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The Finance Catalyst links renewable energy projects to finance opportunities and vice versa, targeting small- and medium-scale renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. It provides advisory support on project development, -structuring and accessing finance through a team of dedicated experts with extensive experience in renewable energy project development and finance in Africa.

Many of these projects are challenging for financiers due to the relatively small ticket size, and due to their limited experience with these technologies and new business models. Project developers may lack the experience, networks or time to identify appropriate sources of finance, resulting in high transaction costs and few projects reaching financial close.

The team assists private sector driven RE projects in the on-grid as well as the off-grid space. Whether corporate embedded RE production projects or grid-connected independent power producers (IPPs), mini-grids, solar home system businesses, or (decentralised) energy services companies (ESCOs and DESCOs), projects with strong underlying fundamentals can be supported to access further support or to reach financial close. The support is technology neutral within the range of RE solutions. The team has dealt with wind, solar, hybrid, hydro, biomass and biogas projects in a variety of business models.

The finance catalyst services are fully complementary to other support and financing instruments in so far as they assist market participants in accessing them, and help these instruments towards stronger traction and results.

Paul van Aalst operates out of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Paul leads the Finance Catalyst team. He has over 20 years experience investing in clean energy in emerging markets. He has been engaged in investing seed capital and growth capital to entrepreneurs, including sectors like solar, hydro and biomass and has developed and realised several investment funds in the sector. As a consultant his themes are financing of innovative businesses in emerging markets.

Michael Feldner is based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He has accumulated over 20 years experience in VC and infrastructure project finance and focusses his work on assisting RE developers with reaching financial closure. Michael has been instrumental in the financial closure of the first commercially viable (4.6MW) biogas plant in South Africa. In the past two years, he has acted for the French Development Agency (AFD) assisting in the disbursement of €120m in long-term loans to RE and EE projects (SUNREF I) via three South African banks. Michael has conducted training in RE project finance in both Uganda and Tanzania for bankers and developers. He has also advised a multitude of RE projects in Southern Africa through his work with the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN). Michael holds an MBA in Finance from Erasmus University in The Netherlands.

Maurice Pigaht is a consultant on renewable energy (RE), business development and development aid. He has over 12 years of technical and project management experience in solar PV, hydropower and biomass projects. He is a shareholder in two RE companies and has worked as an expert advisor and consultant to GIZ, KfW, the World Bank, BTC, the Government of Rwanda and other clients. The focus of his work is the development of private sector support programmes and public-private partnership frameworks. Recent country experience includes Madagascar, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Namibia, Mozambique, Afghanistan, Tanzania and South Africa. Maurice holds a Masters in Mechanical Engineering (MEng) from Imperial College, London and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from the Open University, UK.

Marc Buiting operates out of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is a seasoned financial expert with more than 26 years of worldwide investment and development banking experience, mostly in the energy sector . Trained and nurtured by ABN Amro, ING Barings and PriceWaterhousCoopers, Marc brings excellent execution skills which were awarded by ING and PwC with responsibility for best practice. As an advisor to EDF, he was involved in Africa’s first wind park in the 90’s. To bring renewable energy to emerging markets he entered the development banking world in 2003. He has been involved in most RE projects on the continent. On behalf of the Atkins-SE4ALL consortium he advised the European Commission in 2013 on ‘an equity instrument for the private market’ which resulted in ElectriFI, a scheme designed to deliver early convertible subordinated debt instruments alongside a technical assistance unit standardising and making bankable project proposals. He is a part-time expert with the RECP-FC.

Peter Storey is based in Helsinki, Finland. He is a seasoned financing professional, specialised in developing countries and transition economies with significant expertise in renewable energy as well as other infrastructure sectors. He has held senior positions with major European banks and project developers and has over 20 years experience of working on multi-disciplinary advisory and financing mandates and of structuring and developing projects. Peter is a Global Coordinator of the Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN). PFAN is a multilateral public-private partnership which connects Clean Energy projects with investment in developing countries.

Emiel Hanekamp is based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He has almost 20 years experience in the sustainability and renewable energy sector, specifically biomass and bioenergy. He has been working in the field of renewable energy in emerging and developing countries since 2004 and has advised and assisted many businesses. He has been involved in several renewable energy market and feasibility studies and supported international and local businesses getting access to funding and finance. Emiel has field experience in Cape Verde, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria and South Africa. He obtained two MSc degrees: one in environmental policy and management and one in physics, both at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Emiel is founder and shareholder of Partners for Innovation BV.

Thomas Dietz operates out of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is a consultant with 3 years experience in the field of sustainable use of resources and renewable energy. He has experience with market environment assessment and the analysis of private sector renewable energy business models in sub-Saharan Africa. He has field experience in Uganda, working on a World Bank assignment for sustainable cooking fuels and a UNDP funded project supporting lodges in North-East Uganda through implementing technologies to reduce their environmental footprint (energy, water and waste). Thomas has a Bachelor's Degree in Future Planet Studies (specialisation track International Relations) and an MSc Degree (with distinction) in Environment and Resource Management (specialisation track Renewable Energy).

Daniele Guidi operates out of Cortona, Italy. Daniele is an economist with a wealth of experience in sustainable energy and energy access, mostly focusing on market uptake and policy aspects, serving private sector as well as institutional clients. He acquired profound expertise in RE project investment feasibility analysis, business planning, due diligence, finance structuring and facilitation, technology transfer, export management, and M&E. He has worked on solar, biomass, biofuel, waste-to-energy, and energy efficiency projects. He advised on rural electrification planning and uses and linkages between sustainable agriculture and renewable energy. Daniele designed and supported rural energy development in 13 countries in Africa and has been collaborating with the PFAN network since its early days: scouting ventures, coaching clean tech entrepreneurs, inducting financiers and taking part in pipeline selection panels. He holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics & Policy, a Masters degree in Environmental Policy (Tufts University) and a BSc degree in Economics.

Mr Saidi Bukenya is an investment advisor with 10 years of experience in renewable energy project development, fund management and investment analysis. Prior to joining the team, Saidi has supported more than 200 MW of renewable energy development with 2 large renewable energy funds in Africa. He recently took up the role of Regional Coordinator for Eastern Africa at PPL Int / CTI PFAN facilitating  the renewable energy developers and  projects in the region get to financial close.

Ad Dankers, is a senior sustainable energy consultant specialized in small- and medium scale renewable energy projects, with an engineering and economics focus. In his 20 years of work in the region, he was engaged by e.g. European utility companies, World Bank and Power Africa. He has a wide experience in project preparation, capacity building and developing lending components of projects, all to accelerate renewable energy investments. Recently Mr. Dankers served as the executive director of Energy Access Partnership, a not-for-profit company that worked to increase energy access in Southern Africa, including the implementation of a rural electrification program (combined grid extension and solar home systems) that covered a service area of 10,000 people. Mr. Dankers is a Netherlands citizen, working out of Johannesburg, South Africa.

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