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Environment, January 31: Institutional investors’ climate change group reacts to EU working paper

RI’s regular round-up of environmental investing developments

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), whose 72 members represent assets of around €6.5trn, has responded to the publication of a European Commission working paper on the options to move beyond 20% greenhouse gas emission cuts. It says it “opens the door for a discussion on how to reinvigorate the financial flows essential to enable the transition to a low carbon economy”. Link to working document

Deal flow in the renewable energy and clean technology space will “remain significant” in 2012, according to new analysis from consulting firm PWC. The sector is undergoing a “growing maturity and consolidation phase”, PWC says in its new Renewables Deals report. Link

The Threadneedle Low-Carbon Workplace Trust (LCW) has secured a “significant equity commitment” from real estate firm The Townsend Group – taking it to £100m. Launched in 2010, LCW is a partnership between fund firm Threadneedle Investments, developer Stanhope and the Carbon Trust. “This strategy is extremely relevant in promoting both responsible investment, which we are committed to under the United Nations PRI, and providing occupiers with efficient modern workspace and lower occupancy costs,” Townsend said.

The so-called “Marguerite Fund”, or the 2020 European Fund for Energy, Climate Change and Infrastructure, has acquired 36MW of EDF Energies Nouvelles’ 115MW Toul-Rosières solar photovoltaic project. The project is Europe’s largest solar photovoltaic (PV) project and is located at a former air base near Nancy, in the northeast of France.

The World Bank’s IFC and the UK government have said they will invest in the IFC Climate Catalyst Fund LP, a private equity fund of funds focused on providing growth capital for companies delivering resource efficiency and low-emission products and services in emerging markets. IFC will commit up to $75 while the UK government has approved an investment of £50m.Ecclesiastical Investment Management, the UK ethical investment firm, has signed up to the Carbon Disclosure Project’s Water Disclosure Project. It says water conservation will be one of the major challenges of the 21st century and adds that it also engages with companies to understand how businesses manage water risks.

Silicon Valley finance house Bridge Bank has launched a renewable energy financing group. The new Energy and Infrastructure Group (EIG) “will offer specialized financing for clients with proven sustainable alternative energy projects” in the US. The unit will be headed by Senior Vice President Scott Reising. Announcement

Aravis, the Zurich-based renewable energy investment firm with over CHF250m in assets, has teamed up with energy firm EBM and water utility EWB to form a new company focused on electricity from wind, small-scale hydro and solar power. Aravis has more than 30 investors, including industrial companies, pension funds, state funds, insurance companies and family offices. Link

Innovative financing and pricing flexibility are the keys to preparing the US’s ageing freshwater systems for growing demand and environmental challenges, according to a new report. The Financing Sustainable Water Infrastructure report is the product of a meeting convened last year by The Johnson Foundation, American Rivers and investor coalition Ceres.

Sheeraz Haji, chief executive at research firm Cleantech Group, has argued that 2012 will be a record year for cleantech innovation financing. “The death of cleantech venture capital has been greatly exaggerated,” he writes in a blog post. “Yes, there were a few massive failures in 2011, and of course it’s been difficult for a number of cleantech venture capitalists to raise funds.” But cleantech did not implode, and neither did venture capital, he argues.

Insurance giant Allianz SE and Washington-based carbon finance business C-Quest Capital will finance around 8.5m energy-efficient light bulbs in India in return for certified emission reductions (CERs). Reuters cited Allianz Climate Solutions’ CEO Armin Sandhoevel as saying the 10-year project would take place in Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and northern Delhi.