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Jeremy Leggett

Green Energy Entrepreneur; Chairman, Climate Tracker Initiative & Associate Fellow at Environmental Change Institute, Oxford University and Author of "The Energy of Nations"

Profile

Jeremy Leggett is a leading green energy entrepreneur, campaigner, philanthropist, and author. He is renowned for demonstrating the ability to combine social awareness with profit making ventures, rather than seeing them as separate outcomes. He is a respected, award-winning environmental champion, and one of the world’s principal renewable energy industry experts. Leggett has been described by the Observer as "Britain's most respected green energy boss".

He is the founder and chairman of Solarcentury, currently one of Europe's fastest growing renewable energy companies, and founder of SolarAid, an african solar-lighting social enterprise, set up with Solarcentury profits. He serves as Chairman to the Carbon Tracker Initiative, a think tank which was set up to improve the transparency of the carbon embedded in equity markets, and is the founding director of the world's first private equity investment fund for renewables, run by Bank Sarasin (New Energies Invest AG). He is also the convenor of the UK Industry Taskforce on Peak Oil and Energy Security, a pan-industry group warning of a systemic oil-depletion risk to economies.
Leggett is an Associate Fellow at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, and lectures on business, society and the environment at the universities of Cambridge and St Gallen. He is also a leading energy commentator; a CNN Principal Voice; a columnist for Sublime Magazine; and a writer and blogger for the Guardian and the Financial Times.

Leggett has won multiple awards, including; the New Energy Award's Entrepreneur of the Year; the US Climate Institute’s Award for Advancing Understanding; and the first Hillary Laureate for International Leadership on Climate Change. He won the Individual Award for Excellence at the Solar Industry Awards in October 2013, for his long-term commitment to improving energy accessibility around the world, and "outstanding contribution to the global solar PV industry".  

He began his career as a geologist, researching the history of oceans, exploring for oil, and working on oil source rocks funded by oil companies such as BP and Shell, while on the faculty at Imperial College. Increasingly concerned about global warming, he left to become an environmental campaigner with Greenpeace International. In 1997 he founded Solarcentury, at a time when solar was not popular, with a goal to developing technologies that would reduce carbon output. Today it is the UK's largest solar solutions company, and has won multiple awards for innovation and sustainability.

Nine years after founding Solarcentury, he set up SolarAid, which teaches young Africans to make, sell, and use solar lanterns. It has raised several million pounds from individuals and organisations, and is one of Africa's fastest-growing poverty-alleviation charities. In 2013 the charity won the Google Global Impact Challenge, Guardian Sustainable Business Award and Ashden Award.

Leggett has written several books about the environment. His latest book, ‘The Energy of Nations’ (2013), is to date the fastest-selling Routledge energy and environment book, and hit the number one slot for energy on Amazon UK, before it even received a single review in a national daily. It explores how the systemic global risks of oil supply, climate shock and financial collapse threaten tomorrow's economies. His other books are; The Carbon War (2000), an eye-witness account of the climate negotiations in the 1990s; Half Gone (2005), an account of the interaction between peak oil and climate change; and The Solar Century (2009), a vision of solar in the cleantech revolution.

Agenda Sessions