Warren Buffett has opened up a new source of institutional financing of renewable energy projects in the US, after a $US850 million bond offering for the $2.4 billion Topaz Solar Farm in California closed heavily oversubscribed. The debt was assigned the lowest possible investment grade rating of BBB- by Fitch Ratings and other agencies, but the response from investors paves the way for a second tranche of bonds for the 550MW Topaz project, and for similar offerings for other projects.
Chris Yonan, a project finance director at Barclays Capital, told Bloomberg the demand shows that renewable-energyprojects, which provide reliable revenue through long-term contracts to sell power to utilities, are becoming more appealing to investors. “There are a lot of takeaways here for wind and other segments of the renewable-energy market. It’s our hope that more and more of these deals get done.”
The Topaz bonds were the largest for a renewable-energy project without a US government guarantee and the first to be rated by the three largest ratings companies, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Buffett’s energy company MidAmerican has become the largest generator of wind energy among regulated US utilities by investing or committing $6 billion to such projects. It has recently invested heavily into solar PV projects.
The not-for-profit group ClimateWorks has released a series of video animations outlining how Australians can take up low cost opportunities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The animations, one of which you can view here, feature a character known as CP or Carbon Particle. “The online component also uses video case studies of a real household, farmer and small business taking action to reduce their emissions,” Skarbek says, adding that Australia could reduce its emissions by 25 per cent by 2020 but many people did not understand how this could be achieved and were confused about what they could do.