As managing director - Renewables, CLP Group, Chan Ka-keung has the tricky task of balancing clean energy with commercial viability THE BIG PICTURE is that I am responsible for the overall development and performance of our renewable energy assets. My job has two main parts. The first concerns operational and construction projects. We have people on the ground in China who report to me daily about how projects are progressing. We discuss problems, try to find solutions and ensure everything is on target and within the budget. The second major area concerns developing and initiating renewable energy projects. Often, this is in collaboration with governments and/or private corporations. Renewable energy is moving forward very fast in terms of technology and creative ideas. I keep the CLP group up to date on new developments and what others are doing. There is a lot of positive change going on in renewable energy. I must make sure we are at the forefront of that. This all means I have to meet with lots of people. I do a lot of travelling. My responsibilities cover all of the Asia-Pacific, including China, Australia and India, and anywhere in between. I do as much co-ordination work as I can from Hong Kong, as renewable energy sites are often in very remote areas. One of our hydroelectricity projects is in a mountainous area in western Guangdong province. It takes the best part of a day just to get there. Next week, I have to go to India to discuss a new project. I didn't go straight into renewable energy work. I studied electrical engineering up to PhD level at Cambridge University, then changed tack and went into corporate banking with Credit Suisse First Boston and a few other investment banks before joining CLP two years ago - also in corporate finance, and focusing on China. A few months ago, CLP decided to set up a specialised renewable energy section, and I was chosen to oversee it. Corporate banking involves a mixture of skills, encompassing finance, investment and business development. I have experience in that department, and my academic training in engineering enables me to understand technical developments and apply it to my day-to-day work. I enjoy working in renewable energy. I am helping to develop 'clean' energy, and the job itself is very diverse, which I like. Every day has a surprise. This diversity also makes it a very challenging job. With each project, I must deal with finance issues, human resources, performance, local and central government, local partners, regulatory issues, and so on. And CLP emphasises quality, safety, standards and compliance. These factors apply, no matter how small the project. There is no cutting corners. Another challenge with renewable energy concerns the debate between clean energy and commercial viability. It's all very well to champion the cause of clean energy, but as a commercial organisation we also have to take into account our shareholders and stakeholders. Generally, renewable energy development costs are much higher than conventional energy sources. We have to strike a balance. My particular challenge is to build a portfolio to meet our 5 per cent renewable energy target by 2010, while creating meaningful earnings at the same time. This is not easy. To succeed in this job, you must have strong leadership, organisational and interpersonal skills. And you have to deal with a wide range of people. They are often from different cultures, which makes it more interesting and more complicated. A technical versatility is also required in the job. On top of all this, you need finance skills to pull all these elements together. Renewable energy projects take time. It's a long road. And, of course, you must love the Earth.