Clean Investor, July 5: SWIP eyes renewable energy, energy efficiency, water & food

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP), the funds firm with £146.2bn (€162.6bn) under management, says it sees “a substantial opportunity” to increase focus on companies solving global sustainability problems – renewable energy, energy efficiency, water supply and food supply. The effort won’t be limited to its specialist funds “but will inform SWIP’s investment decision-making across all of its portfolios”. SWIP’s Responsible Investment report

The European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Deutsche Bank have launched the European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF). The €265m EEEF, which aims to provide market-based financing for commercially viable public energy efficiency and renewable energy projects within the EU, is targeting a €800m size with the addition of “further investors”.

Australia’s $600bn Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), has joined the International Climate Bond Standards Board, the programme to enable investors and governments to assess the integrity of environmental claims for green bonds. They join members including the California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer, the Carbon Disclosure Project and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Nathan Fabian, CEO of the IGCC, said: “Climate Bonds Standards will provide a simple tool for investors to screen the opportunities that come before them.” Some $12bn of bonds backed by investments related to climate change solutions have already been issued – against $105trn in bonds managed by asset managers in 2010.

Eurazeo, the France-listed €4bn investment company, is providing renewable energy firm Fonroche with an additional €15m of equity – which follows an initial €25m investment in 2010. In addition, French bank Credit Agricole has provided a €52m line of credit to Fonroche. Link*German wind energy firm* Windreich AG has unveiled a 6.5%, €75m corporate bond. The subscription period runs until July 13, but may end early if the issue is oversubscribed.

Japan and the United Nations University will co-host the second meeting of the Transitional Committee for the design of the “Green Climate Fund” in Tokyo on July 13-14, according to Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It follows the first meeting in Mexico City at the end of April and builds towards the design of the fund ahead of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change meeting in Durban later this year.

Deutsche Bank has released research into carbon capture and storage entitled CCS for climate protection – important, tedious and costly. It floats the idea of not only storing CO2 but turning it into a useful commodity (carbon capture and usage, CCU).

Witan Investment Trust plc, the £1.3bn (€1.4bn) equity investment trust, has disclosed a 9.28% holding in Ludgate Environmental Fund Ltd., the £58m AIM-listed closed-end investment company focused on cleantech.

The Co-operative Bank has provided £14.5m of project finance for AIM-listed UK wind farm firm Renewable Energy Generation. “We believe medium scale renewables projects such as these can make a significant contribution to the country’s future energy mix and help with the required transition to a low carbon economy,” said James Sutcliffe, Senior Manager in The Co-operative’s Renewable Energy Team.

Solar photovoltaic panel makers will need to continue to drive down production costs and maintain their reputations for quality and dependability, according to a report from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services. The comments come in the “Who Will Be Second Solar? Understanding Competition In Solar Panel Manufacturing” study.