Mixed Greens: Ecofin’s local cleantech fund

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Ecofin launches local cleantech fund; CleanTeq sees boom in CSG water treatment, the AFR’s solar “scoop”.

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London-based investment management firm Ecofin has launched an Australian offshoot after buying a majority stake in the fledgling cleantech investor Change Investment Management. The new firm will focus on long term “mega trends” such as energy security, climate change, population growth, urbanization and food and water scarcity. It will be run by CIM founders Lisa Wade and Nicki Ashton, who sold 51 per cent of the business to Ecofin in a deal agreed late last year. They had founded their business in 2009, after leaving Arkx Investment Management.

Ecofin chief investment officer Bernard Lambilliotte said the new business would expand Ecofin’s investment expertise and experience investing in the global utilities, infrastructure, energy and alternative energy sectors, with a specialist thematic approach developed by Wade and Ashton. “We believe we have created a particularly compelling proposition for new and existing investors,” he said in statement.

Gas to water

Wasabi Energy and Nippon Gas have formed a joint venture to develop technologies that could be used for the rapidly growing opportunities to treat waste water produced from the coal seam gas industry. The new venture, Associated Water, will licence technology developed by CleanTeq Holdings, and seek to tap into an estimated $500 million a year market for capital expenditure on water treatment in the Australian CSG market, and a further $500 million a year market for treatment plant operating costs. These markets are expected to continue for the life of the gas fields, to about 2030.

The technology will be used to provide cost effective desalination of CSG water, and will aim to recover 90 per cent of the water as clean water that can be used for agriculture, livestock, industry, or returned to the environment. This compares to conventional approaches which deliver less than 80 per cent water recovery, and leaves substantial amounts of water as brine, wich is costly to manage. With up to 30,000 CSG wells to be developed in Queensland and NSW, CleanTeq CEO Peter Voigt said it was a significant opportunity.

Scoop, scoop!

There is clearly a loose criteria now for newspaper “exclusives”. The AFR’s this morning, relating to the funding problems for Solar Flagships and the departure of CS Energy from the Solar Dawn consortium, was old news for readers of this website. We reported the departure of CS Energy on January 25, and then spoke about it on ABC Radio and the TEN network the following day. The company even issued a press release to confirm it. As for the financing delays, well that was reported, initially by this reporter on Dec 16 on another website, and confirmed by Energy Minister Martin Ferguson later that day. The transcript is still on the minister’s web site.

Scoooooooop!

A late addendum: The Greens’ news clippings service is also not up to scratch, or perhaps they, too, do not consider something to be news until a tree is felled and the story published on paper. Greens Senator Christine Milne responded to the AFR article by calling for the government to bring forward the 2nd round of flagships, which would presumably deliver a greater number of smaller and more realistic projects. But Senator, that would require the government to actually spend some money!

 

 

 

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