Coming Clean on Energy Stocks & the Conservation Corridor

Coming Clean on Energy Stocks & the Conservation Corridor

Clean energy stocks have made up some lost ground in the past month, with the global New Energy Index up 10.3 per cent in July, according to Giles Parkinson with his Green Deals update in Climate Spectator, while CE Daily reports that the Northern Territory Government will set up a carbon fund to support conservation and carbon sequestration projects in a “conservation corridor” running from the Territory to South Australia, enabling companies to offset their emissions or their biodiversity impacts.

Green Deals in Climate Spectator Giles Parkinson (4 August 2010):

Clean energy stocks have made up some lost ground in the past month, with the global New Energy Index up 10.3 per cent in July, compared to a 5.6 per cent gain for the broader MSCI global index, and 7 per cent and 4.5 per cent gains for Wall Street and the ASX respectively.  There are some solid reasons for this change of sentiment, according to Geoff Evison, the head of clean energy fund Arkx.

First among these is data showing that the build-out of renewable energy projects has exceeded that of conventional fossil fuels for the second year in a row in Europe and the US, and is expected to do so on a global scale in 2010. The second is the extraordinary build-out of renewable energy, particularly wind, in China, which has now forecast some 600GW of renewable energy capacity by 2020, and has separately predicted clean energy investments of $US740 billion over the next decade.

Arkx’s own return in July was 4.8 per cent, taking its 12 month figure to 15.2 per cent. Its star performers in the latest period were The Arkx Clean Energy Fund, which also rose for the month, closing up 4.85 per cent. Among the fund’s standout performers were Chinese energy measurement company Wasion Group, which jumped 25.6 per cent, and German solar energy company Roth & Rau, which gained 13.7 per cent, helped by predictions that solar installations worldwide would jump 70 per cent in 2010 to more than 12GW.

PV powers on

The boom in rooftop solar photovoltaic energy systems in Australia appears to be continuing unabated, albeit at a smaller scale. Wilson HTM analyst Jenny Cosgrove has lifted her estimates for installed capacity for calendar 2010 to 68MW as at the end of July, up from a previous estimate of 48MW at the end of June. Cosgrove notes that the number of renewable energy certificates generated from small-scale solar PV jumped 27 per cent in July to 2.1 million, taking total RECS created across all technologies for the year to date to 20.3 million, well in excess of the legislated requirement of 12.5 million. 

Which explains why the RECs price remains stuck around the $40 mark, still well below the level needed to provide a financial incentive for a wind farm developer. Cosgrove also notes that the number of RECs generated from win power were down 30 per cent in July from the same month a year earlier, suggesting weaker wind conditions. Total RECs this year from wind power were little more than half for the same period last year, even though the wind capacity has risen nearly 10 per cent over that period.

Geodynamics’ search

Leading geothermal energy developer Geodynamics has launched the search for a new CEO to take over from interim boss Jack Hamilton, who assumed the mantle following the departure of Gerry Grove-White last month. Geodynamics expects to find a replacement by year-end, by which time it will have a fairly clear idea on the prospects of pursuing its dream of unlocking up to 6000MW of clean, baseload energy from the vast resources of geothermal heat locked in granite formations some 4-5 kms underground in the Cooper Basin. Work has recommenced at the Jolokia well to undertake crucial fracturing simulations which will indicate not only the extent of the resource but also the company’s ability to release the energy and to deliver energy to the grid.

New name, new power

The newly rebranded geothermal developer Earth Heat Resources has made further additions to its portfolio of global projects, announcing it would seek geothermal exploration permits in Kenya and continuing its work in Djibouti. Earth Heat, which recently changed its name from Fall River Resources as part of its transformation into a “new energy company”, believes Africa may hold immediate possibility in geothermal projects and gas fired power generation because of its lack of energy resources. It is also pursuing a coal bed methane opportunity in Botswana, and recently signed a farm-in agreement to the Copahue project in Argentina, which aims to establish a 30MW facility from the nearby volcanic resources. Geothermal projects in Argentina are awarded offtake agreements of up to $US120 per mw/h, the company says. Earth Heat also has exploration interests in the US and Australia.


CE Daily Reports:

Northern Territory to establish conservation and carbon fund

The Northern Territory Government will set up a carbon fund to support conservation and carbon sequestration projects in a “conservation corridor” running from the Territory to South Australia. 

Companies seeking to offset their emissions or their biodiversity impacts will be able to contribute to the fund. 

“The funds created could then be used to improve land management practices, leading to more carbon locked up in our soils and native vegetation and the added benefit of improving conservation outcomes,” said NT environment minister, Karl Hampton. 

A spokesman for the minister told CE Daily the carbon fund will finance conservation and sequestration projects in the ‘Trans-Australian Eco-Link’, a conservation corridor which will stretch 3,500 km from the top of the Northern Territory to the South Australian coast. 

The Territory and South Australian governments are each contributing $1.8 million to establishing Eco-Link by 2012. 

“New conservation areas have been added to the link and more are being established,” the spokesman told CE Daily

“Work will proceed as a priority to put the fund in place as soon as possible.” 

The Trans-Australian Eco-Link will be an extension of the Territory Eco-Link, a 1,600 km conservation corridor announced last year as part of the NT Climate Change Policy.


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