Eco Investor Update
A Weekly News Update for Environmental Investors
May 2012 - No 80
The undertakings are meant to address all the substantive issues raised in the ACCC's Statement of Issues regarding APA's proposed acquisition.
These include an undertaking to divest the Moomba Adelaide Pipeline System on taking control of HDF and ensuring a right to connect to the South West Queensland Pipeline.
Managing director, Mick McCormack said "We have submitted an undertakings package that we believe resolves all the substantive competition concerns raised." (ASX: APA)
Energy World Corporation
It will be used to refinance $210 million of existing drawn debt by Qube and its operating divisions and fund future growth including the recently announced Moorebank acquisition from Stockland.
Finalization of the facility is subject to a small number of standard conditions. (ASX: QUB)
46 per cent of residents surveyed know of someone or a business that had benefited from the wind farm, and 64 percent of local business operators surveyed thought local businesses had benefited from the wind farm.
"The vast majority of respondents believe that wind farms benefit the environment, with 68 per cent indicating that they would support future wind farm developments in the area with only 15 per cent opposed," said Infigen.
The survey also showed that local real estate agents believe that the wind farm has not effected overall property sales and values in the area.
"We sold one in between two windmills and it didn't impact the sale at all. That was about 18 months ago," one real estate agent is quoted as saying. Another commented "We are still selling properties with views of the wind farm; there's no effect on prices."
A total of 234 respondents including 89 business operators from Bungendore and Tarago participated in the survey. Of the respondents, 28 per cent have lived in the area for 20 years or more while 39 per cent have lived in the area for 6 to 19 years. 33 per cent moved into the area in the last five years, which Infigen says debunks the myth that wind farms make people leave their homes.
"A third of the respondents moved to the area since the wind farms began construction and we know of four new houses located between 800 and 2,800 metres from the wind farm that were built after commissioning," said managing director, Miles George. "The strong continued support for new projects in the communities near Infigen's wind farms indicates that vast majority of people live harmoniously with wind farms."
Infigen Energy began working in the area in 2004 and says more than $10 million has been invested directly in the area since construction. About $2 million goes into the local community each year through sourcing supplies from local businesses, payments to land owners and local employee wages. During construction activity this figure increases to $6 million. (ASX: IFN)
The merger agreement was announced in February and will see Westinghouse Solar shareholders own 15 per cent of the merged entity following shareholder approval, which is expected in the third quarter of 2012.
Meanwhile, Westinghouse Solar has implemented a cost cutting program expected to save $1 million annually.
Westinghouse Solar has technology that can reduce the number of components in solar panels and inverters. CBD says there are opportunities to use the technology in Europe and Australia, and to take advantage of the US base to expand operations.
The US$25 million revolving construction financing facility is to fund solar projects in Europe.
Investment bank Chardan Capital Markets, LLC was the sole placement agent for the credit facility. Chardan is said to have a client base of US institutional investors and family offices seeking investment opportunities in public and private Australian entities.
CBD has 3 MW of rooftop projects ready to begin in Italy and is improving its supply chain to support further developments up to 5 MW a month. The focus will be on projects with net margins above 10 per cent. As the financing facility is fully utilized and projects sold, CBD envisages this leading to revenue of $35 million a quarter, it said. (ASX: CBD)
Chief executive officer, Andrew Grant said "The two projects will integrate biodiversity outcomes with large-scale commercial carbon plantings, creating a unique partnership between a for-profit commercial entity and the government. A partnership of this nature and scale has not been attempted outside the not-for-profit sector."
In WA, the project will work to establish corridors between both Lake Magenta Nature Reserve and Fitzgerald National Park and Corackerup National Park and Fitzgerald National Park. The links will contribute to the capacity of the reserves and facilitate biodiversity conservation.
The project will contribute to the Fitz-Stirling Functional Landscape Plan, the Carnaby's black cockatoo Recovery Plan and assist with the conservation of a range of other nationally and regionally significant conservation targets such as western whipbird, mallee fowl, tammar wallaby, western mouse, and black gloved wallaby.
The NSW project adjoins conservation reserves in central NSW. The selected sites will contribute to consolidation of the regional conservation estate and enhance connectivity between some reserves. Reserves that will benefit include Goonoo National Park, Goonoo State Conservation Area, Pillaga State Conservation Area and Pillaga West State Conservation Area.
Conservation target species include the black glossy cockatoo, mallee fowl and sugar glider. Specific flora of conservation significance may contribute to the revegetation and restoration actions.
CO2 said another project site in NSW offers an opportunity to commence consolidation of a chain of remnant vegetation stands along a 100 kilometre section in the Upper Central West and Plains of NSW.
All of the projects supported by the Biodiversity Fund will help to revegetate, rehabilitate and restore more than 18 million hectares of landscape over the next six years. (ASX: COZ)
Ceramic Fuel Cells
Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer made the announcement when putting the State's first BlueGen unit into operation in the State capital of Saarbrücken.
The State subsidy is in addition to the subsidy from the German Federal Government of 1,800 Euros per unit, and the existing feed in tariff regime under which BlueGen customers get paid for excess electricity exported to the electricity grid.
Meanwhile, a BlueGen unit is operating as part of a Virtual Power Plant project in Germany. A Virtual Power Plant is a cluster of distributed electricity generation units controlled by a central entity using software. It allows power generation to be modulated to meet peak loads and balance intermittent power from wind or solar, with higher efficiency and more flexibility than large centralized power stations.
The BlueGen unit is operating in the Harz region, south of Hannover, as part of the RegModHarz project to develop and operate a Virtual Power Plant combining renewable energy and controllable distributed electricity.
The Harz region has about one-third of electricity produced from renewable sources. Each BlueGen unit is controlled over the internet and the power output can be turned up or down remotely to help balance supply and demand of electricity. The RegModHarz project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Reactor Safety.
Ceramic Fuel Cells also said that its products have now achieved a combined one million hours of operation. The first field trial units were operated in Australia, New Zealand and Germany from early 2006. The number of units installed and operating at customer sites is now 199. (ASX: CFU)
Micro Cap Companies
The issue price is a low 4 cents per share, which the company hopes will encourage all shareholders to subscribe. Those who do will receive 3 shares for every 5 shares.
The funds will be applied to reducing debt, working capital and costs associated with the upgrade of plant and equipment.
A funding facility is also being negotiated. (ASX: CBP)
The share purchase plan follows a $15.5 million placement to institutional and sophisticated investors in early May. (ASX: NAN)
Mr d'Almeida is a former accountant. He founded Retail Food Group Australia and was instrumental in the growth of its brands, Donut King and BB's Coffee, to over 300 stores in Australia and seven other countries. He has also been involved in the restaurant, wholesaling, farming and liquor industries.
Mr d'Almeida is a non-executive director of ASX-listed Hyperion Asset Management and of ASX and AIM-listed Beacon Hill Resources Plc. He has previously been chairman of a number of companies. (ASX: PEH)
Po Valley Energy
The company owes over $2 million to unsecured creditors and another $1 million to secured creditors. The latest half year report shows net assets of $1.6 million.
Advertisements have been placed to find buyers for the assets or investors for a recapitalization, and a number of expressions of interest have been received, says the SMH. (ASX: SYP)
Dart Energy has said that it will not drill in the Sydney suburb of St Peters, although it then ambiguously said that it "is committed to open and transparent engagement with the communities in which we coexist, and to deal with all our stakeholders in a cooperative manner."
The statement was in response to media coverage of a decision by Marrickville Council to prohibit coal seam gas drilling at St Peters.
Marrickville and Greens Councillor Max Phillips moved an additional condition of consent that prohibits coal seam gas exploration and extraction for the Dial-A-Dump site where Dart Energy has plans to drill for coal seam gas. The additional condition was supported unanimously by the council.
The condition reads: "That mining or gas exploration or extraction activities be prohibited on the site, due to the proximity to residences, the safety and health risks associated with gas extraction, and the uncertainty over the effect of coal seam gas extraction on the local environment and aquifers, and the potential to further contaminate the land."
Mr Phillips said "This sends a strong signal to both the land holder and Dart Energy that Marrickville Council is united in its opposition to coal seam gas in the Inner West."
"Dial-A-Dump should rip up its landholder agreement with Dart Energy. It's now crystal clear that the community and council do not want gas exploration or extraction at St Peters. The State Government should cancel the exploration licence that covers the Sydney Metropolitan Area. No part of Sydney should become a dangerous coal seam gas field."
He also said there is some doubt that Dart Energy and the gas exploration companies that held the licence for St Peters have ever negotiated a land access agreement with the Dial-A-Dump company that owns the affected land.
Elsewhere in the business, director Peter Clarke has resigned due to personal reasons.
Subsidiary Dart Energy International Pte Ltd has announced an initial independent assessment of the Original Gas-in-Place for its portfolio of shale gas assets of between 28.1 trillion cubic feet (TCF) at the low case to 143 TCF at the high case. The Best Estimate is 76 TCF net to Dart International. (ASX: DTE)
Micro Cap Companies
Operationally, Algae.Tec has commenced commissioning its showcase biofuels facility, Shoalhaven One, at Nowra in NSW. Executive chairman Roger Stroud said commissioning is on track for production of algae biomass in early June, ramping up to capacity by the end of June.
Algae.Tec's USA-based technical director Earl McConchie is in Australia overseeing the commissioning team. (ASX: AEB)
Carnegie Wave Energy
In early May Carnegie announced a new $16.3 million equity facility, along with a government grant, and its share price initially rose before falling back.
One reason could be that Carnegie's new equity provider, the Australian Special Opportunity Fund, LLP, is managed by The Lind Partners, LLC, a New York-based alternative asset management firm that was founded by Jeff Easton.
Lind's website says that Mr Easton was also a co-founder of SpringTree Global Investors, LLC "where he was instrumental in developing and implementing an institutional investment platform that completed more than AU$285,000,000 of headline investments into ASX-listed companies". It also says that Lind's team of six investment professionals all of whom worked together at SpringTree.
However, SpringTree Global Investors is general partner to the Springtree Special Opportunities Fund which until recently was also a funder of solar company Dyesol. But its strategy was to provide capital for discounted shares and then sell the shares on market, which helped drive down Dyesol's share price.
It remains to be seen if this strategy is also employed by Lind.
Meanwhile, the web site says "Lind selectively invests across various geographic regions, industries and economic environments with a focus on event-driven investment opportunities. Lind seeks to make investments into small-cap and mid-cap publicly-traded companies around the world whose shares trade in non-US dollar denominated currencies."
Carnegie director Greg Bourne has resigned to take up the position of acting Chair of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA). ARENA commences on 1 July as a key component of the Australian Government's Clean Energy Future package and consolidating $3.2 billion in funding for renewable energy innovation.
Mr Bourne said "I've greatly enjoyed my time as a director of Carnegie. Even during my relatively short tenure, significant progress has been made towards the delivery of the first grid-connected CETO demonstration Project."
Carnegie has also completed the first detailed study of Bermuda's wave regime, which demonstrates the viability of the island for a commercial CETO wave energy project. Carnegie and partner Triton propose to develop a 20 MW commercial scale wave farm that also provides desalinated water to Bermuda. In 2009, the project was selected as one of the Bermuda Electric Light Company Ltd's preferred renewable energy projects.
Marc AR Bean, JP, MP, minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy, said "The success of this technology will serve to move Bermuda ever closer to our Energy White Paper targets of reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and increasing our reliance on renewable sources of energy. I look forward to the deployment of this promising, clean and efficient energy technology."
The technology could significantly increase energy and freshwater security and reduce its dependence on imported oil. (ASX: CWE)
Dyesol said it knew of no reason, but said there is shareholder frustration over the slow commercialization progress of its two key projects, and that $296,420 remains unconverted on the recently canceled equity line of credit that was driving the share price down.
Dyesol has won a Highly Commended Award in the Most Innovative Manufacturing Company category of the 9th Annual Manufacturers' Monthly Endeavour Awards.
Dyesol was a finalist in four categories: the Global Integration Award, the Most Innovative Manufacturing Company, the Young Manufacturer of the Year Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Dyesol founder and director Sylvia Tulloch.
"Innovation is at the heart our company," said Ms Tulloch. "Dyesol has a culture of creating solutions and our focus is on clean, renewable energy." (ASX: DYE)
This was despite the company announcing positive results for its initial rock chip program at ist Pilgangoora Project 120 kilometers southeast of Port Hedland in WA. 21 samples returned significant results of up to 5.08 per cent lithium oxide (Li2O).
"This sampling program confirms that one of the largest outcropping pegmatite bodies on the Project is lithium bearing, providing an exciting target for further work in this emerging hard rock lithium province," it said.
Lithex will conduct further geological mapping and sampling in preparation for an initial reverse circulation drill program to test the depth and extent of the lithium bearing pegamatites. (ASX: LTX)
The platform, WHO Private Organizations for Patient Safety (POPS) platform, is aimed at aligning the companies' promotional messages for hand hygiene products through WHO recommendations, enhancing the quality of hand hygiene products, and encouraging product availability and accessibility in all parts of the world.
MediVac executive chairman, Paul McPherson, said "Our products have been developed in line with the WHO guidelines and, being natural based, are aligned with the WHO's objectives to increase health care workers' acceptance and usage."
This is the first of a number of new developments with the SunnyWipes range, he said. The company is awaiting the NSW Government Health Contracts for Hand Hygiene and Consumables products, to be announced shortly. Supporting the increased growth in sales to NSW Ambulance and other Government departments, some of these ventures include pharmacy and other markets in the retail sector.
According to WHO, of every 100 hospitalized patients, at least seven in developed and 10 in developing countries will acquire health care-associated infections. In intensive care units, the figure rises to around 30 per cent.
A new WHO survey of over 2,000 healthcare facilities in 69 countries found that 65 per cent are at a good level of progress with regards to hand hygiene promotion, resources and activities, but 35 per cent are still at an inadequate or basic level.
Promoting hand hygiene through reminders and education of health-care workers has occurred in more than 90 per cenet of health-care facilities, but improvement is still needed in the monitoring of hand hygiene practices and establishing optimal hand hygiene behaviour within a strong patient safety culture, said Mr McPherson. (ASX: MDV)
Eco Investor Update
Search Eco Investor