May 01, 2019

5 Questions with Caroline Mann T’15, Senior Associate at Swift Current Energy

By Tuck Revers Center for Energy

Caroline Mann

Caroline Mann T'15 is a senior associate at Swift Current Energy and an alumni fellow with the Revers Center for Energy. Ms. Mann has over 8 years of experience in the energy industry. Prior to joining Swift Current in 2017, she was a principal financial analyst in the wind project valuation group at NextEra Energy. In this capacity, Caroline was responsible for the valuation and financial diligence process for NextEra’s potential investment opportunities in wind energy and transmission infrastructure. She also managed the financial diligence effort for NextEra’s wind repowering effort. Previously, Caroline worked for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. Bio courtesy of Swift Current Energy.

What was the most important part of your Tuck experience that you’ve taken with you to your job and/or life?

The general management focus at Tuck provides a very well-rounded business education. I’ve had to draw on things I learned in all of my classes—ranging from pricing options and futures to accounting for deferred taxes to negotiation and communication skills—I’ve used it all.

The network has also been invaluable—I was introduced to my current employer through a fellow Tuckie!  

What are some of the biggest challenges that the power and utilities industry faces and how are you working to solve those?

I think one of the biggest challenges facing the power and utility industry is figuring out how to integrate renewables at a large scale. Because renewables tend to be located in areas where the wind or sun is strongest, this can often lead to over concentration in certain geographies which causes congestion on the grid. Additionally, renewables are inherently intermittent which causes challenges for entities managing the power grid as well as utilities and corporations procuring power. 

In my role, I spend a lot of time thinking about and structuring long term power purchase agreements with corporations, utilities, and commodity traders. There is a lot of innovation happening in these agreements that better addresses some of the risks created by intermittency and grid congestion. At Swift Current, we are also working to integrate energy storage systems in the wind and solar projects that we are developing. I think energy storage is a solution you will start to see come into the market in a big way in the coming years.  

How do you expect the type of transactions to change, if at all, in the energy space?

We have seen a lot of new entrants in the energy industry in recent years, both in the types of entities procuring renewable power and the entities investing in energy infrastructure. On the power procurement side, corporations are increasingly transacting directly with developers to procure renewable power. On the investing side, we’ve seen more passive capital, pension funds and the like, making direct equity investments in renewable energy projects. 

With these new entrants comes a different tolerance for risks that have been traditionally born by utilities as the historical owners or purchasers of power. We are seeing a lot of these risks be re-allocated to developers who need innovative solutions to help manage them.

What advice would you give to current students interested in working in energy?

The energy industry is dynamic, complex, and multi-faceted, but everything in the industry—from oil and gas to power, from regulation to commodity trading to finance—is interrelated. I think it’s very valuable to have a well-rounded view of the energy industry. If you have the opportunity, try to do a project outside of your interest area. If your background or interest is in renewables, try to do a project focused on upstream oil and gas. Having broad knowledge of the dynamics in different segments of the energy industry and how they relate to the economics your piece of the industry will serve you well in the future.

What do you miss most about being at Tuck?

I definitely miss my classmates, the tight knit community, the incredible setting in the Upper Valley, skiing and tripod hockey, and the constant intellectual stimulation both in and out of the classroom. Tuck is truly a special place.

The Revers Center for Energy inspires and shapes tomorrow's leaders in energy while engaging today's energy community. It aspires to establish Tuck as the preeminent business school for learning practical leadership in the energy industry.