1 April 2015

Results: Environmental Finance's 8th Annual Deals of the Year Awards

Environmental Finance has revealed the winners of its 8th Annual Deals of the Year Awards.

The winners of this year's awards reflect the vibrancy of the renewable energy sector and other environmental markets in a bumper year for transactions. They include one of the biggest ever wind farms, innovative loan notes to promote conservation, and a rare green project bond.

The break-down of the awards, which covered 2014, are as follows:

  • Personality of the year: Mats Andersson, CEO of AP4, has helped drive the Portfolio Decarbonisation Coalition forward ahead of the all-important UN climate talks in Paris.
  • Solar energy deal of the year: Renewables operator Capital Stage and insurance firm Gothaer Versicherung devised a novel way of financing solar projects that could be copied by other firms.
  • Wind energy deal of the year: Project Gemini. It was big, it was bold, and it broke new ground in the way it was financed.
  • Bioenergy deal of the year: The Speyside biomass CHP project combined public and private finance to provide heat for the famous Macallan whisky distillery. Cheers!
  • Environmental bond of the year: Energia Eolica's renewables project bond. Most green bonds to-date have been 'use of proceeds', so this transaction in Latin America was important.
  • IPO of the year: Abengoa Yield. With assets in numerous countries, this was a significant development in the evolution of 'yieldcos'.
  • M&A: SunEdison and TerraForm's acquisition of First Wind. A massive deal to create a renewables giant.
  • Sustainable forestry deal of the year: The issue of Althelia Ecosphere and Credit Suisse's Nature Conservation Notes was a rare transaction in conservation finance.
  • Carbon finance deal of the year: ClimateCare's fund for ethanol cookstoves combines government grants with income from carbon credits, and could help kick off a new phase in carbon finance.
  • Weather risk management deal of the year: Swiss Re's solar energy hedge in China was "a breakthrough transaction" that should help remove some of the risk in the country's solar projects.
  • Catastrophe risk deal of the year: A catastrophe bond issued by Everglades Re for Citizens Property Insurance was upsized numerous times to reach a record $1.5 billion in response to unexpectedly strong investor demand.

The winners of this year's awards are to be praised for showing innovation in helping meet the immense capital needs of the renewables sector. They provide further evidence that institutional investors are becoming increasingly comfortable with renewables as an asset class, and we expect to see continued financial innovation to help attract investment this year.

Peter Cripps