Bringing together investors, business partners, and the SUSI team, the 2023 SUSI Summit managed to educate, entertain and – most importantly – to strengthen critical links between people whose collaboration will help drive the global energy transition forward.

Recapping the past 12 months: from challenge to opportunity

The past year was heavily influenced by the 2022 energy crisis, inflation dynamics, the resulting rise in interest rates and the ensuing, correlated value destruction in liquid assets that left no asset owner, asset manager, and clean energy company unaffected. The effects were not all negative for investors, however, especially in the energy transition investment space.

While it made for a difficult fundraising environment with private markets experiencing unprecedented drops in funds raised due to relative overperformance of private assets and resulting overallocation in investors’ portfolios, the resulting low capital availability, combined with continued high capital demand for energy transition infrastructure, reiterates the investment opportunity for investors and managers alike.

This beneficial environment is well reflected in SUSI Partners’ investment activities of the past 12 months. Elevated energy prices increased the value of energy savings, which led to record-high deployment numbers in 2022 for the firm’s Credit platform, which is focused on energy efficiency and other “as-a-service” solutions. SUSI also took full advantage of its unique investment experience in the booming battery energy storage sector and made its first investments in the emerging market for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. As battery energy storage systems, in particular, may still seem a somewhat abstract concept for many, guests were offered a virtual 360° tour through a SUSI-managed site in the UK.

Driving sustainability through collective action

As was emphasised during the dedicated sustainability session, it is the diligent manner in which these investments are executed and managed over time, under systematic consideration of environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) risks, that makes them truly sustainable. This year, the focus was on responsible procurement in the solar photovoltaic industry, an industry-wide concern due to allegations around human rights infringements and a general lack of transparency in supply chains.

Fully acknowledging the current difficulties and limits of traceability, a call was made for collective action, both between SUSI’s portfolio and partner companies and between asset managers on an industry-wide level, to increase pressure on suppliers and enhance transparency. To facilitate collaboration, a dedicated side event on the prior day allowed for an open exchange of best practices between portfolio companies.

Investing in energy transition infrastructure: a people’s business

Subsequent breakout sessions allowed investors to gain further insight into SUSI’s three investment platforms – Equity, Credit, and Asia. On the basis of case studies presented by portfolio and partner companies, investors learned first-hand about SUSI’s proactive work towards three core objectives: scaling platforms with additional capital commitments and investments, managing assets for value, and driving sustainability through policies, procedures, and active engagement.

Most importantly, attendees were given ample opportunity to engage with SUSI team members, investors, and representatives from portfolio and partner companies during networking breaks and the traditional evening event on the shore of lake Zurich. Bringing together these stakeholders and enabling the forging and deepening of relationships is what the SUSI Summit is all about.

SUSI’s core proposition and focus on energy transition infrastructure remain, but more than ever, successful investing in sustainable energy infrastructure is not just about hard assets, it is first and foremost about partnerships between driven and talented groups of people committed to advancing the global energy transition.