OPIC To Mobilize $1 Billion To Assist Developing Nations in Combating Climate Change

Agency to open a call for proposals from private equity fund managers; announcement made at UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun

CANCUN, Mexico – Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), announced today that OPIC will provide at least $300 million in financing for new private equity investment funds that could ultimately invest more than $1 billion in renewable resources projects in emerging markets. The announcement was made at the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

OPIC’s mobilization of these funds represents one of the largest initiatives by the U.S. Government to support the international effort to mitigate climate change.

“When President Obama and global leaders negotiated the Copenhagen Accord in December 2009, they included a financial commitment to help developing countries reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change. OPIC-supported investment funds represent an important and innovative step toward the realization of that goal,” Ms. Littlefield said.

OPIC will issue a “Global Renewable Resources Call for Proposals” for private fund managers investing in a wide variety of businesses promoting renewable energy and the sustainable utilization of natural resources such as energy, water, and land.

Specifically, the funds will accelerate investment in renewable energy, including solar, wind, hydro, tidal, geothermal power as well as waste and biomass. Investments in agriculture, land, and water may include efficient irrigation, cold storage, transportation, water treatment, sustainable forestry, natural resource preservation, and forest rehabilitation. OPIC will also place particular emphasis on the efficient utilization of natural resources via investments in energy efficiency products, systems and equipment, emissions control, and waste management.

The call for proposals will open for submissions on December 15, and remain open until mid-February. Information about the call may be obtained on the OPIC website, www.opic.gov, on December 15.

EV Economics are getting interesting

EVs are getting interesting.  With the Nissan Leaf this year, Ford planning to release its Focus EV in 2011, and the Honda Fit EV scheduled for 2012, the 100 mile range EV class will provide consumers with several choices within a couple of years.

So it’s time to take a look at whether EVs are a good deal for consumers.   It took a bit work to analyze but the results were worth it.  The initial step is to review the key drivers affecting consumer economics.

First is upfront cost for the EV, the charging station, and the incentives being offered.  The EV costs more, even after vehicle and charging station incentives.  I estimate the additional cost at $7,334 for a Nissan Leaf versus a basic Toyota Camry.

Second is annual cost.  A Camry gets 24.5 EPA miles per gallon.  A Nissan Leaf, by my estimate, will get about 3 miles per kWh.  So what matters is how much a driver drives and the cost of electricity.  The average driver drives 15,000 miles per year, or 41 miles per day, which should be reasonably feasible in an EV.

Electric costs are a big factor.  Retail rates nationwide are something like 11 cents/kWh.  In high cost states like California, without time-of-use metering, costs are 15 cents/kWh and higher.  I’m a SMUD customer with an old meter.  I’m into Tier 2 consumption and if I charged up tonight it would cost me 17.55 cent per kWh.   But wholesale, nighttime rates are dramatically lower.   One wholesale electric price forecasting company that serves electric traders shared their outlook for the next 12 months with me:

Quarterly forecast prepared 12/3/2010, Off-peak prices

period        NP15 (Northern California)
2010-4      3.3 cents/kWh
2011-1      2.7 cents/kWh
2011-2      2.2 cents/kWh
2011-3      3.3 cents/kWh

These prices may seem amazingly low but they are, in fact, realistic.  Thanks to the shale boom natural gas is being delivered to  power plants for $4.40 per mmBtu.  And the power plants setting prices throughout the western US are modern combined cycle units with heatrates around 7,200 Btu/kWh. (4.40 * 7200 / 1000 = 3.2 cent/kWh).  In Northern California alone on Dec 3 there are over 4,000 unload MW of these plants.  That’s enough to charge 1.3 million EVs consuming 3 kW each.

Tying the analysis together I computed the IRR of owning an EV under three scenarios.

  • In scenario 1 my utility is serious about promoting EVs and they flow cheap nighttime power to me at a 5 cent/kWh rate.  They can do this with their new smart meters; at night they have plenty of distribution capacity; and they would make some money.
  • In Scenario 2 I pay roughly the national average for power, say 11 cents/kWh.
  • In Scenario 3 my utility does nothing and I have to pay Tier 2 rates — 17.55 cents/kWh.

I computed when I break-even, or when my fuel savings equal the extra cost of the EV, and my IRR, or the return on my initial investment after I’ve driven 105,000 miles (this is 7 years at 15,000 miles per year).  The results are presented below:

Scenario                 Break-even years      IRR at 105,000 miles
1  (5 cent/kWh)                 3.9                                17 %
2  (11 cent/kWh)              4.8                                 11%
3  (17.6 cent/kWh)          6.2                                 3%

At a 17% return the EV option is pretty compelling and my local utility can make it happen, if they really want clean energy technology.

At the national average rate 11% isn’t bad, and early adopters may find EVs attactive.

And under my current personal rate schedule, EVs aren’t interesting.

That said, with a bit of creative utility rates, and leveraging the big smart meter investments being made, EV can be a hit.  And if they are a hit car companies with early products, like Nissan, GM, and Ford can pick up market share.

At the national level this makes great sense.  Every EV driven will displace over 600 gallons of gasoline per year, virtually all of which is produced from imported oil.  This reduces our balance of payments and trade deficits and improves our security situation.  Maybe a higher federal incentive would be cost effective and should be pursued?

Disclosures: none
Credits:  Price forecast and electric data courtesy of Plexos Solutions LLC and its weccterm forcast.

CICS Receives Accreditation from UKAS to Provide Verification of Carbon Footprints

17 November 2010 (Stoke-on-Trent, UK) – CICS (Complete Integrated Certification Services Ltd) is pleased to announce that it is the only Verification Body to receive accreditation from UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) to perform independent verification of voluntary carbon footprints assessed against international standards such as ISO14064 and the WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol.

CICS’ client base of over 500 companies and organisations has already seen immense benefit from having independent assurance of their carbon footprints and GHG inventories in terms of enhanced credibility and confidence in robust declarations. Now, in addition to receiving the internationally-recognised CICS Carbon Assurance Mark, these businesses can now have their verification engagements performed against an accredited process.

The first client to receive an ISO14064-1 assessment by CICS under the accredited process is Carlow Precast of Kilnock, Co. Carlow, Ireland. The carbon footprint for both 2008 and 2009 was performed by Casey Technology, a multidisciplinary energy services provider, and verified on site by CICS. Carlow Precast has a strong tradition of excellence in the precast concrete industry with a reputation built on the innovative engineering and design of a range of concrete products to service all market sectors.

Shaun Bainbridge, Sales Director at CICS, commented:

“Companies are coming under increasing pressure to disclose their environmental performance by producing carbon footprints and greenhouse gas inventories. Going one step further and securing independent verification by an accredited body greatly enhances this public disclosure, by providing confidence and assurance to customers, shareholders and the general public alike.”

-ends-

About CICS
CICS (Complete Integrated Certification Services Ltd) provides industry leading experience and knowledge of CO2 verification under both mandatory and voluntary (carbon footprinting) schemes; they were the first body to be accredited under the EU ETS Phase II (2008 – 2012). A range of related ISO certification services are also available. CICS provides: Management system certification to ISO 9001, ISO 14001, OHSAS 18001 & Product Certification; Greenhouse Gas Emissions verification under the European Emissions Trading scheme, North American Climate Registry, WRI/WBCSD GHG protocol, Carbon Disclosure Project and PAS 2050. Services are accredited to internationally recognised standards and guidelines and based upon a policy of providing a unique combination of: Industry Sector Knowledge; Specialist Auditors; Service Orientation and Cost Effectiveness; and International Recognition.

www.cicsglobal.com

LDK Solar Announces Strategic Financing Agreement With China Development Bank For Up To RMB 60 Billion

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., September 27, 2010 — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (“LDK Solar”) (NYSE: LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers and PV products, today announced that it has entered into a strategic financing agreement with China Development Bank Corporation (CDB), a joint stock banking corporation wholly owned by the state of China. Under terms of the agreement, CDB will provide up to RMB 60 Billion (or approximately US$8.9 Billion) of credit facilities to LDK Solar over a five-year period. The financings will support LDK Solar`s long-term growth initiatives and corporate development plans. Terms of the individual credit facilities and lending agreements will be subject to CDB`s internal risk management requirements and operational regulations.

“We are very pleased to enter into this strategic financing agreement with CDB which demonstrates their confidence in and support of LDK Solar,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. “Through our strong partnership with CDB, we will have an enhanced ability to pursue our long-term growth strategy and further strengthen our position within the PV industry market.”

About LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK)
LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (NYSE: LDK) is a leading vertically integrated manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) products and the world’s largest producer of multicrystalline wafers. LDK Solar manufactures polysilicon, mono and multicrystalline ingots, wafers, modules, and engages in project development activities in selected segments of the PV market. Through its broad product offering of mono and multicrystalline solar wafers and modules, LDK Solar provides its customers with a full spectrum of solutions. LDK Solar’s headquarters and manufacturing facilities are located in Hi-Tech Industrial Park, Xinyu City, Jiangxi Province in the People’s Republic of China. LDK Solar’s office in the United States is located in Sunnyvale, California. For more information about our company and products, please visit www.ldksolar.com

Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements other than statements of historical fact in this press release are forward-looking statements, including but not limited to, LDK Solar’s ability to raise additional capital to finance its operating activities, the effectiveness, profitability and marketability of its products, the future trading of its securities, the ability of LDK Solar to operate as a public company, the period of time during which its current liquidity will enable LDK Solar to fund its operations, its ability to protect its proprietary information, the general economic and business environment and conditions, the volatility of LDK Solar’s operating results and financial condition, its ability to attract and retain qualified senior management personnel and research and development staff, its ability to timely and efficiently complete its ongoing construction projects, including its polysilicon plants, and other risks and uncertainties disclosed in LDK Solar’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are based on information available to LDK Solar’s management as of the date hereof and on its current expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections about LDK Solar and the solar industry. Actual results may differ materially from the anticipated results because of such and other risks and uncertainties. LDK Solar undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, or changes in its expectations, assumptions, estimates and projections except as may be required by law.

For more information contact:
Lisa Laukkanen
The Blueshirt Group for LDK Solar
lisa@blueshirtgroup.com
+1-415-217-4967

Jack Lai
Executive VP and CFO
LDK Solar Co., Ltd.
IR@ldksolar.com
+1- 408-245-8801