Mike Hayes

Climate Change and Decarbonization Leader, Global Head of Renewable Energy

KPMG International

Mike leads KPMG’s climate change and decarbonization sector where he has responsibility for leading KPMG firms’ work on the provision of decarbonization and climate risk solutions for their global clients across all sectors. As part of this work, Mike is actively involved in delivering decarbonization services around areas such as climate risk, climate strategy, carbon markets and energy transition for clients in many different sectors. Notably, he provides strategic guidance to private equity firms, asset managers, financial services groups and electric utilities.

Mike is also leading on several significant bold ideas on the climate agenda. He is spearheading the development of a Digital Innovation Exchange, fostering collaboration between the innovation ecosystem, financial partners and major industrial players to fund and pilot exciting innovations. Furthermore, he emphasizes the significance of Human Capital in achieving Net Zero and explores the potential of innovative tax policies in driving the climate agenda.

His focus on sustainable finance includes novel approaches to attract capital to high-risk projects in developing markets. He has introduced an investment product known as Net Zero Equity, which is currently undergoing testing by several stakeholders. Working with the World Economic Forum, Mike plays a pivotal role in KPMG member firms’ efforts to address climate change and energy transition challenges through innovative strategies.

In addition to his climate role, Mike leads KPMG’s Global Renewables business. With over 24 years of experience, he advises global corporate groups in the renewable energy and infrastructure sectors. His expertise spans acquisitions, mergers and other transactions in multiple countries. Clients include utilities, large developers, private equity firms, and energy and infrastructure funds. Mike has also successfully led a global project with an oil and gas super major, enabling the procurement of renewable power for the organization’s high carbon locations.

His background in investment management positions him to structure global renewable and climate funds for clients, including fund structuring work for global renewable power funds initiated by a prominent investment management company. Mike’s advisory services help to ensure effective navigation of the complex renewable energy landscape.


"Crisis forces innovation."

Mike Hayes, Global Head of Renewable Energy and Climate Change & Decarbonization Lead, KPMG International, tells us how new ways of thinking and innovative technologies are combining to set the stage for an exciting new era of energy transition.

Mike, what does the term ‘energy transition’ mean to you?

Mike Hayes: For me, it is about the innovative technologies that are bringing fresh solutions, new business models and new thinking to the forefront of how we transition the world to a low carbon energy future.
If I think about twenty years ago, people weren’t talking about renewable energy. We weren’t talking about flying using sustainable aviation fuel. These fast-paced changes have been enabled through technology and are shaping new ways of delivering energy. And that is exactly what the energy transition is all about.

Mike Hayes
Mike Hayes

What are some of the biggest challenges you see the energy transition grapple with today?

Mike Hayes: Firstly, it is important to note that there have always been challenges. If I look back to some of the conversations we were having in the late 1990s, we were in a position where we did not know the business models or even if there was going to be viable funding for this new emerging renewables sector.

Now, I see an established industry where renewable energy is a well understood de-risked technology that is highly competitive when matched against other energy sources. And thanks to innovation and technological progress, we are seeing emerging technologies and approaches — Carbon Capture, Usage and Storage (CCUS), green hydrogen and e-fuels — rapidly come into the market with the potential ability to drive massive transformation. But these are still being established, and to meet the scale and speed that society is demanding, the availability of investment capital should be unlocked - which can be enabled with supportive government policies. That to me is the biggest challenge we are facing today as it requires mobilization across the public and private sectors to get costs down to a position where these become viable long-term approaches to the energy transition.

What do you think is driving the increased pace of change and innovation that we are seeing today?

Mike Hayes: There is a world of innovators who are working on incredible solutions — some of these are well-known and moving toward widespread adoption, and some which are desperate for funding and for access to both the market and industry players. I believe KPMG has the convening power and influence to bring all of the relevant actors together – particularly the innovators, the industrials and the investors into a single digital platform. This is one of my key goals and in doing so, KPMG professionals can make a difference to the climate agenda as these innovators help bring us through the final stages of the net zero journey.

Looking at how KPMG is making a difference, what role do people play?

Mike Hayes: The single most important ingredient in any professional services organization is its people.

It is our people who shape new thinking and bring cutting-edge solutions and services to address client challenges. Our people are moving the dial on the energy agenda through new thinking around policy development, around business models and around financing.

You simply cannot make the progress that has led us to the position we are in today without people. In particular, the involvement of our next-gen community is critical and I am so proud of our Leaders 2050 program which is really helping us do something meaningful on energy transition.

With innovation adding an ‘unknown’ element to what the future of this industry could look like, what is your advice to those looking to shape a career in energy?

Mike Hayes: You say unknown, I say exciting. We have lived with a particular energy system for 120 years and the next 10 or 20 years are going to see a fundamental change in this — we are at the beginning of an energy revolution.

I cannot think of a better career opportunity.

I fell into this almost by accident 25 years ago, and immediately fell in love with the entrepreneurs and risk takers, and the positive change we could help shape. For anyone looking to shape a career in energy transition, I would whole-heartedly encourage it. The opportunities are vast. And also, being involved in this industry allows us to play our part in creating a better world for everybody and that is a special feeling!

Insights from Mike Hayes

  • Energy and Natural Resources
  • BComm., University College Cork

  • DPA, University College Dublin

  • Member of Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland

  • Member of the Irish Tax Institute