Cornelius Matthes

Dii Desert Energy

As the CEO at Dii Desert Energy, Cornelius made its mission to drive the energy transition forward and pioneer the field of energy from the desert, leading the world to 100% renewables!

Cornelius is a well-respected leader and investor in the renewable energy industry and built several successful clean energy businesses and start-ups within Middle East and Africa. He has extensive board level experience from 10 years in Deutsche Bank (among others, youngest board member in Deutsche Bank Italy Group) and several leading renewable energy organisations and associations via pro bono work as well as different startup companies.

By building the international shareholder and partner network of Dii (Desertec Industrial Initiative), he was at the forefront of the renewable energy revolution in North Africa and the Middle East. A keen entrepreneur and investor in emerging markets with recognitions such as “Solar Pioneer 2015” for the Middle East, he is lecturing at several universities including St. Gallen and is a regular speaker at international conferences. He holds an MBA (Dipl. Kaufmann) from University of Passau, and speaks German, English, Italian, French and Russian.

His experience ranges from M&A transactions, asset management, developing utility scale renewable energy projects (including mid-market with private PPAs), pay-as-you-go solar to energy efficiency, including ESCO projects and new business models. Some of the projects and companies were executed in challenging settings or countries. He has led sizable organizations both in startup environments and blue-chip companies and has raised funds from angel investments to USD 100m+ projects with institutional investors. “I am glad to be able to work in renewable energy which is also my passion – we can genuinely make an impact with many different things and help people, to make our planet a better place. Having new challenges every day is fantastic and many more mountains to be climbed!”

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    No Continent is an Island: As Europe Goes Climate-Neutral, Where Is the World Heading?

    Set against the background of global economy and trade networks, Europe’s rush to climate neutrality will have repercussions for its partners and competitors. New alliances will spark technological innovations and affect existing value chains across the globe, just as they will change the infrastructure and networks within the continent. How will the world react to Europe's ambitions – and is Europe ready to face these reactions? Which opportunities does climate neutrality offer to global economic prosperity – and which technological innovations are likely to get a boost?

    Stijn van Els
    Director Commercial, Port of Rotterdam Authority

    Cornelius Matthes
    CEO, Dii Desert Energy

    Sara Edmonson
    European Lead, Fortescue Future Industries

    Prof. Dr. Armin Schnettler
    CEO New Energy Business, Siemens Energy; Präsident, VDE


    Holger Lösch
    Stellvertretender Hauptgeschäftsführer, BDI