Clean Investor, April 12: CalPERS targets renewable power generation

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

A report presented to CalPERS’ Investment Committee has outlined the pension fund’s future plans for investments in California “particularly in private equity and infrastructure, where renewable power generation, power transmission and energy pipelines offer promising opportunities”. Link

Canadian pension fund investors British Columbia Investment Management Corp. and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board have agreed to buy TimberWest Forest Corp., western Canada’s largest private timber and land management company, for C$910m (€658.3m). The funds said: “Timber and real estate exhibit inflation-hedging characteristics and provide stable risk-adjusted returns, attributes which are particularly well-matched to the needs of pension plans.”

Partners Group, the Swiss private markets manager with €20bn in institutional investors’ assets, has invested in the largest solar power plant in Europe on behalf of its clients. Along with its partner First Reserve it has backed a 71MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Rovigo in northern Italy.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said last week’s UN Climate Change Conference in Bangkok saw governments reach agreement on implementation targets for the Cancun Agreements and the comprehensive Bali Action Plan put together in 2007, ahead of this year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Durban. Figueres said there was also a “strong desire” to build on the Kyoto Protocol and find a political solution in 2011.

US cleantech investor SAIL Capital Partners has launched a new fund to make mezzanine and equity investments in cleantech and sustainable industries in Louisiana. The Louisiana Sustainability Fund will target later-stage growth companies with proven technologies.

Global clean technology venture investment rose in the first quarter to $2.57bn – a 52% increase on the previous quarter, according to global research firm Cleantech Group. The leading sector in the quarter was solar at $641m in deal volume. Link*The US wind power industry grew* by 15% in 2010 and provided 26% of all new electric generating capacity in the country, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Annual Market Report for 2010. “The American wind industry is delivering, despite competing with energy sectors that have permanent government subsidies in place,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the AWEA. “Wind is consistently performing, adding 35% of all new generating capacity since 2007— that’s twice what coal and nuclear added combined.”

A new study from the World Bank’s Agriculture and Rural Development Team has looked at ways to get more agricultural land-use projects under the Clean Development Mechanism. The study “Agriculture and the Clean Development Mechanism” finds that “steeper monitoring, measurement and implementation costs” currently make agricultural land-use projects less attractive to investors.

Invesco Asset Management Ltd. has invested $32.5m (€22.5m) in biosolids firm MaxWest Environmental Systems via a private placement, according to investment firm Leaf Clean Energy which has backed MaxWest since 2008. Invesco, which has $60bn under management, is a “substantial shareholder” of Leaf.

*DBL Investors, the San Francisco*-based venture capital firm spun out of JP Morgan in 2008, has held a final close of its second venture capital fund at $140m. It will focus on cleantech, IT, health care and sustainability investments. Prior investments include Powerlight, Tesla Motors, SolarCity and Brightsource Energy. Release

Canada’s CIBC is holding its fourth annual Renewable Energy and Clean Technology Conference in Toronto this week. There will be a keynote presentation by Don Roberts, Vice Chairman, Renewable Energy and Clean Technology at the bank. Advisory

BNP Paribas Clean Energy Partners has bought a 25MW wind farm in Northern Ireland from UK wind project developer Renewable Energy Systems Ltd., according to reports. The fund bought the Gruig wind farm in County Antrim.