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[Episode #85] – Foreign Aid for Microgrids

If you wanted to build a standalone microgrid in Africa, powered by local renewable resources, and make it reliable enough to run a neonatal intensive care clinic, how would you do it? Work through a development bank like the World Bank to get funding? Work with the government in the host country to manage the funds and the project? Build it around lithium-ion batteries? Use Western contractors to do the installation?

In this episode, we learn how Michael Liebreich, the founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance, helped create a successful project in Sierra Leone by doing none of those things. His experience is full of useful and surprising lessons, and offers a very interesting model for other aspiring renewable microgrid project developers. We’ll also talk with him about his insights on energy transition as one of its veterans, including his experience in trying to transition London to use more electric transportation, as well as his views on career direction and diversity in the energy industry.


Michael Liebreich is Chairman and CEO of Liebreich Associates, but he is perhaps best known as Founder and Senior Contributor to Bloomberg New Energy Finance – the world’s leading provider of information and research on clean energy and transport. He is a Visiting Professor at Imperial College, a member of the UK Department for International Trade’s Capital Investment Advisory Board and most recently joined Sustainable Development Capital LLP (SDCL) as a Senior Adviser. Previously, he was a board member of Transport for London and a member of the high-level group for the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative. Michael currently serves on numerous advisory boards, is speaker, writer, philanthropist, and occasional angel investor. Michael also skied for Great Britain at the 1992 Albertville Olympics.

On Twitter: @MLiebreich

On the Web:

Recording date: November 21, 2018

Air date: December 26, 2018

Geek rating: 4