (so far) of £12.5 million, with no end in sight.To put that into context, the Iraq Inquiry was announced in 2009 and published in 2016.This podcast gives a railway-builder’s view of a disaster project that brought the centre of Edinburgh to a grinding halt for years, set the public side to war with the private, but now provides a valued mass transit solution… with plans afoot for an extension.
IJGlobal is fascinated by all forms of financing in the renewable energy space and today’s podcast reflects this as it delves into an area that falls outside our editorial radar… but is really very interesting.Angus Leslie Melville – editorial director of IJGlobal (Infrastructure Journal) – sits down for a fireside chat with Carlos Vitoria, investment manager and early investor at Spanish crowdfunding platform Fundeen, to hear all about this European endeavour.In a far-ranging discussion, Carlos runs through the service Fundeen is providing and how it is giving people the opportunity to invest in renewable energy while also taking on projects that may otherwise struggle to attract equity and debt.Carlos talks at length about a development that he believes to be the smallest project finance transaction of all time as Fundeen leads the field with an innovative solution for developers and investors that brings Net Zero one (albeit small) step closer to being achieved.
As submissions pour in for IJGlobal ESG Awards 2022, Infra Dig turns its focus on a winner from last year’s inaugural event when we celebrated organisations, transactions and individuals that truly turned the dial on the environmental, social and governance front in infrastructure and energy.IJGlobal editorial director Angus Leslie Melville speaks to Nicholas Beatty, founding director of Zenobē Energy Limited, about their success as winner of the ESG Infrastructure Deal of the Year 2021.Zenobē Energy won the award for Project Blaise – a landmark £150 million equity raise from Infracapital to accelerate investment into battery storage and bus fleet electrification in the UK and international markets where it operates.Conversation evolves beyond rank self promotion for the IJGlobal ESG Awards and turns to how Zenobē is evolving its business as it builds a presence – beyond its home market of the UK – in Benelux, Australia and New Zealand.
ESG and technology in infrastructure and energy are the primary focus of this week’s Infra Dig podcast as the focus turns to Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners – winner of the tech trophy in last year’s inaugural IJGlobal ESG Awards.Angus Leslie Melville – editorial director of IJGlobal, Infrastructure Journal – talks to Anne Foster, global head of ESG and senior director of investments at Quinbrook about the deployment of technology across their platforms and how it improves the fund manager’s standing.Without so much as a flicker of shame, IJGlobal bangs the drum for the second time to clarion the ESG Awards 2022 (submissions portal closes 17 August) as Anne is given a platform to run through the reasons her firm won the award last year.Anne, of course, is a well-known figure in ESG circles and last year won the IJGlobal ESG Outstanding Contribution Award having greatly impressed the independent panel of judges.In a far-ranging podcast – running time around 45 minutes – Anne takes the listener through how Quinbrook has deployed a range of technologies from blockchain through to artificial intelligence in a bid to improve the fund manager’s ESG credentials and achieve efficiencies.
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