ESG Investment


Incentives for renewable energy have been a hot topic in the U.S. lately, especially with new provisions geared towards implementing recently developed technologies that aim to fight climate change. The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), signed into law in August of this year, contained significant adjustments to several climate and sustainability solution incentives. Widely regarded as landmark legislation, it was one of the most extensive environmental policies in decades. It laid the groundwork for incremental change through increases in tax credit incentives for projects like Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS), battery storage, and solar Investment Tax Credits (ITCs). Under the IRA, institutional investors may now see higher tax credit returns on their investment and new opportunities through ITC adders. The U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offer a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. No one action can address all 17 goals at once but using the SDGs as guidelines can help inform corporations of processes that can help tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time. The adjustments made to policies under the IRA align in many ways with the SDGs including those made to solar ITCs. ITCs are calculated as a percentage of the cost that solar developers spend on solar power production equipment while constructing a project. Before the IRA, ITCs were set to reach 10% by 2024, but under the IRA, they now have a base rate of 30% locked in for the next ten years. The law also includes certain adders that can increase the total amount to 60%. The increased incentives can help move solar projects forward despite the recent high interest and inflation rates. These adders include, but are not limited to: 10% for projects located…

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Carbon Capture, Utilization and Sequestration (CCUS) is the process of capturing carbon oxide (can be either carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide, but most commonly we speak of carbon dioxide or CO2) from emission sources for the purpose of preventing it from reaching the atmosphere, which would amplify greenhouse heating. Typically, the CO2 is permanently stored deep underground, but it can also be utilized in other ways, so long as the CO2 never reaches the atmosphere. CCUS and the related 45Q tax credit provides a unique opportunity for tax equity investors to invest in an Environmental, Societal, and Governance (ESG) friendly tax credit. The process of CCUS typically involves the following steps: Locate a predictable and constant source of carbon dioxide emissions: Most combustion processes create CO2, a few examples are coal/natural gas plants, power plants, and ethanol production. Capture the CO2: The process involved in capturing the CO2 depends on the concentration or purity levels of the source emissions. High purity emissions of CO2 (>95% by volume), such as the CO2 emitted from the biorefining of ethanol requires minimal, off-the-shelf-technology to separate out the CO2. Low purity emissions (<95% by volume), such as the CO2 emitted from a coal power plant require advanced technology and various chemical processes to separate out the CO2. Find storage site: A suitable storage site is required to permanently sequester the CO2. Currently, the most suitable sites may be a saline aquifer or in a depleted oil reservoir as is the case in enhanced oil recovery (EOR).  Other means of permanent storage are being pursued, for example permanent sequestration in concrete during the manufacturing process. Transfer the CO2 to the sequestration site: In some instances, producers (emitters) of CO2 may be conveniently located on or near a suitable storage site. In all other instances, pipelines are used to transport the CO2 from the emitters to the…

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A field of Solar Panels, solar ITC


BY DREW GOLDMAN, VP OF INVESTMENTS Every year, many sophisticated corporations divert over $20 billion of federal tax payments into projects in renewable energy, affordable housing, and historic preservation, in exchange for tax breaks and investment benefits. Some perceive a significant level of complication in these programs, and therefore delay taking a closer look. The very word ‘investment’ moves many people outside their comfort zones. As a manager of funds delivering Renewable Energy Tax Credits (Sec. 48 of the Internal Revenue Code), Foss & Company is in the business of making it easy to take advantage of this high-impact federal tax incentive. ITC (investment tax credit) Funds provide a well-defined system for dealing with project and developer selection, project structuring, negotiation and closing, as well as potential tax benefit delivery including: Determining project eligibility and focusing on any hurdles to placing site(s) into service Structuring the transaction to address developer and investor needs Underwriting the developer, underlying power purchase contract and pro forma operations Valuing and appropriately pricing tax credits and other projected benefits Delivering Tax documents and financial reporting for annual federal filings In terms of physical asset protection, potential losses at a solar farm typically to fall into two categories: ‘Acts of God’– fire, floods, earthquakes, or storms that damage the array or interrupting operations; and ‘Acts of Man’ – such as terrorism, a vehicle or plane crash, negligent maintenance, or faulty equipment. These risks can be insured against potential losses. One risk typically not covered in conventional policies is fraud. Foss & Company conducts due diligence and background checks on each developer and its principals prior to closing any project. The lender and the long-term power buyer (typically a utility, municipality, or large corporation) conduct their own independent evaluations as well. Recapture Risk – The full value of…

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