A discussion with Mr Hamad al Radhan CEO of Life Energy
Back in 2009 when Life Energy commenced, Kuwait had identified its enormous potential in renewable energy, but had yet to realise it. Providing turnkey solutions to a region not famous for its sustainable infrastructure, Life Energy stands out as a company willing to trailblaze a fresh approach and vertically integrate their holding companies' various ICT interests. Today the company remains one of the few privately owned local renewable energy solutions providers. We talk to their charismatic CEO Hamad al Radhan about the journey so far and the factors holding back this promising sector.
As one of the first private sector companies in the sector, can you tell us about the genesis of Life Energy and why you decided to start?
As individuals we thrive on new technologies and innovations, and with our different backgrounds and experience as partners in Engineering, IT and science and our involvement in different projects in the gulf region and Africa (mainly in the telecom sector), we identified the challenges & problems in supplying energy in different locations especially at remote sites. We realized the opportunity to be innovative & use renewable technology that are easy to implement and operate, at the same time it is sustainable and clean for the environment and so we began.
What level of investment was required to establish Life Energy in the beginning and how has your turnover performed in the first decade?
We started the company with little capital and worked our way to promoting renewable energy solutions and applications to different entities starting with Telecom sector, moving to the Oil sector and also for government entities, where we manged to start with pilot projects introducing the latest renewable solutions that fit the need. At the same time we invested in training and gaining the knowledge needed to design, engineer and train our team in different technological disciplines covering renewable energy production and energy efficiency at the same time.
How would you describe the role Life Energy is playing in providing renewable solutions for the region today?
We are a turnkey EPC and provide inhouse all the services necessary to design, build, and maintain renewable energy assets. Additionally, we use our knowledge and experience to guide our clients to the best possible solutions for them based on their unique goals and needs.
Life Energy is part of systems integration and ICT company Masiya Group. Do you see renewable energy as a natural progression to vertical and horizontal progression for any similar group, and would you encourage others to follow your lead in other markets?
At the time that Life Energy was established the market was not ready and no clear plans were set, we had to create the market and conduct a lot of awareness building activities to the different key entities and people at that time. Additionally, the different projects implemented by Masiya (The Holding Company of Life Energy) was the driver to explore the opportunities that led us to renewable energy. As any business the vision of the leaders and how they implement it, is what makes any company successful but the market changes and new challenges arise. I saw many companies in different sectors try to make change, but failed as they were following the market and not leading or creating the difference.
COP26 is happening next month in the UK which pushes the climate change agenda to the forefront of the international media. Are there changes to policy you would like to see in the MENA region in particular?
I would like to see funds that are currently used to subsidize electricity tariffs redirected to incentivise private sector investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy. Artificially low electricity costs is one of the biggest impediments to reducing electricity consumption and transitioning to renewable energy generation.
As companies are required by investors to consider their ESG activity, how does renewable integration in their activity allow them to contribute to the betterment of society and the planet?
The Integration of renewable energy technology into a company’s operations not only reduces their levelized cost of energy but it directly reduces their negative impact on the planet and its most vulnerable populations. All companies can play a role in reducing global warming by renewable energy and energy efficiency integration.