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Tag Archives: Sustainable Investments

"Moving from Green vs. Gold to Green EQUALS Gold"

Thomas Friedman’s latest column in the New York Times reaffirms our conviction that energy, climate and resource concerns are of primary importance around the world.

Those who are late to the recognize these challenges will be in for a rude awakening…

“The planet is getting flatter and more crowded.  There will be two billion more people here by 2050, and they will all want to live and drive just like us. And when they do, there is going to be one monster traffic jam and pollution cloud, unless we learn how to get more mobility, lighting, heating and cooling from less energy and with less waste – with so many more people.”

When you have a global market, with a burgeoning population, that faces rising scarcity of resources and still so much waste in how we make and consume things, there is a great market opportunity for innovation.  Energy and resource efficiency, Friedman says, will be “the next great global industry.”

The world is “going from green vs. gold to green equals gold.”

Read Friedman’s complete column here

Read our recent Q&A on investment opportunities in Natural Mega Themes

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Strong Connection Between Economy & Environment – Investors Taking Action

Many of the world’s leading executives and investors believe in a strong connection between the economy and the environment. Talk of a “political battle” between the two major focal areas is mere “nonsense,” says Mark Vachon, Vice President of GE’s Ecomagination program.

In a recent interview, Vachon shot down the “false dichotomy” that some are trying to present between attaining profits and respecting our planet.  “There’s this theory that you have to pick one: economics or environmental performance.  That’s nonsense.  Innovation is the way you can have both.”

Over $5 billion has been invested in renewable energy, efficiency and smart grid technologies as part of GE’s Ecomagination program.  By 2015, GE plans to double investments in the sector to $10 billion.  These investments have paid off handsomely, noted Vachon.  With $85 billion in revenue, GE’s cleantech investments have doubled the performance of the rest of its portfolio.

“Companies that don’t get this, really risk becoming irrelevant to the marketplace. Whether you believe it for climate change or just the markets that are developing, it is our responsibility as businesses to be responsible to the design  signal that the world is telling us.”

The trend is undeniable.  Investments in clean energy and related technologies are accelerating. In 2011, investments in clean energy trumped those in fossil fuels for the first time.  In total, $260 billion was funneled into the clean energy sector.  Since 2004, cumulative investment numbers over $1 trillion dollars.

Based on our current path, Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts $400 billion will be invested annually in proven renewable energy technologies such as solar PV, solar thermal, wind energy and geothermal by 2020.  Many sophisticated investors view clean energy as one of the greatest wealth creation opportunities in history.

For more information on how we invest in clean energy, please visit us here.

 

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Norway Commits $300 million/year to Support Carbon Markets & Energy Efficiency

The oil-rich nation of Norway has announced significant financial commitments to support broader global access to energy and the development of a new carbon marketplace.

As part of its “Energy+ Partnership” with the UK, France, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands and South Korea, Norway will invest $300 million a year to further these goals.  Poor, developing nations including Bhutan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia, Maldives, Morocco, Nepal, Senegal and Tanzania will receive aid to build new, efficient power plants and increase public access to energy.

The Energy+ Partnership initiative will be launched this June at the Rio+20 summit.  The top priority of the conference will be broadening global access to energy.  The International Energy Agency (IEA) warns this undertaking may cost $48 billion a year – at a minimum.

Included in the Energy+ agenda are measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in developing nations and develop practical ways to establish new carbon markets.  Instead of the project-by-project approach established by the U.N.’s Clean Development Mechanism system, many governments are now advocating for the creation of carbon markets across entire sectors.  Norway’s investments will go towards furthering these markets in energy.

Read the full article here

 

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State of the Union Address – Renewed Focus on Energy

Investing in clean energy, expanding energy efficiency programs and harnessing America’s vast natural gas resources received considerable emphasis in President Obama’s State of the Union Address.  Below are key excerpts from his speech:

Natural Gas

“…nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in American-made energy. Over the last three years, we’ve opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I’m directing my administration to open more than 75 percent of our potential offshore oil and gas resources.”

“This country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy. A strategy that’s cleaner, cheaper, and full of new jobs. We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years.”

“The development of natural gas will create jobs and power trucks and factories that are cleaner and cheaper, proving that we don’t have to choose between our environment and our economy.”

Clean Energy

“Our partnership with the private sector has already positioned America to be the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Because of federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled, and thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.”

“I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here. We’ve subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s long enough”

“The Department of Defense…the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history -– with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”

Energy Efficiency

“The easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. So here’s a proposal: Help manufacturers eliminate energy waste in their factories and give businesses incentives to upgrade their buildings. Their energy bills will be $100 billion lower over the next decade, and America will have less pollution, more manufacturing, more jobs for construction workers who need them.”

Read the full transcript of the speech here

 

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Google, TransCanada & Warren Buffett: New Investors in Solar Power

Solar power installations in the United States have reached record highs this year.  As we reported previously, third quarter photovoltaic installations rose by 40%, bringing total installed capacity above 1GW for the first time in U.S. history.

As the year draws to a close, the North American sector is attracting notable new investments from high profile corporate and individual investors such as Google, TransCanada and Warren Buffett.

Google, in conjunction with private equity firm KKR & Co, is buying four solar power plants in California from solar developer Recurrent Energy (owned by Sharp Corp).  Together, these plants have a total capacity of 88MW.  Google’s latest purchase brings its total investment in solar to over $915 million.

Making its first investment in solar, TransCanada – in the news recently surrounding its Keystone XL pipeline to connect Canada’s Alberta tar sands region with refineries in the Gulf – will pay $470 million to Canadian Solar to develop nine plants across Ontario, Canada.  Canadian Solar will take advantage of Ontario’s generous feed-in-tariff program to incentivize the generation of electricity from renewable sources.

Last but certainly not least, we come to Warren Buffett.  The “Oracle of Omaha” has invested heavily into solar via MidAmerican Energy’s (a holding company of Berkshire Hathaway) plan to buy First Solar’s $2 billion Topaz solar photovoltaic plant in Southern California.

The plant is currently under construction, but upon completion by early 2015, will have the capacity to generate enough energy to meet the demands of approximately 160,000 homes.

“MidAmerican is the No. 1 owner of wind-powered energy generation among US rate-regulated utilities,” remarked Greg Abel, the Chairman, President & CEO.  “Adding solar energy to our generation portfolio is a strategic move to invest in yet another renewable energy source.”

Abel continued, “This project also demonstrates that solar energy is a commercially viable technology without the support of governmental loan guarantees and reflects the type of solar and other renewable generation that MidAmerican will continue to seek to add to its unregulated portfolio.”

Read about Google and TransCanada here

Read more about Warren Buffett and MidAmerican’s purchase here

Learn more about investing in solar and renewable energy

 
 

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Clean Energy, Efficiency and Smart Energy Technologies Achieve Trillion Dollar Global Investment Mark

As we come to the close of what has been a challenging year for the global economy, we are pleased to report positive news in the clean energy investment sector.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) data shows that for the first time ever, investments in clean energy are surpassing investments in new fossil fuel power.  The clean energy sector recently received its trillionth investment dollar since BNEF record-keeping began in 2004.

2010 saw $187 billion of investment capital funneled into wind, solar, wave and biomass projects, compared with $157 billion for natural gas, coal and oil.

Since 2004, annual clean energy investment has increased nearly five times over, from $52 billion in 2004 to $243 billion in 2010; achieving a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29%.  Over the next eight years, BNEF predicts that figure will double, reaching $395 billion a year by 2020.

“The trillionth-dollar milestone shows that the world is not waiting for a deal on climate in order to start turning the super-tanker away from fossil fuels,” said BNEF chief executive Michael Liebreich, referring to the recent climate conference in Durban, South Africa.

“It should serve as a message to the UN and all those in Durban to stop obsessing about a binding deal to cap carbon emissions, and to think much harder about how to speed up investment in the solutions. Another five years of investment growth at the same compound rates, and the world will have broken the back of emissions growth.”

Despite the general economic malaise and continued sovereign debt problems in the European Union, spending in clean energy has been resilient.  Falling costs and favorable government policies have sped up the pace of wind and solar power installments in places such as China, South Korea, Germany, Italy and the Middle East.

Year after year, actual annual investment levels in clean energy have consistently been higher than predicted investment levels.  Last year was no exception.  Despite somewhat lowered expectations early on, a record $243 billion was invested  in clean energy around the world in 2010.

Read more here…

 

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Investment in Clean Energy May Double to $395bn by 2020

Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts strong growth in solar and off-shore wind energy may propel annual investments in clean energy to double by 2020, reaching an estimated $395 billion a year. By 2030, that figure may rise to $460 billion annually.

Within 20 years, the percentage of total world power generation supplied by clean energy may rise to 15.7% up from 12.6% last year.  This growth will continue despite the gloomy economic environment.

“Big winners over the next 20 years will be the emerging renewable energy hubs in Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa – by 2020 the markets outside of the European Union, U.S., Canada and China will account for 50% of the global annual investment in renewable energy capacity,” said Guy Turner, director of commodity research.

The world’s current major players – China, Europe, The United States and Canada – will continue their investments in the sector.  China was the world’s leader in new clean energy investment last year with $51.1 billion, by far the largest expenditure of any country.

In 2009, Asia and Oceania overtook the Americas in terms of regional clean energy spending, and by 2014, it is likely to leap over the Europe, the current leader.

The most rapid growth in spending rates will come from India, the Middle East and Africa, where rates will grow between 10% – 18% over the next decade.  Emerging energy technologies are rising significantly in the world’s emerging markets.  We believe this trend is integral to our clean energy investment strategy.

Read the full article here

Read more about Investing in Clean Energy

 
 

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