Clean Investor, July 26: Co-operative AM buys into Indian energy firm… to engage on environment

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

The Co-operative Asset Management (TCAM) has bought a stake in Indian energy company Essar Energy – partly to engage with it on environmental standards and regulation. “Now that we have a stake in Essar we will use our ability to engage more heavily with the management to get them to focus on how they can help us remove that [ESG] discount – by being more forward thinking about environmental standards and regulation.” The comments come in TCAM’s latest responsible investments review.

Calvert Investments says it will now include Ford Motor Co. in its Calvert Social Index as the carmaker now meets its environmental standards. “Ford has made significant improvements in its approach to vehicle-related greenhouse gas (GHG) missions and fuel economy,” Calvert said. Calvert remains committed to its engagement with Ford on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues. Announcement

The Greenprint Foundation, an alliance of real estate investors committed to cutting carbon emissions in the global property industry, has released its new Greenprint Performance Report (renamed from the Greenprint Carbon Index). The report found that portfolio properties’ greenhouse gas emissions decreased 0.7% from 2009 to 2010 on a like-for-like basis.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services says clean energy (i.e. non-fossil-fuel) is uneconomic without government subsidies and regulation. “We see risks relating to the sustainability of renewable energy incentives and government policies on low carbon generation, along with transmission capacity constraints and the reliability of some newer technologies,” said Michael Wilkins, head of environmental finance at S&P.

Dutch pension fund backed Ampere Equity Fund has bought two early stage wind parks in Spain developed by a subsidiary of Spanish construction firm Aldesa Construcciones for an undisclosed price, according to a Bloomberg report. The fund is managed by Triodos Investment Management and has €320m from Dutch investors APG, PGGM, Delta Lloyd and Rabobank.BlackRock New Energy Investment Trust Plc says exposure to the wind sector, led by wind turbine firm Vestas, has “continued to detract from performance”. BNET added in a portfolio update: “Ongoing concerns over the ability of wind companies to meet their 2011 guidance have been a headwind to the equities.” It has initiated positions in an unnamed energy efficiency company and an Indian renewable energy developer.

A new $300m (€207m) cleantech venture capital firm – True North Venture Partners – has been launched by former First Solar CEO and co-founder Mike Ahearn. The firm, which will invest in the energy, water, agriculture and waste sectors, says it has “commenced operations and expects to be fully staffed by the end of 2011”.

Clean energy investment firm Hudson Clean Energy Partners is expanding into China with the appointment of Zhongmin Shen as its top executive in the country. Shen joins from Huaneng Invesco WLR Investment Consulting Company, where he was CEO. Green Energy Reporter quoted the company as saying a Renminbi (RMB)-denominated clean energy fund is a possibility.

The Global Environment Facility’s Incentive Mechanism for Forests has had its first four projects approved. The projects in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Jamaica and Turkey will GEF funding totalling $19.3m and will result in a reduction of more than 2.7m tonnes of CO2 emissions. Link

Climate Change Capital has called off its previously announced £61m (€69m) purchase of 50% of the 72MW Braes of Doune onshore wind farm from Scottish and Southern Energy, according to reports. “Climate Change Capital has decided to postpone its associated fundraising and so the asset will not be sold to the fund,” said SSE in a statement.