08 September 2010

China green investment, VC in solar, peak oil and other sustainability news for business

Top Stories

"China trumps US in race for renewable energy investors"reliability high.
According to BusinessGreen, a report from Ernst & Young says "China has surged ahead of the United States in the race to become the most attractive place for renewable energy investment," and "Ben Warren, Ernst & Young's environment and energy infrastructure advisory leader, said China's steady rise to the top of the index reflected the government's consistent support for renewables." See BusinessGreen. Another story on the E&Y report at Bloomberg.

"China targets seven strategic industries for growth"reliability high.
A story in Reuters says China has reaffirmed its commitment to several strategic industrial sectors including alternative energy, alternative-fuel cars, energy efficiency, environmental protection and four other sectors. The article says, "The State Council, China's cabinet, said it would encourage banks to lend to the cutting-edge sectors. It also urged venture capital firms and private equity funds to finance their growth, according to a statement posted on the main government portal, www.gov.cn." More at Reuters.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

"eBay delivers reusable boxes in waste clampdown"reliability high.
BusinessGreen reports that eBay will distribute 100,000 specially designed reusable boxes to its users to cut down on waste, saying, "The box is made of 100 per cent FSC-certified and recycled material, printed with water-based inks, and is designed to require minimal tape." Users can report the boxes' locations on TheBox.eBay.com. See BusinessGreen story.

"Data Centers Target Higher Energy Efficiency, Lower Carbon Footprint"reliability high.
Environmental Leader says "data centers across the nation are implementing a host of initiatives aimed at energy efficiency and reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions" and gives examples including approaches taken at Georgia Data Center, MetLife, System Source and Digital Realty Trust. More at Environmental Leader.

"Suzlon Energy to develop 30MW of wind projects in Rajasthan"reliability high.
NewNet reports: "Suzlon Energy has secured a 30MW order from Altrade Group to install 30MW of wind capacity in the Jaisalmer and Jodhpur districts of Rajasthan. ... Under the contract, Suzlon will set up, operate and maintain the projects, which will comprise 20 Suzlon S82 wind turbine generators, each with a capacity of 1.5MW, and are due to be commissioned by January 2011." See NewNet.

"Top Ten Solar Venture Capital Investors"reliability medium.
Eric Wesoff at Greentech Solar looks at the VCs that have participated in solar energy deals. He says, "The fact is that very little, if any, of the billions of VC dollars put into solar in the last few years have yielded the type of results that VCs look for." So he lists "ten VC firms that invest in solar and select them for testicular fortitude, style points and sheer hype and vision." See Greentech Media.

"MSCI debuts new environmental index series"reliability high.
BusinessGreen reports "MSCI yesterday became the latest investment advisory firm to launch a series of environmental indices designed to help investors assess the performance of green firms," and "The 23 different new indices are divided by geography, technology, industrial sector and ethical values." It quotes Head of MSCI Index and ESG Research Remy Briand: "MSCI's clients worldwide, especially those who are signatories to the United Nation’s Principles for Responsible Investing (UNPRI), are increasingly focused on ESG issues. ESG factors help assess externalities that can impact an entire portfolio. A growing number of asset managers are now subject to ESG-related mandates that will shape their strategies going forward." More at BusinessGreen.

Government and Regulation

"Military Study Warns of a Potentially Drastic Oil Crisis"reliability high.
Der Spiegel reports that a study prepared by the Future Analysis department of the Bundeswehr Transformation Center, "a think tank tasked with fixing a direction for the German military", a draft of which has been leaked on the internet, "warns of shifts in the global balance of power, of the formation of new relationships based on interdependency, of a decline in importance of the western industrial nations, of the 'total collapse of the markets' and of serious political and economic crises" driven by peaking of oil production. The report says there is "some probability that peak oil will occur around the year 2010 and that the impact on security is expected to be felt 15 to 30 years later." More highlights of leaked draft. See Der Spiegel. [We don't usually include "peak oil" items, since they are not really news at this point. This one is just a reminder that the issue is being taken seriously by governments and especially militaries around the world. Militaries have to plan for the worst, and from their point of view peak oil qualifies.]

Opinion and Editorial

"Weird Weather in a Warming World"reliability medium.
Andrew Revkin writes an op-ed piece about extreme weather events and their relationship, if any, to climate change. He says, "Though today’s extremes can’t be reliably attributed to the greenhouse effect, they do give us the feel, sweat and all, of what’s to come if emissions are not reined in. Martin Hoerling told me that by the end of the century, this summer’s heat  may be the status quo in parts of Russia, not a devastating fluke. Similar projections exist for Washington, the American Southwest, much of India and many other spots." In The New York Times.