May 17, 2020

Obama Jobs Speech Neglects Clean Energy

President
Barack
Obama
Jobs
Admin
2 min
President Barack Obama’s jobs speech calls for swift bipartisan action to get America back to work, but neglects to mention clean energy
In his jobs speech Thursday night, President Barack Obama did everything he could to walk the fine bipartisan line between Democrats and Republicans, n...

In his jobs speech Thursday night, President Barack Obama did everything he could to walk the fine bipartisan line between Democrats and Republicans, not once mentioning clean energy at all.  The subject that served as the backbone of Obama’s presidential campaign promise to get Americans back to work has apparently gone MIA.  However, some believe it was a smart move on the president’s part to avoid anything having to do with the word “green,” since the majority of Republican Congress members seem to loath the very notion. 

The jobs package presented to Congress calls for infrastructure related jobs to begin updating America’s highways and schools.  It also offers tax breaks to hiring businesses and workers. 

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The president urged Congress in his speech to “pass it right away” more than a dozen times. "Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans—including many who sit here tonight," Obama said.

The president did not mention energy even once in his speech, nor the more accepted bipartisan topic of energy efficiency.

Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) said following the speech, “…I think the president did the things he feels the Congress can pass.  And he's looking to get things on the table that don't really create traditional, gridlocked ideological struggle."

Some feel the recent news of shady business practices by Obama-supported solar power firm Solyndra, resulting in bankruptcy and the loss of $535 million in government loan guarantees, may have also steered the president away from the topic of energy. "I think perhaps the White House was concerned that [clean energy] would become a lightning rod for people to criticize his speech, especially because of the Solyndra news this week," said Kate Gordon, vice president of energy policy at the Center for American Progress.

Some feel that Obama’s speech, like so many of his others, offers ideal scenarios, but fails to discuss how exactly the government plans on paying for them.  The president’s planned laid out in the speech calls for $447 billion in spending.  However, no one is really sure where the government plans on finding those funds, short of raising the gas tax or other taxes.  Nonetheless, the highway infrastructure in the U.S. is long overdue for upgrades, and reports reveal some very scary statistics as to the number of bridges and overpasses in the country still in use, yet deemed unsafe for driving.  Will the bill pass?  That all rests in the hands of our trusted policymakers on Capitol Hill. 

 

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May 17, 2021

USS pension fund buys 50% stake in Bruc Energy

Pensionfunds
Investment
Renewables
spain
Dominic Ellis
3 min
USS will invest €225M in return for a 50% stake in Bruc Energy and 4,000MW pipeline of solar PV farms

The Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) private pension fund has taken a 50% stake in Bruc Energy, a Spain and Portugal renewables-focussed investment vehicle created by OPTrust and Spanish businessman, Juan Béjar. 

In the transaction arranged by USS Investment Management, the wholly-owned subsidiary and principal investment manager and advisor to the Scheme, USS has invested €225M (c.£200m) in return for the stake in a major pipeline of 4,000MW of PV farms. Bruc Energy has an ambitious growth plan that goes beyond this to invest in other green energies, such as wind power.

USS, which announced two weeks ago its aim to be net zero by 2050, already has a strong relationship with both OPTrust and Juan Bejar through Globalvia, a specialist infrastructure platform focussed on managing rail and highways assets around the world. 

Spain’s sun-drenched climate and national target to reach 100% renewable-based generation by 2050 make it an attractive place to invest in solar energy. In addition, the decades long lifespan of solar PV panels make them well-suited to USS in helping pay members’ pensions long into the future.

USS Investment Management CEO, Simon Pilcher, said: “We are delighted to be committing further finance to renewables and particularly to a major Spanish solar platform like this. We have already invested or committed around £1 billion to renewable energy and demand for this will only increase as more and more countries transition to lower carbon. We know that our members care very much about climate change and ESG and we are convinced that USS playing its part in supporting the transition to a low carbon economy makes good financial sense, too. This announcement closely follows on from our stated ambition to become Net Zero by 2050 so this transaction and others like it will be a key plank of our strategy going forward.”

Gavin Merchant, Co-Head of Direct Equity, said: “We have worked alongside OPTrust and Juan Béjar for many years and are delighted to be making this investment. The long-term nature of solar and the steady returns make renewables attractive to a pension scheme needing to pay pensions for years to come.” 

OPTrust’s Morgan McCormick, Managing Director, Private Markets Group UK said: “We are excited to have USS join Bruc Energy building on our strong existing relationship. Their investment will help Bruc become one of the leading renewable energy platforms in Spain. At OPTrust, we believe that investing in renewable energy helps transitions the world to a more sustainable economy. In doing so, we can continue to deliver on our mission of paying pensions today and preserving pensions for tomorrow.”

Béjar said the partnership is a key step to establishing Bruc as one of the more dynamic players in the renewables industry in Spain, because it ensures access to the funds to develop our current portfolio. "All three shareholders of Bruc Energy share a long-term vision, but also the ambition and the social responsibility to counter the effects of climate change in the short-term," he said.

Following the transaction, which remains subject to conditions, including regulatory approval, Bruc Energy will be owned 50% by USS and BROP, a vehicle owned by OPTrust and Béjar. The transaction was advised by Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Greenhill and Nomura. Juan Béjar will be the president of Bruc Energy and Luis Venero the CEO.

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