Clean Investor, April 5: Fresh water shortage “becoming a business growth risk” – DEG

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

The shortage of fresh water is fast becoming a major business growth risk that investors need to take into account, according to a new study by German development bank DEG and the WWF called Assessing Water Risk: A Practical Approach for Financial Institutions. They have developed a water risk filter tool – suitable for development banks, private equity firms, banks, pension funds and insurers – to identify water-related risks early in investment decision making.
The Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB) launched in January 2010 by APG, PGGM and the Universities Superannuation Scheme, has signed up a raft of new institutional property investors. The joiners are ATP Real Estate, Mn Services, Hermes Real Estate, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, Local Government Super, Victorian Funds Management Corporation, the Dutch retail sector fund Pensioenfonds voor de Detailhandel, Aviva Investors and Paramount Group. The group intends to publish the results of its latest annual survey of property managers in September. GRESB said institutional investors will be able to compare the environmental performance of individual property investments with their environmental real estate targets. “The intention is that this benchmarking will serve as a catalyst for environmental engagement in real estate investments.”

Standard Chartered has spelled out its renewable energy priorities for 2011. “In 2011, we remain focused on the core sectors of renewable energy, environmental finance and clean technology,” the bank says in a sustainability review. In China, for example, it will focus on wind and biomass power generation, wind and solar component manufacturing, water infrastructure, grid distribution and waste to energy.

Leaf Clean Energy, the specialist clean energy investor, made no new investments in the six months to the end of 2010 despite reviewing “a number of new opportunities”. Leaf has substantial investment from institutional investors: Invesco Asset Management has a 43% stake while AEGON AM (13.4%), Aviva Investors (7%), Jupiter AM (7.3%) and JP Morgan AM (4.4%) all have stakes. Link

US environmental investment firms EKO Asset Management and Equator have announced a “strategic partnership” on environmental and ecosystem service markets. The tie-up will focus on carbon, water, forestry, avoided deforestation (REDD), agriculture, biodiversity, and ecosystem mitigation. Equator’s Eron Bloomgarden will join EKO as a partner in its New York office.Specialist asset management firm Willow Rivers Wealth explains how timber can be classified as a specialised form of long-term bond in a blog post. It says institutional investors have invested around $35bn in this ‘perfect’ asset class.

Greentech Capital Advisors, an investment bank which specialises in clean projects, has opened a European office in Zurich. It’s also hired Damien Sauer, former head of M&A at French nuclear firm AREVA as a partner. Thomas Putter, the former CEO of Allianz Capital Partners, joins the firm’s Advisory Council. Announcement

The UK’s Carbon Trust has released research showing that the global offshore wind sector is set to grow by up to 10% per year to £170bn (€194.7bn)/year by 2050. “The new analysis also concludes the sector could be employing up to 230,000 people in the UK by 2050,” the trust adds.

Environmental NGO the WWF has resigned from the UK’s Zero Carbon Taskforce, a green advisory group, over the government’s announcement that the definition of ‘Zero Carbon Homes’ will no longer include the emissions from unregulated energy use in the home. Announcement

Solar Asset Partners has launched a new fund to invest in residential solar projects in the South of England that aims to profit from government feed-in-tariffs (FITs). The fund will invest in retrofit 4kW residential solar PV projects, qualifying for the highest FITs (41.3p/kWh) following a recent UK government announcement to restrict renewable energy tariffs available to larger projects.

Capital Dynamics, the Swiss private equity and infrastructure investor, and Tangent Energy Solutions, have signed a joint development agreement to invest in commercial-scale solar energy projects in the US. Capital Dynamics will provide the funding required to build, own and operate both existing and future solar PV projects developed by Tangent. The first investment is a portfolio of 13 solar energy projects across 11 sites in Pennsylvania that have been developed by Tangent over the past year. The investments will be part funded by grants from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania administered by the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

Greece’s PPC Renewables is seeking a partner to help secure financing for a 200MW solar photovoltaic facility. “The Strategic Partner shall have a critical role in securing required financing for the construction, development and operation of the Project”, the tender states.