Close Brothers Energy Q&A with our managing director William Davies

Close Brothers Energy Q&A with our managing director William Davies
April 8, 2024 DWAS4ucDjX

Close Brothers Energy Q&A with our managing director William Davies

While many people have concerns about climate change, not many have the bravery or commitment to do something about it – but William Davies, Managing Director of Terra Firma Energy, is one of those people.

In this Q&A we find out more about what influenced his decision to change career, the aims of Terra Firma Energy, and much more…

Close Brothers’ Energy team and Terra Firma Energy have been working together for a number of years, including on funding for a ‘gas to grid’ Reserve Energy Project in North Wales.

Please introduce yourself and tell us how you made the transition from the banking sector to MD of Terra Firma Energy

I’m William Davies, and I’m delighted to share my journey with you. After spending over two decades in the banking sector, I felt a calling to contribute more directly to the pressing global challenge of climate change.

Recognising the urgency to save our planet before it’s too late, I made a conscious decision to transition into renewable energy development. My decision was driven by a dual vision:

  • Firstly, a commitment to combating climate change by harnessing the potential of renewable energy sources
  • Secondly, an understanding of the pragmatic necessity for transitional technologies in ensuring energy security during the transition period

Creating Terra Firma Energy allowed me to combine my financial expertise with my passion for sustainability. It provided me with a platform to drive impactful projects that not only contribute to reducing carbon emissions but also address the immediate needs of energy security.

In this role, I’ve been able to leverage my experience in banking to structure innovative financing solutions that support the development of renewable energy infrastructure while also recognising the importance of transitional technologies in maintaining grid stability.

Tell us about Terra Firma Energy and its history

Terra Firma Energy is a forward-thinking company dedicated to advancing sustainable energy solutions while addressing the pressing challenges of climate change. Founded in 2020, Terra Firma Energy has since established itself as a leader in renewable energy development, with a focus on Solar, Battery Storage, Wind and Gas.

Our approach is centred around innovation, collaboration, and a commitment to environmental stewardship. At Terra Firma Energy, we believe in the power of renewable energy to drive positive change on both a local and global scale.

Through strategic partnerships, cutting-edge technology, and a dedication to sustainability, we are proud to play a pivotal role in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy. In addition to our core focus on renewable energy, Terra Firma Energy also recognises the importance of transitional technologies in ensuring energy security and reliability during the transition period.

We are committed to exploring innovative solutions that balance the need for immediate energy access with our long-term vision of a cleaner, more sustainable future.

You’ve delivered some very interesting projects – can you tell us more about a few of these?

Our portfolio comprises a diverse range of projects that showcase our commitment to innovation in the energy sector. We own a network of flexible generation plants across the UK, providing on-demand power and balancing of renewable energy fluctuations.

Additionally, our ground-mounted solar farms, both grid-connected and private wire, harness solar energy to generate clean electricity while delivering economic benefits to local communities.

We’re also developing an onshore wind farm to use our abundant wind resources for further renewable energy production. Furthermore, we’re heavily involved in developing a novel green hydrogen production technology, aiming to revolutionise multiple industries.

Overall, our projects reflect our dedication to driving positive change towards a cleaner, more resilient energy future.

The UK’s energy sector has made great strides over the past few decades. What are your predictions for the coming 5 – 10 years?

Over the past few decades, the UK’s energy sector has indeed undergone significant transformation, marked by a transition towards cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy. Looking ahead to the next 5-10 years, I see five key predictions that are likely to shape the landscape of the UK’s energy sector:

  • Continued Growth of Renewable Energy: Renewable energy sources, including wind, solar, and hydroelectric, are expected to continue their rapid expansion. Advances in technology, coupled with favourable government policies and growing public awareness of climate change, will drive further investments in renewable energy projects. Offshore wind, in particular, is expected to play a significant role, with the UK already a global leader in this sector.
  • Energy Storage Solutions: As renewable energy sources like wind and solar become increasingly dominant, the need for effective energy storage solutions will become more pressing. Long duration battery storage technology, along with other innovative storage solutions such as pumped hydro and compressed air energy storage, will play a crucial role in balancing supply and demand, enhancing grid stability, and maximising the value of renewable energy assets.
  • Decentralisation and Grid Modernisation: The rise of distributed energy resources, including rooftop solar panels, small-scale wind turbines, and community energy projects, will contribute to the decentralisation of the energy grid. This trend towards a more decentralised energy system will necessitate investments in grid modernisation efforts, including smart grid technologies, advanced metring infrastructure, and digitalisation, to enable greater flexibility, efficiency, and resilience in the energy grid.
  • Hydrogen and Low-Carbon Technologies: Hydrogen is expected to emerge as a key player in the UK’s transition to a low-carbon economy. Hydrogen produced from renewable sources, known as green hydrogen, has the potential to decarbonise sectors such as industry, transportation, and heating. In addition to hydrogen, other low-carbon technologies such as carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) will play a crucial role in reducing emissions from hard-to-abate sectors.
  • Role of Transitional Technologies: While the focus is on expanding renewable energy sources, transitional technologies such as natural gas power plants with carbon capture and storage (CCS) and flexible gas peaker plants will continue to play a vital role in providing baseload power and ensuring grid stability during the transition period. These technologies will help bridge the gap between traditional fossil fuels and a fully renewable energy system, providing a reliable and flexible backup to intermittent renewable sources.

What role has Close Brothers’ Energy team played in your development?

The Close Brothers’ Energy team have provided tailored financial solutions and strategic guidance that has helped us accelerate the deployment of our energy projects. Their expertise and support have enabled us to mitigate risks and achieve our growth ambitions.

William Davies, Managing Director, Terra Firma Energy

What is it like working with them?

Working with the Close Brothers’ Energy team has been fantastic. Their professionalism, expertise, and commitment to understanding our business needs have made them invaluable partners in our journey. The team is responsive and reliable allowing for financial solutions that align with our strategic objectives.

Moreover, their dedication to building strong, long-term relationships has fostered a sense of trust and partnership that extends beyond financial transactions, and we value the partnership we’ve built with them.

Thank you William. Please leave us with one positive thought about anything of your choosing we can use as inspiration! 

Together, as leaders and as pioneers of the transition, let us continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible. Let us inspire each other with our creativity, ingenuity, and dedication to a sustainable future. And let us never forget that our work today will shape the world of tomorrow, leaving a legacy of progress whilst Building a Cleaner Tomorrow for future generations.

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