Skandia Mutual Life Insurance Company expects to invest in technology to support renewable energy generation, said Hans Fredrik Forssman, senior investment manager at the Skr540.8 billion ($63 billion; €54.2 billion) Swedish insurance company.
Forssman is eyeing energy storage technologies, digitalisation, artificial intelligence and energy efficiency technologies to support renewable power generation and electric grids. “But it’s extremely difficult to find a suitable business model for these at this point in time,” he told delegates at affiliate title Infrastructure Investor’s Global Summit in Berlin.
These technologies still need to be developed, refined and tested over the next two to five years, Forssman said. Such technology could be expected to sit in many investors’ venture capital allocations, but Forssman told New Private Markets they would sit in Skandia’s infrastructure portfolio and not be considered venture capital investments. “We look at them as enhancements. They’re supportive rather than disruptive technologies for renewables assets.”
Forssman is seeing “a fragmentation of the underlying market due to geography or technology”, where infrastructure funds invest in associated technologies, platforms and services as well real assets to pursue operational efficiency and sustainability and ensure compliance with different regulations across geographies. “There were some early adopters” of solar technology investments, he told delegates, “but unfortunately I was too slow to move.”
Forssman was speaking at a panel with Amarik Ubhi, global head of infrastructure at Mercer, Verena Kempe, head of investment management at German sovereign wealth fund KENFO, and Harald Haas, senior investment manager at Meag Munich.
Panellists were asked where they expected to be investing in two years’ time. Mercer’s Ubhi and KENFO’s Kempe both answered “hydrogen”. “It’s a bit more of a clean tech venture at this point,” said Kempe, but she believes the sector will develop and mature as solar and wind power have done.
As Meag Munich’s Haas put it: “One word. Batteries.”