• Founder Nikolai Dobrott reflects on 15 years of Apricum cleantech consulting

In March, Apricum – the Cleantech Advisory celebrated its fifteenth anniversary. To mark the occasion, we spoke with Nikolai Dobrott, founder and managing partner at Apricum, about the developments he’s seen in the renewable energy market over the past 15 years, the new consulting services that clients are seeking and how Apricum has adapted to changes in the industry. If you would like to learn more about the origins of Apricum, read our previous article Apricum turns 10: Interview with Founder Nikolai Dobrott.

Q: Looking back, what are the highlights from the last 15 years?

Nikolai Dobrott: When I founded Apricum 15 years ago, I thought the energy transition is starting now and will keep me busy for the next years, but I did not realize how important and urgent the energy transition will be 15 years later. Our expertise is on high demand, Apricum is booming and our impact and success has certainly been the highlight.  When we turned 10 in 2018, Apricum had already established strong momentum, but our growth since then has surprised even me. At that time, we were 15 people in one office with a few senior advisors in key markets. Today we have more than 80 passionate employees and advisors with offices in London, Paris and Dubai in addition to our Berlin headquarters as well as representation in 11 counties. Most of all, I’m very proud of the hardworking team we have built and how we have empowered our clients to become renewable energy transition accelerators.

Q: What are some of the key changes you’ve seen in the renewable energy market over the last 15 years?

Nikolai Dobrott: One of the most crucial developments is how renewable energy has gained significant recognition in the realms of business, banking and politics. While there have always been individuals and groups advocating for clean energy, it is heartening to see that the fight against climate change and the role of renewable energy in securing humanity’s future on Earth is now a mainstream theme. Public institutions and politicians are finally giving climate change the attention it deserves by prioritizing green energy solutions. The recent outbreak of war in Europe last year has further emphasized the urgent need for European energy independence, shifting the concept from an idea to an outright necessity.

In addition, the speed at which renewable energy has become cost-competitive with fossil fuels has been a key change. The cost of solar and wind energy is far lower than it was when I founded Apricum, and this has really created a remarkable level of opportunity across a range of industries and geographies. We’ve also seen a shift in the types of investors who are interested in renewable energy. In the early days, it was mostly niche players, but now we’re seeing interest from mainstream companies and financial institutions who want to get in on the action.

“It is heartening to see that the fight against climate change and the role of renewable energy in securing humanity’s future on Earth is now a mainstream concern.”

– Nikolai Dobrott

Q: As the renewable energy industry has rapidly evolved, how has Apricum adapted its services to meet the changing needs of its clients?

Nikolai Dobrott: We’ve had to be very nimble and adapt quickly to changes in the market. When we started out, we were mostly focused on solar and wind energy. But as the market evolved over the years, we expanded our services to include energy storage, and other technologies like green hydrogen or heat pumps – for companies that want to scale up and develop projects and for investors who want to finance them. We’ve also added new services, such as supply chain strategy and project management office (PMO)  to meet the changing needs of our clients while we increased our transaction advisory services in response to the ongoing consolidation in the renewable energy industry.

Q: Looking to the future, what do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities for the renewable energy industry and how is Apricum positioned to help its clients navigate these changes?

Nikolai Dobrott: One of the biggest challenges is fast integrating renewable energy into the grid and to avoid curtailment. We’re also seeing challenges related to permitting and regulatory issues. On the opportunity side, we see a lot of potential in energy storage and electrification of the mobility and heating space . We’re also seeing more interest in green hydrogen, which could play a big role in decarbonizing hard-to-decarbonize sectors like heavy industry and chemicals.

At Apricum, we’re well-positioned to help our clients navigate these changes. We have deep expertise in all relevant industries  of the renewable energy value chain, and we’re constantly monitoring the market to stay ahead of trends and developments.

What’s next for Apricum?

Nikolai Dobrott: Our focus remains on never compromising the quality of our services or our ability to provide the tailored support our clients need. All plans are made with that vision in mind. However, the premium reputation that we have built, and our winning track record of more than 400 successful projects, means that we are working across ever increasing geographies and industries. Therefore, We are looking to hire talents across the world which not only care about the carbon foot print, but also the carbon hand shake. At Apricum you can really make an impact or so….

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