Macquarie Capital eyes talent in Asia as its renewables team expands

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Seeing the huge potential of Asia’s renewable energy sector, Macquarie Capital is taking on a bigger role in the development, delivery and operations of renewable projects. It is currently looking for talent from various backgrounds to join its fast-growing team.

Macquarie Capital (which is part of the global financial institution, Macquarie Group) has a longstanding commitment to renewable energy sectors and actively invests in them alongside its clients. With principal investing as its key focus, it established Macquarie Projects - an expanding business unit that facilitates the development, delivery and operations of renewables projects with experienced people from technical and commercial backgrounds.

Oliver Barbagallo, chief operating officer at Macquarie Projects, explains: “Asia is experiencing a number of market drivers around renewables. An increasing number of countries and jurisdictions are planning to increase renewables in their energy mix, with a supportive regulatory environment to help them meet emission targets stipulated in various climate change accords.”

However, taking projects through the development cycle remains challenging and capital can be scarce for early stage projects. While investors are aware of the opportunities, they tend to invest in projects that have already gone through the development cycle and into, or even past, the construction phase. Those at the initial phase often find difficulty in raising capital.

It is exactly this gap in the market that Macquarie Capital wants to fill. “We increasingly see ourselves as a developer rather than just a financier of projects,” says Barbagallo. Through a development capital model, Macquarie Capital provides funds to developers who have potential projects at an early stage, often pre-feasibility and always pre-construction.

Financing such early stage projects often requires a higher development and delivery risk tolerance as well as management capability. Macquarie Capital’s rich experience and global expertise in renewables therefore play a key role here, allowing it to capture the growth in Asia, adds Barbagallo.

Macquarie Capital is currently involved in solar projects in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, in addition to waste-to-energy initiatives in Korea, offshore wind in Taiwan and various other renewables opportunities across the region. Barbagallo is passionate about what he does and the positive impact of the projects. He points out that Korea, for example, has expressed its ambition to become a zero-waste society within the near term. “We are looking at opportunities where we can bring value to developers and help governments achieve their goals,” he says.

When Barbagallo took up his post at Macquarie Projects two years ago, there were only a small number of staff in the team. Thanks to the advancement of renewable energy in Asia, the business unit has expanded rapidly and is now recruiting talent in Japan, Korea and Taiwan.

In particular, they are looking for candidates with engineering or technical backgrounds, with deep industry and commercial experience in the renewables sector to undertake detailed feasibility studies, oversee technical project development and be involved in project delivery and operations. “Once we’re delivering our projects, we will engage experienced project managers who will act as the owners’ representative on the projects,” says Barbagallo.

Despite the financial nature of Macquarie Capital’s business, previous experience in the finance industry is not necessarily a requirement. Barbagallo himself, who worked for concessionaires and EPC contractors, is a good example. “I had never worked in a financial institution before I joined Macquarie Capital,” he says. “People don’t have to have a finance background. What we value most is a really strong commercial and technical background in the specific field that we are looking to develop projects.”

Barbagallo believes Macquarie Capital offers great career opportunities to people with the right skills. “Candidates can expect to be working in a fast-paced environment, as we strive to be a first-mover across markets. We are at the forefront of the technology and business model, so it is an exciting place to work from that aspect,” he says.

He adds that the company’s entrepreneurial setting will also allow employees who show initiative and wish to expand their role or find new opportunities to add further value. “We support various markets in Asia, so there are definitely opportunities to move around within our business and within the region. People who know us will know how dynamic it is in this space,” he says.

Image credit: Getty

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