The Week in Cleantech (Sep. 23 to Sep. 29) – One Step in the Direction of Deep, Liquid and Global Carbon Markets

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On Sunday, Lascelles Linton at AutoBlog Green informed us that VW intended to offer a hybrid option for ALL of its models. I’m a big fan of electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid technologies, but this looks to me like a risky bet. VW is already a leader in fuel efficiency, which taken alone represents a competitive advantage in an era of rising fuel prices and tightening environmental standards. HEV is a whole different ball game, and it remains unclear at this stage whether this will end up being the winner technology. If I were a shareholder, I probably would not applaud this move. On Thursday, Biopact told us about the world’s first Certified Emission Reductions (CERs) spot market auction that took place on the Brazilian Mercantile & Futures Exchange (BM&F). Detractors like to point to flaws in the first phase of the EU ETS to argue that the entire idea of emissions trading is doomed to fail. Yet transactions such as this one, involving a European financial institution acting on behalf of industrial clients based in Western Europe, and an emerging market futures exchange, point to the potential behind an integrated global carbon market. On Thursday, Peter Fairley at Technology Review discussed how to store solar power efficiently. An old theme coming back again – large-scale storage to smooth out the inherent variability of most forms of renewable energy. Could solar thermal offer part of the answer? As the article points out, storing heat is, for the time being, easier than storing electrical power. On Friday, Clean Edge reported on FPL’s (NYSE:FPL) latest set of alt energy initiatives. The interesting piece here is the $1.5 billion investment in solar thermal. Something tells me there is a bit of a solar thermal renaissance occurring at the moment – something to keep an eye on perhaps..? On Friday, Todd Sullivan at Seeking Alpha argued that ADM’s collaboration with ConocoPhillips was good news for shareholders. This is indeed an interesting partnership, but is not an entirely unique initiative. Many oil majors have been quietly (or not) trying to get involved with next-generation fuels. The movement toward diversification away from conventional oil is only going to intensify in the coming years, and there will be significant money to be made for players who are ahead of the pack. On Thursday, Environmental Finance informed us that HSBC was stepping into the climate change index arena. Call it climate change or call it cleantech, many of these indices track exactly the same thing; exposure to environmental technologies on the revenue side. Until recently, small pure-play cleantech outfits that were largely responsible for creating such indices. The entry of big finance into this game is a promising sign that cleantech is an increasingly entrenched investment theme rather than just the latest fad. The Week in Cleantech is a weekly roundup of our favorite cleantech and alt energy blog posts and stories from across the web. If you know of a good piece that you think should be included here, don’t hesitate to let us know!


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