SNL Energy’s Renewable Energy News Round-Up

Here are some of the top renewable energy stories SNL Energy has been following:

FPL Group accused of not sharing tax benefits with ratepayers

In a letter to Florida authorities, three anonymous, self-described “concerned and fearful employees of NextEra Energy Resources LLC” claimed that parent company FPL Group Inc. was able to siphon off more than $1 billion in tax benefits owed to ratepayers of regulated utility subsidiary Florida Power & Light Co. and retain them in the company’s unregulated renewable energy business. FPL, however, said the allegations are as “unfounded as they are outrageous,” adding that the practice was long ago signed off on as acceptable.

Renewable financing to be strong in 2010, though horizon is troubled

The pace of new renewable energy deals slowed in December 2009, but if e-mail volume and phone calls just a few days into the new year provide a glimpse into the crystal ball, 2010 has started off with a bang, Chadbourne & Parke partner Keith Martin told SNL on Jan. 6.

After talking with industry experts, Martin said the consensus is that 2010 will be a strong year for renewable financing, though the outlook past 2010 may harbor a troubled horizon. “There are troubling signs about the market in the longer term — falling gas prices, for example, difficulty getting power contracts with utilities, transmission congestion in significant parts of the country where renewables would otherwise have a shot at growth but can’t because there’s no way to move the electricity,” Martin said.

Salazar moves to wrap up Cape Wind review

Saying it is time to move the Cape Wind offshore wind energy proposal toward a final decision, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he plans to call the principal parties together next week. Salazar’s Jan. 4 statement came the same day the National Park Service’s Keeper of the National Register of Historic Places said Nantucket Sound is eligible for listing in the National Register for its significance as a traditional cultural property and as a historic and archeological property.

Salazar said the meeting will consider the keeper’s findings and discuss how to find a “common-sense agreement on actions that could be taken to minimize and mitigate Cape Wind’s potential impacts on historic and cultural resources.”

Report: Asset managers show lack of attention to climate risks in decisions

Asset managers and institutional investors should incorporate a high level of analysis on climate risks and opportunities purely for business reasons, but most are not, according to Ceres’ findings in a new survey of asset manager practices.

Ceres said regulatory, legislative, competitive and physical risks are all real and quantifiable climate-related risks that asset managers are widely ignoring at present.

While Ceres says climate change is a scientifically settled issue, Jack Ehnes, CEO at the $132 billion CalSTRS, said during a Jan. 6 conference call discussing the survey that even skeptical asset managers need only to look at climate regulations and renewable mandates being implemented around the world as reason enough to closely analyze climate impacts from a financial standpoint.

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Jennifer Zajac has covered the U.S. electric power sector for more than eight years and was founder/editor of SNL Energy's Renewable Energy Week, a newsletter devoted to the utility renewable energy market in North America. Currently, she covers EPA policies that impact the power industry and is working on a masters' degree in Global Energy Management at the University of Colorado-Denver.

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