Clean Investor, January 3: Munich Re to invest €2.5bn in renewables

RI’s regular round-up of clean investing developments

Reinsurance giant Munich Re plans to invest about €2.5bn in the next few years in renewable energy assets such as wind farms, solar projects and new electricity grids, according to an Associated Press report. AP cited Robert Pottmann, who is Head of Renewable Energy & New Technologies (RENT) at Munich Ergo AssetManagement GmbH, Munich Re’s asset management arm, in a wider report on German renewables.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged former top executives of Minnesota-based clean coal technology company Bixby Energy Systems for making “false and misleading statements” to investors. The SEC says Bixby raised at least $43m (€33m) from investors during a nine-year period. The Federal Bureau of Investigation says it arrested former CEO Robert Walker on December 21.

TMO Renewables, the UK biomass-to-ethanol firm in which fund firm Jupiter has a 9.4% stake, has completed a £7.6m financing round from new and existing shareholders, according to reports. TMO, chaired by former Environment Minister Tim Yeo, said in December that CEO Hamish Curran would step down to be replaced on an interim basis by CFO Robert Parker.

UK-listed energy firm Scottish & Southern Energy has announced it now has more than 1GW of onshore wind farm capacity in operation for the first time. SSE’s onshore wind farm capacity has increased from just 40MW six years ago, and now exceeds its conventional hydroelectric capacity of 1,150MW for the first time. SSE plans to invest £1.5-1.7bn on mainly renewable energy in the five years to 2015.

China: Indices measuring greenhouse gas emissions and power consumption will be published by the National Bureau of Statistics on a pilot basis next year, according to the China Daily. It quoted NBS chief Ma Jiantang as saying compiling the statistics would be one of the most important tasks for 2012.China’s largest offshore wind farm went live in a pilot at the end of December. Longyuan Power’s new 99MW scheme in Rudong county in Jiangsu was connected to the grid on December 28, according to a report in China Daily. It added China plans to have 1,000GW of installed wind capacity by 2050, making up 17% of total electricity consumption.

Fund investors have been hit by German-listed solar firm Solar Millennium AG’s insolvency filing last month. the company said said limited partners in its Ibersol and Andasol Spanish solar project funds would be informed by the relevant fund management company regarding the next steps. Solar Millennium itself is 29% owned by institutional investors.

The US solar energy industry installed more than 1,000MW of solar capacity in the year to the end of the third quarter – surpassing the 2010 annual total of 887MW, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The figures come in the US Solar Market Insight: 3rd Quarter 2011 report.

The Nordic Investment Bank and Norwegian energy company Østfold Energi have signed a 12-year, NOK179m (€23m) loan for financing investments in wind and hydropower production. It will help finance two district heating projects, rehabilitation of five hydropower dams, the construction of the second phase of a wind farm and the building of a new hydropower plant. Link

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) says companies have announced plans for almost £2.5bn of investment in renewable energy projects in the UK, with the potential to create almost 12,000 jobs. It added that the UK achieved a 27% increase in renewable energy consumption from 2008 to 2010, representing 3.3% of total energy consumed.