Renewable energy investments continue to accelerate, with major companies spending big over the past two weeks to beef up infrastructure and capabilities. Our analysis focuses on major, recent investments: Reliance Industries and Iberdrola making big spends on renewables, as well as Eastman Chemical and LG Chem building new plastics recycling facilities.

Sam Leavitt
January 20, 2022

ESG Spotlight: New Year, New Investments in Renewables and More

ESG Spotlight: New Year, New Investments in Renewables and More

Using the Materiality filter for Investments on our ESG Safeguard platform showed us that over the past two weeks, investments in renewable energy continue to accelerate. Some companies are furthering their efforts in renewables, while others are bringing new projects to the table outside the scope of renewables. In keeping with our 5 Themes for 2022, some of these investments not only encompass wind and solar, but also we find the incorporation of other clean technology items, like hydrogen infrastructure and recycling.

Large Companies Spend Big

The biggest ticket spend came last week when Reliance Industries (500325:IN) announced that they will be spending $80B in Gujarat on green infrastructure. The majority of which ($67.3B) will go towards building a 100GW renewable energy power plant over the next 10 to 15 years. Other spending will go towards hydrogen infrastructure and producing materials for renewables, like photovoltaic cells and hydrogen fuel cells.

Also in the renewables space, Iberdrola SA (IBE:ES) is finalizing plans to take control of Commonwealth Wind in Massachusetts through its subsidiary Avangrid Renewables (AGR), adding 1,232 MW of output from the offshore wind development in Martha’s Vineyard, when completed. The company also has sole control of the 800MW Park City Wind project in Connecticut.

Iberdrola is the largest offshore wind developer in the U.S., with 4.9 GW in current and future projects. Iberdrola is not the first nor the last foreign company to capitalize on clean infrastructure opportunities as stateside companies continue to play catch up in these markets.

ESG Safeguard Platform: Environmental Investments Materiality Scorecard, Past 14 Days

Chemical Companies Upping the Ante on Recycling

Not to be outdone by Energy companies, this week Chemical companies made waves with environmental investments too. The Eastman Chemical Company (EMN:US) is spending $1B to build what will be the world's largest plastics recycling facility in France.

Elsewhere, LG Chem Ltd. (051910:KR) is building a plastics recycling facility that will be completed in 2024. The facility will be able to recycle 20,000 tons of plastic annually. Plastic waste remains an important problem and it is important for companies to help develop post-consumer solutions. While plastic packaging is starting to be phased out by consumer goods companies, it is not going away soon enough. Therefore bridge solutions like this are a critical step towards alleviating the impact on the environment from plastics.

Keeping an Eye on Materiality

Following our 5 Themes for 2022 we used our Materiality feature as an integral tool to get at the heart of what companies are doing to make an impact. Reliance Industries and Iberdrola are spending a majority of their investment on wind and solar, but in the case of Reliance, they mentioned a portion of that allocation would go towards hydrogen as well. Outside of wind and solar, the two chemical companies are directing their resources towards recycling. We expect wind and solar to be a large spending category for companies, but we also expect other environmental issues like recycling and newer renewables technologies to get more attention in 2022.

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