Clean Investor, January 18: NBIM raises stake in wind power firm

RI’s new regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

Norges Bank Investment Management, the arm of the Norwegian central bank which runs the assets of the NOK3.1trn (€398bn) Government Pension Fund, has rasied its stake in Danish wind turbine maker Vestas Wind Systems to 10.3m shares, or 5.05%. Vestas’ other significant shareholders include BlackRock with 5.03% and The Capital Group Cos’ Capital Research and Management Co. (5.23%). Vestas announcement

Meanwhile, NBIM’s stake in London-listed Chinese solar cell maker Jetion Solar Holdings has slipped from 5.09% in September to 4.23%, although the holding is stable at 3.2m shares.

Blackrock New Energy Trust, the £116m (€138.8m) trust helmed by Robin Batchelor and Poppy Allonby, has initiated an investment in privately held second-generation biofuels developer LS9 Inc. The California-based firm develops clean fuels and sustainable chemicals using synthetic biology. BNET also started an investment in Russian hydroelectric power concern RusHydro. Link to portfolio update

CalSTRS, the $140.1bn (€105.4bn) California State Teachers’ Retirement System has joined The Climate Registry, the North American voluntary greenhouse gas registry. “CalSTRS is committed to setting an example by ‘walking the talk’ and reporting our progress in reducing our carbon emissions and footprint,” said Jack Ehnes, CalSTRS’ CEO.

Canada’s C$131.6bn (€100.1bn) Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is to help finance three hydroelectric projects in the Pacific Northwest. The Caisse has completed a C$25m financing with the newly merged hydro developers Riverbank Power and Symbiotics Energy, with the projects expected to be commissioned in 2012. Release

Aqua Resources Fund, the £38.7m investment scheme managed by FourWinds Capital Management, has put a further $2.3m into its China and Thailand water joint venture with Malaysian infrastructure firm Ranhill. The fund had originally invested $12.5m for 45% of Ranhill Water Technologies (Cayman) Ltd. in 2009. Link*responsAbility Social* Investments AG, the Swiss social investments asset manager with $910m invested, has announced the first close of its new venture capital fund at $15m. The company is now taking subscriptions for responsAbility Ventures I from $250,000 from “interested qualified investors”. Release

The US Environmental Protection Agency has put into force rules requiring large utilities emitting more than 25,000 tons of GHG emissions per annum to obtain permits demonstrating best practice and technologies for reducing emissions. The rules are part of the Clean Air Act for 2011. Later this year, the EPA will propose new standards for fossil fuel plants and oil refineries, which represent nearly 40% of US GHG pollution.
Japan has indefinitely shelved plans to develop a national carbon emissions trading system. The system had been expected to start in April 2013. The government said it would still introduce tax incentives to lower greenhouse gas emissions. South Korea has also reportedly delayed a parliamentary debate over emissions trading laws until February.

CO2Benchmark, the emissions data firm where former Reuters Editor-in-Chief Geert Linnebank is a non-executive director, is making its emissions comparison tool available for free. It lets users compare firms’ emissions on a like-for-like basis. Link

A report assessing how smaller companies inform their investors of climate change risks and opportunities has been released by Pax World Management and Clean Air-Cool Planet. Risk and Opportunity in a Low-Carbon Business Climate: Small & Mid-Caps and Climate Change is available here

Australia’s Change Investment Management has ditched China High-Speed Transmission, which supplies gear systems to wind turbines, from its sustainable Change Opportunities Fund. Change IM – saying the wind market remains “challenging”. The global equities fund is run by Nicki Ashton and Lisa Wade in partnership with research firms Trucost and Evalueserve. Link