Regional Conference on Clean Energy Project Financing in MENA

  • Date: May 03, 2016
  • Location: Dusit Thani Hotel, Dubai

Renewable energy project financing is complex. Clean Energy Business Council in collaboration with National Bank of Abu Dhabi welcomes you to join us for this interactive conference to discuss sustainable clean energy project financing in MENA, and new ways of thinking about finance and capital. Leading global industry experts will shed light on project financing structures, latest financial innovations, share case studies and discuss the role of multilateral banks in supporting developers compared to local financiers.

This event provides a fantastic opportunity for developers, finance institutions and industry stakeholders to share ideas and to meet potential partners through this networking series.


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Associate Sponsor


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Event Organiser

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H.E. Dr. Nasser Saidi

Former Minister of Trade and Economy and former Minister of Industry, Lebanese Government, former Chief Economist Dubai International Finance Centre (DIFC) and Chairman, Clean Energy Business Council

Dr. Nasser H. Saidi is the Founder and President of Nasser Saidi & Associates and is Chairman of the regional Clean Energy Business Council. In 2012, he was named among the 50 most influential Arabs in the World by The Middle East magazine, for the fourth consecutive year.

Dr Saidi holds a number of directorship and board roles including Deputy Chairman of Eureeca Capital, a member of the IMF’s Regional Advisory Group for MENA, Co-Chair of the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) MENA Corporate Governance Working Group, and member of the Advisory Board of the OMFIF. Dr Saidi is the former Chief Economist of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) and is also the Founder and former Executive Director of the Hawkamah-Institute for Corporate Governance and The Mudara Institute of Directors.

Previous roles include the Minister of Economy and Trade and Minister of Industry of Lebanon between 1998 and 2000. Dr Saidi was the First Vice-Governor of the Central Bank of Lebanon for two successive mandates, and was a Member of the UN Committee for Development Policy (UNCDP) for two mandates over the period 2000-2006.

Prior to his public career, Dr Nasser served as a Professor of Economics at the Department of Economics in the University of Chicago, the Institut Universitaire de Hautes Etudes Internationales (Geneva, CH), and the Université de Genève.

Dr Saidi holds a Ph.D. and a M.A. in Economics from the University of Rochester in the USA, a M.Sc. from University College, London University and a B.A. from the American University of Beirut.

Photo - Wim Alen

Wim Alen

Senior Vice President Business Development Middle East, Turkey & Africa, ENGIE

Wim started his career with KMPG, one of the leading providers of audit, tax and advisory services worldwide. He joined the ENGIE Group in Belgium in 2001. He first served as Senior Internal Auditor for ENGIE Energy International, and later acted as Head of Internal Audit for the distribution activities of the Group’s Belgian Utility. In 2006, he took up the position of Senior Financial Advisor at ENGIE Headquarters. In January 2008, he was transferred to Dubai and appointed Senior Financial Advisor for the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey.

In January 2011, after the merger of International Power and ENGIE Energy International, Wim became Senior Vice President Acquisitions, Investments and Financial Advisory focusing on North Africa. In February 2013, he took up the position of Senior Vice President Business Development for the Middle East, Turkey and Africa region focusing on solar and geothermal technologies. In 2013, the scope of that region changed to South Asia, Middle East and Africa. Wim has close to 15 years of experience in the electricity, water and distribution industry. His experience includes internal audit, mergers & acquisitions, project finance, project management, and business development.

Photo - David Charlier

David Charlier

Partner, Ashurst

David Charlier is a partner in the energy, resources and infrastructure team of international law firm, Ashurst. He specialises in the development, financing and acquisition of infrastructure and energy assets and has over 14 years’ experience advising sponsors, lenders (including Islamic banks and export credit/multi-lateral agencies) and government institutions in the Middle East.  David is listed as a leading individual for banking & finance in the UAE (Legal 500 2014) and was featured as one of six leading lawyers advising on alternative energy projects in the Middle East (MEED, March 2011).

 Photo - JennyChase

Jenny Chase

Manager, Global Solar Insight Service, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Jenny Chase is the manager of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s global Solar Insight Service. She joined BNEF mid-2005 and launched the Solar Insight Service in early 2006, and now runs the team from Bloomberg’s Zurich office. She holds a BA in Physical Sciences and a MSci in Physics from the University of Cambridge, England.

Photo - David Dodson

David Hodson

Managing Director, Blue Pearl Management

CEO & Managing Director, BluePearl Management

Mr.Hodson has 38 years of professional experience in developing, financing and executing innovative energy infrastructure projects across various emerging and frontier markets. He has held a cross-section of senior positions with ExxonMobil, BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Lloyd’s Register and Standard Chartered Bank before starting BluePearl Management, a boutique advisory firm based in Dubai.

David has been involved in arranging sophisticated financings in MENA, Latin America, Asia and elsewhere since 1993 and resided in Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, London and Paris and Dubai bringing a global business perspective to his clients.

Mr.Hodson holds a BS in Civil Engineering and a MBA in Finance and Business Law from Drexel University in the USA. In addition, he is a Professional Engineer certified & registered in the State of California since 1982 as well as a longtime member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Photo - Stephane Le Gentile

Stephane Le Gentile

CEO, Etihad Energy Services Company (Etihad ESCO)

Stephane Le Gentil is CEO of Etihad Energy Services Company, a Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) venture. Etihad ESCO is the government organization set up to drive the existing buildings of Dubai to consume less energy. Prior to that, Stephane spent 7 years at Johnson Controls and in his last position was Head of the Europe & Africa Center of Excellence for Energy Solutions, the ESCO arm of Johnson Controls in Europe that he contributed to build. Stephane was also Chairman of the European Association of Energy Service Companies, leading the efforts to get ESCOs and Energy Performance Contracting recognized as an important tool for Europe to reach its Energy Efficiency objectives. Before that, Stephane held marketing, business development and general management roles at companies in the IT and Telecom sectors including NEC, Handspring, Gemalto and Schlumberger.

Photo - Aleksi Kuva_Nyblin_iso

Aleksi Lumijarvi

Programme Officer for Renewable Energy Private Sector Finance, IRENA

Aleksi Lumijärvi works as Programme Officer, Renewable Energy Finance, at the International Renewable Energy Agency. He is a clean energy sector financing and policy professional with almost 20 years of experience. He has vast experience in different types of renewable energy and energy efficiency investment projects and business models in Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia. As investor, fund manager and financial advisor he has participated in a number of project and corporate finance transactions including mergers & acquisitions, private equity, venture capital, project finance, other debt financing structures as well as leasing.

Photo - Steve Perry

Steven Perry

Global Head of Debt Markets & Syndications, First Gulf Bank

Steve Perry is the Global Head of Debt Markets and Syndication team at FGB managing a team of 18 loans and bond market professionals based in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Singapore. He is a market veteran having covered the Middle East for over 20 years both from a corporate and project finance capacity.

He joined the bank from SCB where he spent 9 ½ years in both London and the Middle East. He moved to the UAE in June 2008 and was initially appointed as Regional Head of Syndications, but latterly promoted to Regional Head of Capital Markets covering the loan and bond products where he was responsible for the Bank’s top clients including GRE’s, the Government and blue chip corporates.  Steve has over 25 years of International banking experience, mainly in the areas of structured finance, loan syndications and project finance. His previous banks were Union Bank of Switzerland, ABN AMRO Bank, Allied Irish Banks plc and ANZ.

Photo - Gus Schellekens

Gus Schellekens

Partner, Leader – ME Sustainability Team, EY

Gus is a Partner in EY’s MENA Clean Energy & Sustainability Services team. Building on a 25 year management consulting career that has been focused on developing and delivering large programmes of work with private and public sector organizations globally, Gus has a particular interest in supporting the development of sustainability, green growth and renewable energy initiatives by government and private sector organisations across North Africa and the Middle East. His key areas of expertise include the sustainability agenda for people, cities and infrastructure; the development of government policy to support the development of renewable energy projects; and  the set up and delivery of associated public and private sector business transformation programs.

Graeme Sims

Graeme Sims

Executive Director, Regulatory Services Bureau for Electricity and Water (RSB Dubai)

Graeme is the Executive Director of Dubai’s Electricity and Water Regulator, the RSB.  An economist by background, he has over twenty years’ experience of the electricity and water industries gained in the UK and UAE.     Graeme was Deputy Director General at the UK’s Office of Electricity Regulation where he was responsible for the electricity industry in Scotland.  From there he moved to Abu Dhabi to establish the emirate’s water and electricity regulatory body, acting as its first Director General.  On his return to the UK he joined United Utilities, a FTSE100 utility company, serving as its Regulation Director and sitting on the board of United Utilities’ water business.       Graeme is a graduate of Oxford University and began his career with the Boston Consulting Group.

Photo - Nathan Weatherstone

Nathan Weatherstone

Head of Sustainable Business, National Bank of Abu Dhabi

Nathan has been a lender and advisor in the project finance arena since the 1990s, with Bank of Tokyo‐Mitsubishi, PricewaterhouseCoopers and latterly with NBAD. He has over 22 years of corporate and investment banking experience in global blue chip organisations.

In 2015, Nathan was asked to form NBAD’s Sustainable Business practice to develop the bank’s response to the impacts of climate change. His team will develop the environmental framework through which NBAD will conduct its business, such as the adoption of the Equator Principles, and will bridge with the bank’s coverage and product execution teams to create execution capability in the field of renewables and other sustainable financing sectors that address the needs and interests of the bank’s core clients.

Nathan joined NBAD in 2010 to build its project finance advisory practice into a highly successful regional unit. Prior to this, he led PricewaterhouseCoopers’ MENA region PPP advisory services from Abu Dhabi and before, was a senior member of Europe’s leading transportation advisory practice at PricewaterhouseCoopers UK.

Nathan sits on the Middle East regional board of the International Project Finance Association. He holds an MBA from Warwick Business School (UK), a BSc in Finance from University of Manchester Science and Technology (UK), a BA in Humanities from University of Leicester (UK) and is an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

Photo - Frank Wouters

Frank Wouters

CEO, Wouters Limited

Mr. Frank Wouters has been leading renewable energy projects, transactions, and technology development for over 25 years. He has played a lead role in development of renewable generation projects valued at over $4.5 billion. These range from small scale PV solar electrification in Uganda to the 100MW Shams I Concentrated Solar Plant (CSP) in the UAE, and strategic equity investment in the London Array, the world’s largest offshore wind project. His transactions have received multiple project finance “Deal of the Year” awards.

As Deputy Director-General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the first global intergovernmental organisation dedicated to all renewables, he managed a US$350 million IRENA/Abu Dhabi Fund for Development project facility for RE. He appraised over 80 projects a year and recommended projects for funding, including solar PV projects in Africa. Furthermore, he coordinated with government ministers and other stakeholders to promote private sector investment for RE projects as part of the Africa Clean Energy Corridor Initiative.

Mr. Wouters has served on the board of several energy companies, including Torresol Energy SA, where he developed three solar plants with an overall budget of US$1.4 billion. He currently leads the EU-GCC Clean Energy Network, a high level network linking key clean energy stakeholders from the European Union and the GCC countries.

Mr. Wouters has a proven track record of advice to public power sector agencies. As Director of the Masdar Clean Energy Unit, part of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, he managed more than US$3 billion of power projects, including solar and wind power projects.

Qualified with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Delft University, he is fluent in English, German and Dutch.

Nader Al Zoubi

Energy Vice President UAE & Oman, Schneider Electric

Jesus Gutierrez

Jesus Gutierrez

Founder & CEO, Smart4Power

Jesus is the Co-founder and Managing Director of Smart4Power (S4P), a UAE-based engineering company that identifies, sources and implements efficiency solutions for existing buildings. Smart4Power is one of the leading ESCO companies with over 40 energy savings projects in the UAE alone. Clients include Jumeirah (hospitality), RAK Hospital (health), Innoventures (education), Unilever (industry), Dubai properties (real state), and National Bank of Abu Dhabi (bank). Based in the UAE for the last 7 years Jesus brings to Smart4Power over 20 years of international experience in the field of energy. Previously he worked at United Nations in Mexico, PricewaterhouseCoopers in the Philippines and the utility company, Gas Natural-Fenosa in Spain. Jesus holds a BA in Business Administration and an MPhil in Technology & Innovation from the Science Policy Research Unit (SPRU) at the University of Sussex.

Photo - Frank Beckers

Frank Beckers

Managing Director – Global Head of Project Finance Advisory, National Bank of Abu Dhabi

Frank has over 22 years of banking and consultancy experience. He joined NBAD in summer 2015 from McKinsey & Company where he served as a Senior Advisor, supporting the firm and its clients globally on infrastructure & energy finance, PPP and Risk. Prior to this, he worked 14 years for Deutsche Bank, where he was Global Co-Head of Project & Capital Advisory (later renamed to Project Finance) from 2003 until his departure in 2012. In this role he relocated to Deutsche Bank’s branch in Dubai in 2007 to expend the product franchise to the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific establishing new teams in Dubai and Singapore. He was a member of Deutsche Bank’s MENA Executive Committee and of the Global Asset Finance & Leasing Executive Committee. Frank started his career in 1993 at DEG (KfW-Group), a development financial institution owned by the German government specializing in emerging markets project finance.
Frank studied economics, international management, and finance at the University of Cologne (Germany), ESADE Business School (Spain), and Pennsylvania State University (USA). He holds a Master’s in International Management from the Community of European Management Schools (CEMS) and a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Cologne.

Raed Bkayrat

Dr. Raed Bkayrat

Vice President Business Development, Saudi Arabia and Middle East, First Solar

Dr. Raed Bkayrat is responsible for establishing and overseeing First Solar’s commercial footprint in the region, market setup and strategy development for partnerships and project execution.

With over 15 years of experience, Raed joins First Solar from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), where he was responsible for creating the institution’s successful Industry Collaboration Program. During his four year stint at KAUST, he also created a demonstration and testing program for solar and other clean energy technologies.

Prior to that he was part of the core team for a successful US-based start-up that was acquired by an oil and gas major, and previously spent eight years in various roles at Siemens in Germany and the US. Raed holds a Ph.D. and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from the Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Jordan. Raed is an expert on the technical and commercial values of integrated hybrid plants for power generation and water desalination. Raed has several issued patents and is an invited speaker at international conferences and events on clean energy.


Hani Ibrahim - Managing

Hani Ibrahim 

Managing Director & Head of Debt Capital Markets, QInvest

Hani is Head of Debt Capital Markets at QInvest responsible for the syndication and Islamic capital markets business. In his role, he has advised on and structured numerous prominent transactions for sovereign, corporate and financial institution issuers across Qatar, the GCC and Turkey in addition to being an instrumental part of the team that setup and developed QInvest’s investment banking franchise.


Prior to QInvest, Hani was at Emirates NBD Capital (formerly NBD Investment Bank) with a focus on the M&A and debt advisory and arrangement where he was involved in a variety of financing and advisory transactions for prominent UAE institutions.


Prior to that, Hani was part of the Investment Banking team at Dubai Bank where he worked on Equity Capital Market transactions as well as fund structuring.


Hani also worked in London for DTZ Corporate Finance. During his time at DTZ he was involved in and managed a variety of real estate financing, structuring and advisory transactions including the structuring of Sharia compliant real estate funds.


Hani started his career at KPMG London and is a qualified Chartered Accountant (Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales) and holds a BSc Honours and MSc from University College London.




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