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Sustainability News for Technology Partners: 12 May 2023

May 12, 2023 by Joe Panettieri

Here is today’s sustainability news, research and analysis for technology partners, management consultants, CIOs, chief sustainability officers (CSOs) and c-suite members.

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A. Sustainable Technology, Talent, Partnerships and Alliances

1. New Corporate Sustainability Reports: Our database tracking corporate sustainability reports and associated net-zero goals now spans 111 companies and organizations. Today's addition involves a Trane Technologies sustainability report.

2. Sustainable Partner Programs: Our database tracking sustainability partner programs now spans 78 companies and organizations. Today's additions include nShift and Trane Technologies.

3. Research - Corporate Net-Zero Goals: Nearly half of global public companies have now set a decarbonization target, but only 17% of those targets would align with the 1.5°C temperature rise goal, according to the MSCI Net-Zero tracker report.

4. Solar Power Agreement: Danfoss North America, an engineering firm, has signed a power purchase agreement with CIG Capital, a U.S.-based project financing firm. The deal involves 75 MW of solar power from a solar farm in Texas, starting in 2025. The initial agreement term is 12 years, allowing Danfoss to "fully replace its annual electricity usage in North America with green energy through at least 2037," the companies said.

5. Under Financial Pressure: Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. has started a strategic review of its renewable energy group, following a push by Corvex Management and other activist firms for changes, Reuters reported. Algonquin in January 2023 disclosed plans to raise $1 billion through asset sales and would slash its dividend by 40% to bolster its cash position. But a deal to buy the Kentucky operations of American Electric Power fell through in April 2023, following multiple delays since its announcement nearly 1-1/2 years ago, Reuters noted.

B. Sustainability M&A & Investments

1. M&A - Data Centers: CapMan Infra has invested in Dutch IT infrastructure provider Serverius with an ambition to build a northern European data centre platform, the investor said. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Among the priorities: CapMan will "focus on optimizing [Serverius] energy usage, increasing the use of renewable energy and establishing high operating standards for its operations and value chain." This is CapMan Nordic Infrastructure II fund’s third investment, following investments in Skarta Energy and Napier.

2. M&A and Funding - Solar and Wind: Actis, a United Kingdom-based global investor in sustainable infrastructure, has launched Nozomi Energy, a new $500 million Japan-focused renewables platform. Nozomi Energy's first acquisition is Hergo Japan Energy Corporation -- which has a portfolio of operating and development stage solar and onshore wind projects totaling around 230MW, plus a significant pipeline of early-stage projects. Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

3. M&A - Geothermal Energy as a Service: DIF Capital Partners has acquired majority interest in Diverso Energy Inc., a developer, owner, and operator of geothermal energy systems in Canada. DIF will acquire a 75% interest directly from the founders -- who will retain the remaining ownership and continue to lead the company. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

4. M&A - Solar Technology: First Solar has acquired Evolar AB, a European provider of perovskite technology. The deal involved roughly $38 million paid at closing and up to an additional $42 million to be paid subject to certain technical milestones.

5. M&A - Energy Consulting: Dillon Consulting Limited has acquired Internat Energy Solutions Canada (IESC), an engineering consulting firm committed to "promoting a sustainable economy, government, and society," the buyer said. Financial terms were not disclosed.

6. Funding: The Wells Fargo Innovation Incubator (known as IN²), co-administered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), announced its seventh cycle of Channel Partner Strategic Awards. This year, IN² distributed $970,000 among seven winners to fund innovative and impactful projects that are intended to strengthen and diversify the cleantech and agtech ecosystems, Wells Fargo said. The honorees include AgLaunch (Memphis, TN); BRITE Energy Innovators (Warren, OH) and the Centrepolis Accelerator (Southfield, MI); Evergreen Climate Innovations (Chicago, IL); Grid Catalyst (Minneapolis, MN); Launch Alaska (Anchorage, AK); Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) (Los Angeles, CA); and Urban Future Lab (Brooklyn, NY).

7. Funding - Digital Twin Building Designs: Integrated Projects, the provider of digitization services for building owners and design professionals, has raised $3 million in seed funding led by 186 Ventures. The company's software -- known as the Integrated Projects Exchange (IPX) platform -- helps customers "scan, verify, view, and quantify building materials and equipment, enabling building owners to make building and equipment upgrades cost-effectively and meet regulatory demands efficiently," the company said.

8. Funding - Aviation:  Emirates airline has committed $200 million to a research fund focusing on reducing the impact of fossil fuels in commercial aviation, because hitting net zero emissions targets would not be possible with currently available options, Reuters reported.

C. Regional and Global Sustainability News

1. United States - California Electric Grid Transformation Costs: California may need to invest up to $50 billion in updating its electricity grid over the next 12 years in order to fulfill its climate goals, The Hill reported. The landmark SB 100 bill, passed in 2018, set a target of powering statewide electricity needs with 100 percent clean energy by 2045. But achieving this ambition will be an expensive task, warned the report, conducted by data analytics firm Kevala for the California Public Utilities Commission, The Hill noted.

2. Dominican Republic: The Dominican Republic unveiled a program on aimed at mobilizing resources for low-carbon development, with increased financing from both the public and private sectors for climate action, Dominican Today reported. The initiative, developed by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in collaboration with the Green Climate Fund and the Global Institute for Green Growth (GGGI), aims to accelerate the implementation of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the report said. The country's total funding need for the transformation is $9 billion, the report noted.

3. Middle East: The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) has launched IRENA NewGen Renewable Energy Accelerator (NewGen), which seeks to support young entrepreneurs and innovators in driving the renewable energy transition. NewGen will provide capacity building, mentorship and other resources to youth-led projects and start-ups that are developing innovative solutions to advance the adoption of renewable energy at the global level, the organizers said. The IRENA NewGen initiative is supported by the United Arab Emirates.

4. China - Rapid Clean Power Progress?: China’s post-Covid rebound is boosting its world-leading power emissions this year, but rapid deployment of clean technology means they could soon peak, Bloomberg reported. Emissions grew 4% in the first quarter of this year and are likely to rise to a record high this year, according to an analysis by Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air for Carbon Brief. At the same time, wind, solar and nuclear power growth is accelerating, bringing the country near the tipping point where clean energy can meet all new demand and start putting fossil fuel use into long-term decline, the Bloomberg report said.

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