Clean Investor, October 4: Biomass exchange set for launch

The regular Tuesday round-up of clean investing news

Anglo-Dutch exchange group APXENDEX says it will launch the world’s first biomass exchange on November 3 in cooperation with the Port of Rotterdam Authority. It will trade wood pellets used to replace coal in electricity generation. Link

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the US development finance institution, has approved up to $310m (€229.3m) in financing for a project that will double the generating capacity of a geothermal power plant in Kenya. OrPower 4, a subsidiary of Nevada-based Ormat Technologies, will use the OPIC loan to add up to 52MW of capacity to the existing 48MW Olkaria plant northwest of Nairobi.
Global spending on biofuels will total $46.6bn in 2011, according to research firm Visiongain’s Biofuels Market 2011-2021 report. It comes as the market “gained increased interest as the price of oil increased rapidly over the last year”.

The Nordic Investment Bank has signed an €240m loan agreement with Danish energy company DONG Energy for financing the 111-turbine Unhalt offshore wind farm. In March, Danish pension funds PensionDanmark and PKA teamed up to buy 50% of the facility.

The value of buyout deals in the UK renewables sector has rocketed in the first half if 2011, according to figures from law firm McGrigors. It said £585m worth of deals closed so far this year, a figure which is nearly ten times greater than in 2010. And it found over €2bn has been raised for investment in renewable energy projects in the UK and Continental Europe.

Clean energy investment firm Impax Asset Management has closed a €330m private equity fund that will initially focus on European wind investments. More than half the investors were UK pension funds and others included Finnish, German, Japanese and American investors, Managing Director Peter Rossbach was quoted as saying by Bloomberg News.

Meanwhile, Impax says its assets under management and advisory were £2.1bn as at August 31 – up 15.0% since the start of the 2011 financial year but down 11.2% on the £2.36bn reached at the end of the first half on March 31. Announcement*A new $200m Chinese clean tech private equity* fund has been launched by Origo Partners Plc, the AIM-listed, Beijing-based private equity firm and fund firm Ecofin Ltd. China Cleantech Partners LP will invest in privately-held Chinese clean tech companies, with a specific focus on alternative energy, environmental remediation, water, and energy storage and distribution. Link

Separate mandates for investing in green assets may be the answer to asset managers’ lack of understanding of green infrastructure, says UKSIF Chief Executive and Green Investment Bank board member Penny Shepherd. “The green infrastructure opportunity is huge and is a significant part of the total infrastructure opportunity,” as saying by the Financial Times.

The European Parliament has approved a motion saying the UN’s forthcoming Rio de Janeiro summit on sustainable development should set “accountable targets”, including global goals on renewable energy and energy efficiency. The motion was approved with 449 votes in favour, 103 against and 45 abstentions. Announcement

South Africa’s Old Mutual has backed the FutureGrowth Agriculture Fund, which has completed a €40m first closing. The fund is modelled on SNS’s African Agriculture Fund and focuses particularly on African investors. It is run by UFF Asset Management.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon launched a ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative to “catalyse action at all levels”. It will bring together leaders from government, finance, business and civil society and establish partnerships that will make sustainable energy for all a reality, the UN said.

Global solar photovoltaic module shipments are forecast to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.7% from 2010 to 2015 according to new research from IDC Energy Insights. It added that added that shipments will reach 30GW in 2015 with an estimated market value of $330bn.

A recording of the recent Investor Network on Climate Risk webinar is available here. The topic is Sustainable Commodities Investment, Forest Footprint Disclosure.