SUSI taps former GIG exec to lead energy storage strategy

Richard Braakenburg, who joined the GIG at its inception in 2013, will replace Asif Rafique, who departed SUSI in August 2018.

Switzerland-based renewables fund manager SUSI Partners has hired Richard Braakenburg as its new managing director for energy storage, filling a role that had been vacant for 18 months.

Braakenburg joins SUSI from UK-based battery storage and electric vehicle charging firm Pivot Power, which he joined in March 2019 as chief financial officer.

At Pivot Power, Braakenburg was responsible for leading the team in raising capital for the company’s planned 2.25GW network of grid-scale batteries to support the adoption of EV charging infrastructure in the UK. The company was acquired by EDF Renewables in November.

He was previously a senior vice-president at Macquarie’s Green Investment Group, which he joined upon its foundation by the UK government as the Green Investment Bank in 2013. Braakenburg was responsible at the GIG for distributed energy and onshore renewables.

He is SUSI’s first managing director for energy storage since Asif Rafique departed the role to move to Quercus Investment Partners in August 2018. Three months earlier, SUSI had closed the world’s first energy storage fund on €252 million.

“We are very happy to add Richard to our investment team following an extensive search for a suitable candidate with exactly the right profile”, said Marco van Daele, SUSI Partners’ co-chief executive and chief investment officer. “He brings long-standing experience and very specialised energy storage insights to the table and will help us expand our capabilities in this segment, one of the key pillars of a successful energy transition.”

The vehicle’s most recent investment came in November with a A$50 million ($33.6 million; €31 million) injection into a virtual power plant project in Australia alongside Starling Energy Group.

The deal was the fund’s second in Australia and fifth overall. Its investment period runs through to 2021 and the fund invests in OECD markets. SUSI declined to comment on how much of the fund has been invested to date.