The respected and well-known founder of Green Giraffe, Jérôme Guillet, has now invested in airborne wind energy via a stake in Kitemill. For several years he has been recognised among the “most influential people” in the wind industry. He has recently been invited to join the board of Kitemill and will help with the continuing funding efforts of the company.
Jérôme Guillet became aware of Kitemill through Jaap-Jan Ferweda, with whom he worked when he was with Windvision. Jaap-Jan Ferweda is chairman of the board of Kitemill today.
- He was one of the first clients of Green Giraffe when we founded it in 2010 and we stayed in touch. He invited me to join Kitemill to provide advice on financing matters and subsequently to join the board, says Jérôme Guillet.
- The technology works, with the KM1 prototype extensively tested, flying and generating electricity. At that point it becomes a matter of convincing investors to take this one step further towards full scale development and commercial projects- and that's part of the job I've been asked to do, so to some degree my investment is also a bet on my skills, to the extent they can support what the full Kitemill team has already achieved, says Jérôme Guillet.
Long track record
He has a long track record of bringing complex transactions to financial close across different markets and circumstances. He is a founder of Green Giraffe, a pure player renewable energy financial advisory firm and was Managing Director of the company from 2010 to 2021. Over the period he managed the growth of Green Giraffe from ten people in two offices to 120 people in eight offices across four continents while supervising multiple transactions and assignments in the renewable energy sector.
As a pioneer in the financing of offshore wind projects he has unrivalled knowledge of that sector, its economics, players and risks. He has just recently written a full report on that subject (link) for, World Forum Offshore Wind (WFO).
Among the “most influential people” in the wind industry
For the past ten years, he has consistently been recognised amongst the "most influential people in the wind industry" by Wind Power Monthly and A Word About Wind (most recent ranking : #18 in March 2021, and the first person not from a large corporation being recognized as such)
Before creating Green Giraffe, Guillet headed the Energy team in Dexia’s Project Finance department. He was responsible for non-recourse debt finance activities in the oil and gas, power and renewable energy sectors. Prior to joining Dexia in 2002, Jérôme worked for 6 years in the oil and gas project finance team of Crédit Lyonnais where he was involved in structuring, arranging and syndicating large transactions in Russia and the Caspian Sea area.
Writes about energy policy and politics
In parallel to his work, Jérôme has a long history of writing about energy policy and politics, with articles published in the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, and various academic journals, as well as multiple online blogs. His most recent articles can be found on jeromeaparis.substack.com. Jérôme graduated from the Ecole Polytechnique Paris Tech and holds a Ph.D.in economics from the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris
A good chance to develop a viable product
- Why have you invested in Kitemill?
After several months following the company, learning about ongoing developments and the testing campaign, and reading the financial and technical information available, it seems to me that the company stands a good chance to develop a viable product. As mentioned, the team is outstanding, the technology works, and at that point it becomes a matter of convincing investors to take this one step further towards full scale development - and that's a process I can contribute within.
It's smart to bet at different things
- What do you think about Kitemill's future?
It's futile to try to predict what's going to happen in the energy sector more than a few years out, but the trends towards decarbonation are irreversible. Within that, there is room for a lot of different technologies, and it's smart to bet that many different things will actually happen. In that context, I don't know if airborne power will become a significant part of overall electricity generation, or if it will remain a niche product, but either way, I believe that Kitemill will be part of that and will be a profitable company.
Thomas Hårklau, founder and CEO of Kitemill is happy for the addition to the Kitemill board of directors and says Jèrôme Guillet’s entry into airborne wind energy is one of many recent proofs that the sector is gaining traction and improving the chances of making a truly great impact on global energy transition. “Jerome was a part of making offshore wind energy bankable when that sector was in its infancy and dependent on large public contributions in terms of subsidies and feed in tariffs. Airborne wind energy is approaching the same phase and will need the same industry development in the intersect between public and private funding before we can step up and deliver the impact our technology promises.”