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Ryse Energy more than double telecom business in three years

Since we last spoke with Ryse Energy in 2020 they’ve doubled their count of telecom sites, raised £15mn and signed some major contracts


TowerXchange is always keen to follow new technologies and how they impact telecom site resilience and infrastructure sharing. Humans have been using wind for nearly 6,000 years, but its only been recently that distributed wind generation has made an impact on telecoms. TowerXchange speak again with Alistair Munro, CEO of Ryse Energy about why wind is taking off.

TowerXchange: Briefly introduce your solution for telecom energy, and tell our audience what makes your solution different.

Alistair Munro, CEO, Ryse Energy:

Ryse Energy is an impact-driven, innovative, decentralized renewable energy technology company with more than 4,000 installations across all seven continents.

Ryse Energy is a manufacturer of high-performance small wind turbines, with a range of products from micro to medium capacity. We offer wind and solar as standalone technologies either grid-connected or off-grid with energy storage – but we are specialised in combining our wind technology with solar PV and energy storage to create hybrid renewable systems, decarbonising critical infrastructure such as telecoms towers, pipelines and offshore infrastructure.

TowerXchange: It’s been three years since we last spoke with Ryse Energy, what’s happened since we last spoke at the end of 2020?

Alistair Munro, CEO, Ryse Energy:

The big change since 2020, besides the obvious, is that from Ryse Energy’s perspective we’ve seen significant change in the market’s attitude to wind. Before then we were pushing water up a hill, but now it’s the other way around. We are being approached by MNOs and major towercos to help them understand how to integrate wind into the mix.

We offer an integrated power solution, but our USP is our knowledge of wind. Most of the big towercos have now expressed an appetite to accept wind as part of their technology mix. That is the big change we’ve seen in the last couple of years for telecoms. And this isn’t just in poor grid markets like Africa, it’s also in Europe and the Middle East. In fact, the only area where we’re yet to generate a significant volume of leads is SE Asia but we are confident that will change

The industry now understand the value wind power generation can add. If you’re just using lithium ion batteries with solar then you hit a limit on the amount of renewable energy you generate either due to battery size or land use constraints. Adding wind to the mix allows you to significantly reduce your reliance on diesel power or grid energy.

In 2020 we could point to distributed opportunities for a number of regional MNOs, but now we can talk about work on a global basis with strategic supply agreements from MNOs and Towercos across multiple countries. We’re moving from commitments for 10s or 100s of sites to 1,000s of sites. It is a game-changing shift in the distributed wind sector, and hybrid renewables space.

We have the advantage as we have the largest install base and in depth knowledge in deploying wind in telecoms and other critical infrastructure. So we are seen as the ‘go to’ in the market.

TowerXchange: Congratulations on the fundraising, what can you tell us about your investors, and where the money is going?

Alistair Munro, CEO, Ryse Energy:

I’ll remind you that telecoms is still only 20% of the business, but a growing proportion. Its one application of the wind technology we manufacture but wind has a massive potential across the world, so we needed growth capital to unlock the pipeline of opportunities we’ve built.

Firstly, we will be putting the investment towards expanding our team and offices. We will be moving ahead with an Indian manufacturing plant for the domestic Indian market which has the potential to be substantial. We are also increasing our field services and installation teams to support our increased customer base.

Secondly, beyond that we also need to invest in certification of our products to enter the distributed and community power market in USA and other markets The landmark Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 includes an enormous ramp up of renewable subsidies to drive carbon reduction and clean energy across all sectors of the economy including telecoms. This is of course a major opportunity for us and we need to be proactive in our USA market entry.

Thirdly, we are using the investment to change the way we work and increase our working capital. At present we build to order and that can extend lead times but keeping more turbines in stock and ready to roll we’ll be able to deliver more quickly. When you’re looking at high volume customers you’re expected to have 50+ turbines in stock to deploy quickly. That ties up working capital, but it is worth it to better serve our customers.

TowerXchange: North America and Africa look like two key target markets, but they’re as different economically as possible. How does the business case differ for wind between these two large and diverse markets?

Alistair Munro, CEO, Ryse Energy:

We have now split the business in two to focus our offer to clients. We have hired a very senior executive to become CEO of our UK, Europe and Americas business called Richard Caldow, ex-MD of Proven Wind and SD Wind. I will continue as Group CEO and regional CEO for Africa, the Middle East. India and Asia. The dynamics in the markets are just so different that splitting management makes sense.

In North America policy change is driving significant investment in renewables. The Inflation Reduction Act is directing tens of billions of dollars towards renewable energy and we are helping to deliver that.

Whereas in developing countries, our offer in bad grid markets is more about site resilience and economics.

The cultures of regulation and business mentality, attitude, not to mention time zones, are very different, so splitting the business will enable a better focus on our markets. That said, we are a global company with a local approach, in our core markets we aim to hire locally to provide the on-site technical and commercial expertise.

TowerXchange: When we first spoke Ryse Energy were providing power to 400+ sites. How many telecom sites are Ryse Energy powering today?

Alistair Munro, CEO, Ryse Energy:

We now have in the order of 1,000 telco and critical infrastructure sites live now, which shows substantial growth through a difficult period characterised by a lack of business travel and international supply chain disruption.

Beyond MNO or towerco towers, we’ve also been providing energy to radar towers and other critical infrastructure. For example, you may have seen Ryse Energy at COP27 because we have been helping turn the Suez Canal green. We’re delivering energy systems for the command and control infrastructure, and providing power to the communications that keep the canal running smoothly. The wind-solar hybrid renewable system is the primary source of electricity for the stations, and since installation, renewable energy has powered the site for over 99% of the time, showcasing the resilience of the renewable system. Because of that we have had a very high profile in Egypt and COP27.

TowerXchange: Please tell us about the next steps for Ryse Energy and the future role you see for wind in telecom power.

Alistair Munro, CEO, Ryse Energy:

We will be opening service centres and support facilities across four regions in Africa focusing on Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. This hub structure will enable us to service the different countries and cultures of Africa. This allows us to get in front of our customers and deliver new sites to them.

We will also be expanding the team in North America as previously discussed and continuing the certification process to capture the potential within the market.

In the past, wind energy has been hampered by bad execution and technical failures. We plan to ensure all our sites operate efficiently, correctly and receive the correct care and maintenance to deliver resilient and reliable renewable energy for our customers.