Windpower Top 30 - the money people

WORLDWIDE: It is that time of year again when Windpower Monthly selects and ranks the most influential people in the wind power industry.

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Last week, Windpower Monthly offered the chance to vote on the most powerful political actors, and previously covered the people heading turbine manufacturers.

This week it is the turn of those who wield financial power, without whom wind projects would be little more than fantasies in the minds of engineers.

Vote here for your choice of who should make our shortlist.

Shaun Kingsbury - CEO, Green Investment Bank

The UK's Green Investment Bank was the first of its kind and has made a number of major investments in wind. It has had a large impact in the UK offshore market, where it has invested £620 million (EUR 772 million) in five projects. Under Kingsbury's leadership since 2012 the bank has been seen to step in to shore up investor confidence in the face of a number of major offshore project cancellations.

Rick Needham – Director of energy and sustainability, Google

Needham has been leading Google's headlong charge into renewable energy since 2008. To date, Google has invested more than $1 billion in 16 renewable energy developments, including seven wind projects. Including power from PPAs, 34% of its power comes from renewables, while it has a target of 100% at an unspecified date.

Niels Jongste and Jérôme Guillet - Managing directors, Green Giraffe Bankers

Under Jérôme Guillet and Niels Jongste, Green Giraffe Bankers has been involved in a number of major onshore and offshore projects. They are included in this year's list due to the company's role as adviser for the financing of the 600MW Gemini project. It is the world's largest offshore wind financing, with EUR 2.8 billion secured. It also stands out as the largest wind farm financed on a non-recourse basis – a method seen as likely to play more of a role in the future.

Guilherme Narciso de Lacerda – Director for environment, BNDES

De Lacerda is the man behind the world's biggest local-sourcing operation. Brazil's national development bank holds the power to grant access to one of the fastest growing markets through approving manufacturers under stringent local-sourcing rules. As such it has fuelled the growth of a significant manufacturing base in the country. It also holds the purse strings, and has provided billions of dollars of financing for wind projects across Brazil.

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber – Chairman, Masdar

Abu Dhabi-based Masdar has the power and wealth of the emirate's royal family behind it — with al Jaber also a minister of state. As well as using its abundant funds to finance projects in the Middle East — including the wholly-renewable-powered city of Masdar — it has extended its reach to Europe. The company has invested directly in the world's largest offshore wind project, the London Array, while its capital funds hold assets of around $540 million.

Michihiko Ota – COO, Marubeni

Marubeni's influence on the wind industry is wide ranging. Last year it bought a 25% stake in Irish developer Mainstream for EUR 100 million. The cash is seen as key to Mainstream's push into a number of emerging markets such as Chile and South Africa. It has also invested directly in wind projects, buying a 50% stake in Dong Energy's Gunfleet Sands offshore project. As well as this, it is leading the way with floating turbines, helping to develop a 7MW floating demonstrator in Fukushima.

Andreas Ufer - Managing director, KfW

German development bank KfW has long been a leader in investing in renewable energy projects. In the first half of the year, it increase renewable investment by 4.5% to EUR 2.3 billion, largely in European onshore wind. But the bank's influence extends beyond Europe. In July, it signed an agreement to make a $335 million loan to its Brazilian counterpart, BNDES, for the financing of wind projects. While newly promoted as managing director, Ufer was previously global head of power, renewables and water.

Chen Yuan - Chairman, China Development Bank

The China Development Bank helps Chinese companies to extend their reach beyond their home market by funding projects all over world. This helps Chinese players get into new markets with 0% rates. Last year, Ming Yang signed a $3 billion, 2.5GW deal with Indian independent power company Reliance Power to develop projects across ten Indian states. This was only possible with the financial backing of Chen Yuan's bank. In 2013, the lender invested $26 billion in clean energy.

Werner Hoyer - President, European Investment Bank

The European Investment Bank has for a long time been central to the financing of major wind projects. But under Hoyer's leadersip, the bank announced last year that it will no longer invest in certain fossil fuels as it shifts funds to renewable developments. The bank was already the world's largest lender for renewable projects and has a commitment to spend 25% of its cash on projects that support climate action.

David Jones - Head of renewables, Allianz Capital Partners

The investment arm of the German insurer Allianz pumped EUR 400 million into wind projects last year, and is set to top that in 2014. All of the company's 50 renewable energy projects to date are in Europe  — in Germany, Italy, France and, most recently, Sweden. It has spent more than EUR 1.7 billion on projects with a capacity of more than 1GW. But a change in direction under Jones' stewardship could come in the form of a possible move into offshore wind, which he has said the company has already come close to doing.

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