You Don’t Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows

But we do need a national energy policy to stimulate wind, solar, and other renewable fuel projects, says Acciona Energy North America's CFO, Susan Nickey.

What differences have you seen between the banks in Spain and the banks in the United States over the last year?
The Spanish lenders were not allowed by regulators to invest in mortgage paper. So fortunately the Spanish banks didn’t get into trouble. And they’re tremendous lenders to Acciona, so we benefited from having that continued stability with some of our core banks. European banks have generally restructured and gone through a reorganization with their governments.

They’re a very experienced and sophisticated lender group that has bought banks here in the U.S. When lenders are more conservative, there’s less capital and more deals chasing them. But as a CFO I have to make sure that our package rises to the top of their list.

The Spanish banks want to work with long-term sponsors, and particularly now they want projects that are well packaged, safe, stable investments. Having been on their side of the table, I also know that for bankers or institutional lenders like insurance companies, it’s important to have a package that they can literally cut and paste and go and get approved.

How do you feel about your job?
I have a dream job. To me, this is a perfect way to wrap everything I’ve learned in the last 20 years into working for a company where I can contribute to sustainability, renewable energy, and making the world a better place every day.

It is very, very satisfying that you can see a finished product that cross-functionally pulls the whole organization together. And we have an expression: we ring the bell. We ring the bell when we have a success like a financial closing or a power-purchase agreement. I hope to be ringing the bell a lot.


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