Clean Investor, June 21: Dutch pension-backed fund buys German wind farms

The Ampere Equity Fund – which has €320m from Dutch investors APG, PGGM, Delta Lloyd and Rabobank – has bought three wind farms in the Lüchow area of Germany. The 39.6MW portfolio was acquired from affiliates of Hurrikan Power Funding Holding GmbH. Ampere is managed by Triodos Investment Management.

The financial risks faced by the coal-fired utility industry have increased dramatically in recent years according to a new report from shareholder advocacy group As You Sow. Financial Risks of Investments in Coal examines the criteria investors should use in assessing their coal risk exposure. “I urge all investors with coal industry exposure to read this report,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment and research firm Trucost are hosting a breakfast briefing in London on June 23 to explain why environmental costs matter to investors – and how investors can identify and manage related risk and opportunity. Speakers include: James Gifford (PRI), Lise Moret (AXA Investment Managers), Howard Pearce (Environment Agency Pension Fund), Richard Mattison and Liesel Van Ast (Trucost).

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says its new forest Darkwoods Carbon pilot project in British Colombia has raised more than C$4m for its conservation work. It has sold carbon credits equating to 700,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions to Crown corporation the Pacific Carbon Trust and ERA Ecosystem Restoration Associates. Link

The United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative’s (UNEPFI) Principles for Sustainable Insurance took a step closer recently as the third of seven regional consultations was hosted by Canadian insurer The Co-operators in Guelph, Ontario on June 12-13. The finalised Principles will be launched at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro.

The Asset Owners Disclosure Project has criticised the “state of inaction” among institutional investors globally about the mitigation of climate-related risks in their portfolios. The AODP was responding to a report earlier this month from consulting firm Mercer. “The report shows that asset owners and asset managers currently have an abysmal 0.3% of total funds invested in low carbon technology and clean energy,” said AODP Executive Director Julian Poulter.

The global carbon management software and services market will reach $5.7bn by 2017, according to cleantech market research firm Pike Research. The market grew from $384m in 2009 to $705m in 2010. It said carbon management is becoming synonymous with energy management.The Living Planet Fund Management Company has launched a new compartment that deals with environmental technology, with €17m of seed funding. Called the ‘Living Planet Fund – Global Environment’, it covers are water, renewable energy, environmental consulting, energy efficiency, sustainable mobility, ecological materials, environmental chemistry and biology, waste management and natural resources management. Website

The Carbon Trust, the UK not-for-profit company, has found that almost half of the UK’s top companies do not have targets on greenhouse gas emissions, despite years of legislation and campaigning. The Trust has issued a new report – Raising the Bar – Building sustainable business value through environmental targets.

Search engine giant Google has announced that it is investing $280m to create a fund to help US solar provider SolarCity to finance more solar installations. “This is our largest clean energy project investment to date and brings our total invested in the clean energy sector to more than $680m,” said Rick Needham, Director of Green Business Operations on Google’s official blog.

Renewable energy company Wind Prospect Group has launched a corporate retail bond onto the UK market with the aim of raising £10m (€11.3m). The so-called ReBonds offer a fixed rate return of 7.5% over a four-year initial investment period, with a higher rate for larger investments. Capital raised will help fund the first commercial wind turbines in the UK’s West Midlands.

Henderson Global Investors has disclosed a 10.11% stake in AIM-listed wind power firm Renewable Energy Holdings Plc, which also has a 27% shareholding in ASX-listed Carnegie Wave Energy.

Zouk Capital has announced the final closing of its Cleantech Europe II fund at €230m. It said the fund would be Europe’s largest dedicated growth equity fund in the cleantech space; it’s already made its first investment: energy efficiency firm Anesco with Scottish & Southern Energy.

Cumulative grid-connected solar electric installations have reached more than 2.85 gigawatts in the US – enough to power nearly 600,000 homes – according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. The first quarter of 2011 saw the installation of 252MW of grid-connected photovoltaics, 66% year-over-year growth. The numbers come in the latest update of its new Solar Market Insight. Website

Comments on climate change by David Murray, chairman of Australia’s A$74.62bn (€55bn) Future Fund, have caused a stir. He was quoted by the Australian Financial Review as saying carbon dioxide has nothing to do with pollution and that there’s “no correlation between warming and carbon dioxide”.