Clean Investor, March 15: Hermes EOS takes 7% of electric fuel cell firm

RI’s regular Tuesday review of clean investing news

Hermes Equity Ownership Services, the engagement arm of BT Pension Scheme-owned Hermes Fund Managers, has disclosed a 6.753% stake in Enova Systems. California-based Enova develops electric, hybrid and fuel cell digital power-management. In 2009, Shell Asset Management Co. (SAMCO) disclosed a near 20% stake in the firm.

The 72-member €6.5trn Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change says it is crucial that European Union policy incentives for low carbon investments and funding mechanisms “are structured to take the commercial realities faced by investors into account”. The IIGCC was responding to the EU’s Roadmap to 2050 and Energy Efficiency proposals.

Crédit Agricole’s Languedoc and Sud Méditerranée regional French banks have won a call for tenders put out by the Languedoc-Roussillon Regional Authority to deploy a regional fund set up to finance solar power projects. The €400m fund has been financed 50/50 by the European Investment Bank and a pool of banks led by Crédit Agricole Languedoc. Link

Kommunalbanken Norway, the Norwegian funding agency, has returned to the Japanese “uridashi” market to launch a clean energy bond – whose proceeds will be used to finance Norwegian municipal initiatives to reduce climate change. The issue is expected to raise around $180m. Link

The Alberta Investment Management Corporation (AIMCo), the body which manages some C$71bn (€52.5bn) for Alberta pensions, endowments and government funds, is among new investors in solar start-up firm Alta Devices. Alta has raised $72m from investors such as Kleiner Perkins, Dow Chemical, Good Energies and Energy Technology Ventures (the GE/ConocoPhillips/NRG venture). Link

Jon Moulton, the founder of venture capital firm Alchemy Partners, is to launch a £200m (€231.2m) investment fund called Greensphere Capital which will focus on sustainable energy and infrastructure, according to reports. He will chair the fund, which will be run by former executives at Singapore state investor GIC and BP, the Sunday Telegraph reported

Fourteen companies will be added to the NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Energy Index following a semi-annual review. The additions are: Advanced Analogic Technologies, Active Power, Ameresco, Amtech Systems, Ballard Power Systems, Codexis, Capstone Turbine Corp., EMCORE, FuelCell Energy, Gevo, JinkoSolar, SemiLEDs Corp., China Ming Yang Wind Power and Valence Technology.

There is a “vast and seemingly unlimited” future market potential for climate change investment products, says investment consultant Mercer in research commentary called Climate Change-Themed Products – Opportunities for Investors.The Luxembourg Fund Labelling Agency, LuxFLAG, has launched an environmental impact fund label, following on from its established microfinance label, which now accredits 14 funds with €2.5bn in assets. LuxFLAG general manager Daniel Bax told Responsible Investor it’s looking for members to form an eligibility committee.

Clean tech fund firms Impax Asset Management and Hudson Clean Energy are among a group of investors suing the Spanish government over cuts to solar power subsidies, according to a Bloomberg report citing law firm Allen & Overy.
Some 13 European development finance institutions have combined to establish the Interact Climate Change Facility. The €400m ICCF will fund private sector operations proposed by any member of the Association of European Development Finance Institutions. Link

The European Investment Bank is providing a €80m loan to finance Germany’s first commercial offshore wind farm, being developed in the Baltic Sea by Energie Baden-Württemberg. Announcement

The EIB also said it would invest up to €75m in a European energy efficiency fund to be launched with the European Commission and other investors. The fund – part of a new European Energy Efficiency Facility (EEE-F) – will aim to finance sustainable energy projects developed at mainly local or regional level. Announcement

US development finance institution the Overseas Private Investment Corporation has announced financing for clean energy projects. It has approved $58m for a 46MW hydro plant in Georgia and $90m for a sustainable biomass project in Liberia. Link

The Climate Bonds Initiative is launching its schedule for issuance of bonds worth up to $250m in wind energy projects at the European Wind Energy Association conference. It’s also launching its international standard to ensure the integrity of this new class of climate change investment. Chairman Sean Kidney says there’s c.$6-8trn of climate-related bonds in the pipeline for 2011. Link

The Carbon Disclosure Project is launching CDP Carbon Action, an initiative aimed at working with shareholders to help them improve their climate change initiatives. The CDP is currently seeking signatories for the initiative’s first questionnaire; the deadline to sign up is April 1.

Global investment in clean energy and the carbon markets in 2010 was up 30% on 2009 to a record $243bn, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “Total worldwide new investment in clean energy surged last year by over $50bn into new record territory,” said BNEF CEO Michael Liebreich.