What did I need to learn to do this job?
For many years, I did not really have a favourite subject and just liked going to school to make friends and do sport. But as I got older, I had a fantastic teacher, who led me to really love physics. I was fascinated by the different forms of energy and the laws that govern them.
I went on to study electrical engineering at university as I wanted to better understand how we produce and transport electricity. After that, I studied business administration to understand how to run a company.
However, it was only after I had been working for some years that I realised that the future of energy could only be renewable. In my job, aside from knowing about renewable energy, you need to be good at managing and motivating different people. It also helps to speak different languages.
Alessandro Boschi, 53, Luxembourg
Head of the Renewable Energy Division at the European Investment Bank (EIB)
A love of physics led me to clean energy
Money doesn’t grow on trees, goes the old saying, but money can help trees grow – and pay for wind and solar farms – all of which are vital in the fight against climate change. The main mission of the European Investment Bank (EIB), where I work, is about helping fund projects that will bring down greenhouse gas emissions and protect people and places against the impacts of climate change that are already happening.
The EIB is owned by the 27 countries of the European Union (EU) and we finance large projects that will benefit Europe’s citizens. Recently, we made an important decision to become the first bank in the world to stop giving money to projects that could have negative effects on the climate and to focus on those that have a positive effect.
This is why we are also called the EU Climate Bank.
To make sure we can fulfil this mission to the best of our ability, the EIB doesn’t just rely on bankers, but employs a whole range of people including engineers, economists, lawyers and environmental experts.
My job is to help make sure we spend the bank’s money on the best projects. The bank receives lots of proposals from different countries and regions wanting money to build wind and solar farms. I look at these ideas and see which ones we should support. Last year, we invested in over 200 energy projects. Together, they supplied clean electricity to almost nine million homes!
To decide which are the best I look, with my team, at the technical aspects of the project. How large are the blades of the wind turbines? Are they the right ones for the wind conditions in a certain area? How much electricity will they produce?
We also want to make sure wind and solar farms do not in any way harm nature or wildlife in the fields where the turbines and panels will be installed. We check, for instance, whether birds flying in the area would be affected by blades rotating.
Thirdly, we want to learn what people living nearby think about the project, if they have any concerns or questions and if these have been taken into consideration.
Even though we are a European bank, we also support the growth of clean energy further afield. I am particularly proud of two projects in Africa. One is a wind farm in Kenya and is the largest ever built on the continent, and the other is a solar plant in Morocco which is one of the largest one of its kind in the world!
I am proud of these projects because they will help Africa produce more clean electricity and supply it to homes where many people today still live without any access to electricity.
I like my job because I feel I am contributing something positive to the world. I like seeing our projects come to life, and watching the people in my team improve and learn. I also really like working with people from many nationalities and cultures, both from Europe and elsewhere. I lead a team of 15 people from eight different nationalities. I also travel to our project sites and get to see lots of new places and meet different people.
I go to work by bus or by bike, and the next car I buy will be electric and I will charge it with renewable electricity!