Tony Wang has a unique perspective on the energy industry. Throughout his career, he has followed the energy transition from traditional fossil fuel work to now leading investments that drive the future of clean energy.
As a whole, SK is investing $85 billion globally to grow eco-friendly businesses. SK and its operating companies have committed to cutting 200 million tons of carbon emissions by 2030, representing 1% of the total carbon reduction goals for the entire world.
We spoke with Tony about what it’s like driving investments in the clean energy space and how he has been at the forefront of the energy transition through his career.
How did you get started in the energy industry?
I grew up in Texas and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008. Wanting to break into the investment space and stay in my home state, I moved to Houston and began working as an analyst covering the oil and gas industry. Shortly after starting, shale drilling began to takeoff and I was able to dive head-first into working on many cross-border energy transactions. This was really a crash course in the industry for me and what kicked off my interest in the space.
How did you end up at SK on the Plutus Capital team?
Over the years, I had the opportunity to work across the sell-side and buy-side of energy transactions in both the U.S. and Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. While the experience I had was incredible, I realized I was ready to take on a role where I got to “drive the bus.” That is, I wanted to take all the skills I had learned throughout my career and use them to start leading investments for an organization.
When I learned about the opportunity with SK, I saw a unique way to leverage my experience in cross-border transactions, expertise on the APAC market and background in midstream oil and gas. The SK team was looking to formalize their investment presence in the U.S. and gave me a great opportunity to take on a new challenge and be a lead investor.
How did you begin focusing on the clean energy space?
When I came into SK, we were still very much focused on traditional midstream investments. However, as the oil and gas industry faced challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, I saw an opportunity to broaden our scope. With the support of our leadership, we went out and looked at the various energy sources that were being explored as potential alternatives to traditional oil and gas.
Through this process, we ended up doing a deep dive on hydrogen as a clean energy source. Through our due diligence, we realized this was an industry in which we felt had strong viability to support the global transition to clean energy.
What makes SK an attractive investor?
When you work with SK, you are getting both a strategic and capital investor in your business. On the strategy side, we come in as a long-term investor that has experience across global markets that can help facilitate connections and create opportunities. Our global magnitude allows us to help connect companies to each other and drive business synergies.
From a capital standpoint, we stand out in that we have the ability to help businesses get to scale. Instead of coming into a business that already has two or three plants in operation, we are able to go in at the ground level and provide capital resources to initiate operations.
How does it feel working in the clean energy space?
It feels amazing knowing that the role I’m playing has a direct impact on helping the Earth. It fits in with the double-bottom-line approach that SK takes towards business - we create both economic and social value in our communities. Being able to watch this leading edge technology come into maturation and be applied on an industrial scale is very rewarding.