Daily News Wrap-Up: European Union Issues its First-Ever NextGenerationEU Green Bond
Power Finance Corporation gets Maharatna status
October 14, 2021
Here are some noteworthy cleantech announcements of the day from around the world:
The European Union has issued its first-ever NextGenerationEU green bond. The 15-year bond due on February 4, 2037, was 11 times oversubscribed, with books exceeding €135 billion (~$142.20 billion). The funds from the green bond issue will be used to finance green and sustainable expenditure under the recovery and resilience facility. Eligible investments from the already approved plans include a research platform for the energy transition in Belgium and onshore wind projects in Lithuania. NextGenerationEU is a temporary recovery instrument of more than €800 billion (~$924.88 billion) in current prices to support building a greener, more digital, and resilient Europe. To finance NextGenerationEU, the European Commission will raise from the capital markets around €800 billion (~$924.88 billion) between now and end-2026. This will translate into borrowing volumes of an average of roughly €150 billion (~$173.42 billion) per year.
The government has accorded the Maharatna status to state-owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC). The move will pave the way for the company’s greater financial and operational efficiency. The grant of Maharatna status to PFC will impart enhanced powers to the PFC board while making financial decisions. The Maharatna Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE) board can make equity investments to undertake financial joint ventures and wholly-owned subsidiaries and undertake mergers and acquisitions in India and abroad. The investments are subject to a ceiling of 15% of the net worth of the concerned CPSE, limited to ₹50 billion (~$663.35 million) in one project. The board can also structure and implement schemes relating to personnel and human resource management and training. They can also enter into technology joint ventures or other strategic alliances, among others.
FREYR announces joint venture (JV) with Koch Strategic Platforms (KSP) to advance clean battery cell manufacturing in the US. The JV has an equal ownership structure, has been established to develop an initial 50 GWh of gigafactory of a battery cell in the U.S. based on 24M Technologies SemiSolid™ platform technology. KSP and FREYR have invested $70 million in convertible promissory notes with 24M, under which KSP and FREYR will initially invest $50 million and $20 million, respectively. Upon closing the convertible note financing, the JV entered into a new licensing agreement with 24M that will enable the JV to deploy 24M’s SemiSolid™ platform technology with conditional limited exclusivity in the U.S.
Shares and warrants of utility-scale energy battery storage provider ESS have commenced trading on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the new ticker symbols GWH and GWH.W. Shareholders in special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) ACON S2 Acquisition Corp voted to approve a business combination with ESS, which then went ahead and created the combined, NYSE-listed entity. ESS claims it is the only global manufacturer of flow battery technology based on iron and saltwater electrolytes, packaging them into energy storage systems for commercial and industrial (C&I) and utility-scale applications. The transaction primarily comprises $308 million of pro forma net cash to the combined company, including private investment in public equity (PIPE). The PIPE is led by institutional investors, including Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Koch Industries, Tortoise Capital Advisors, SB Energy Global Holdings Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SoftBank Group Corp., Breakthrough Energy Ventures, BASF Venture Capital, and others.
Environmental startup Lowsoot has launched a crowdfunding drive to support green projects to reduce carbon footprints. The funds received from the crowdfunding drive will be used to fund local communities and climate change projects. It will help to raise funds for local communities while offsetting their annual carbon footprint with Lowsoot. Under this drive, Lowsoot is raising crowdfund money for projects that have a social and environmental impact. Lowsoot maintains that the people who donate receive tax benefits under section 80G of income tax laws.