New Capacity From Renewables Is 3,500 Times More Than That From Coal

by North American Windpower Staff on February 03, 2016

Coming in first place for all renewable sources of energy, wind power accounted for nearly half of all new generating capacity in the U.S. last year, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Citing the FERC statistics, nonprofit SUN DAY Campaign says wind added 7,977 MW of new generating capacity – or 48.39% of all new capacity. In addition, that amount is a third more than the 5,942 MW provided by natural gas.

Among other renewable sources, solar added 2,042 MW, followed by biomass with 305 MW, hydropower with 153 MW and geothermal steam with 48 MW. Setting a new annual record, renewable sources accounted for almost two-thirds (63.85%) of the 16,485 MW of new electrical generation placed in service.

FERC reports no new capacity from nuclear power and just 15 MW from oil and 3 MW from coal. Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources during 2015 (10,525 MW) was more than 700 times greater than that from oil and over 3,500 times greater than that from coal, according to SUN DAY.

Renewable energy sources now account for 17.83% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: water at 8.56%, wind at 6.31%, biomass at 1.43%, solar at 1.20% and geothermal steam at 0.33%. The share of total installed capacity from non-hydro renewables (9.27%) now exceeds that from conventional hydropower (8.56%).

For perspective, when FERC issued its very first Energy Infrastructure Update in December 2010, renewable sources accounted for only 13.71% of total installed operating generation capacity.

Over the past five years, says SUN DAY, solar’s share has increased 12-fold (1.20% vs. 0.10%), while that from wind has nearly doubled (6.31% vs. 3.40%). During the same period, coal’s share of the nation’s generating capacity has plummeted from 30.37% to 26.16%.

Finally, for the first time, installed electrical capacity from non-hydro renewables (108.34 GW) has now eclipsed that of nuclear power (107.03 GW), according to SUN DAY.

“If it weren’t already obvious, the latest FERC data confirm that the era of coal, oil and nuclear power is rapidly drawing to a close,” says Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “The future – in fact, the present – has become renewable energy.”

Hannon Armstrong Completes $100.5 million, A-Rated, 19 Year Term, 4.28% Sustainable Yield Bonds™ Offering

Hannon Armstrong Completes $100.5 million, A-Rated, 19 Year Term, 4.28% Sustainable Yield Bonds™ Offering With CarbonCount™ Score of 0.39 MT/$1000

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Sept. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc. (“Hannon Armstrong,” “we”, “our” or the “Company;”) (NYSE: HASI), a leading provider of debt and equity financing to the energy efficiency and renewable energy markets, today completed an offering of A-rated (Kroll) Sustainable Yield Bonds issued by its indirect subsidiary and secured by a portion of its utility scale solar and wind real estate related assets. The transaction was certified by the Alliance to Save Energy’s CarbonCount, with a score of 0.39 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions reduced annually per $1,000 of investment.
“The 19 year tenor allows us to lock-in historically low interest rates in accordance with our plan to move to 50% to 70% fixed rate debt,” said Jeffrey Eckel, President & CEO. “This is our second debt transaction to disclose the estimated annual reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and the first to receive a CarbonCount score, which allows investors to easily measure a green bond’s carbon impact, just as they can evaluate interest rate and credit quality,” continued Eckel.

The bonds consist of a senior class of bonds (the “Class A Bonds”) in an aggregate principal amount of $100,500,000 with an interest rate of 4.28%. The junior class of bonds (the “Class B Bonds”) consists of $18,112,000 aggregate principal amount with an interest rate of 5.00% and was retained by the Company. Both classes of notes have an anticipated repayment date in October 2034. Hannon Armstrong Capital, LLC, the operating subsidiary of the Company, will act as servicer for the securitization.

The Class A Bonds received an investment grade rating of A and the Class B Bonds received a rating of BBB from the Kroll Bond Rating Agency, Inc. The Company believes that the rating reflects the predictability and quality of the cash flows of the underlying assets, with strong, experienced publicly rated project sponsors and off-takers. This is a new asset class in the asset-backed securities market and the first Hannon Armstrong issuance to achieve a public investment grade rating. Bank of America Merrill Lynch acted as structuring agent for the offering.

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy these securities, and there shall not be any offer or sale of these securities in any state in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.

About Hannon Armstrong

Hannon Armstrong (NYSE: HASI) provides debt and equity financing to the energy efficiency and renewable energy markets. We focus on providing preferred or senior level capital to established sponsors and high credit quality obligors for assets that generate long-term, recurring and predictable cash flows. We are based in Annapolis, Maryland, and we elected and qualified to be taxed as a real estate investment trust (REIT) for federal income-tax purposes, beginning with our taxable year ended December 31, 2013.

The CarbonCount score included in this press release was obtained from a third party source that the Company believes to be reliable. The Company has not independently verified such data, which involves risks and uncertainties and is subject to change based on various factors.

Forward-Looking Statements

Some of the information contained in this press release are forward-looking statements and within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. When used in this press release, the words such as “believe,” “expect, “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “continue,” “intend,” “should,” “may,” or similar expressions, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on such statements. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements include those discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” included in the Company’s report on Form 10-K that was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), as well as in other reports that the Company files with the SEC.

Forward-looking statements are based on beliefs, assumptions and expectations as of the date of this press release. The Company disclaims any obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements reflecting new estimates, events or circumstances after the date of this press release.

Investor Relations
410-571-6189
investors@hannonarmstrong.com

Scatec Solar Closes USD 157 Million Financing from Google and Prudential Capital

OSLO, Norway, Jan. 7, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Scatec Solar ASA (‘SSO’), the integrated independent solar power producer, has entered into financing agreements totalling USD 157 million for construction of a 104 MW(dc) Red Hills solar power plant in Utah. When complete, the Red Hills solar project will be Scatec Solar’s largest developed and constructed project in North America.

Total investment for the plant is estimated at USD 188 million—with Google providing tax equity, Prudential Capital Group providing debt financing, and Scatec Solar providing sponsor equity. The power plant will be wholly-owned by a partnership jointly owned by Google and Scatec Solar, which structured and executed the financing for the project. Scatec Solar will manage and operate the plant when it goes into operation.

“We are very pleased to finalize financing for the Red Hills project and start construction on our largest project in North America,” says Scatec Solar CEO Raymond Carlsen.

Google has signed agreements to fund over $1.5 billion in renewable energy investments across three continents with a total planned capacity of more than 2.5 GW (gigawatts). This agreement represents the 18th renewable energy investment project for Google and supports its continued push towards a clean, low carbon energy future.

Prudential Capital Group, a Prudential Financial asset management business, provided term financing for the project. “We have supported Scatec Solar for the last four years through the development process and are excited to team up with Google to execute this transaction,” said Ric Abel, Managing Director, power, Prudential Capital Group’s Energy Finance Group.

The Utah Red Hills Renewable Energy Park, set to be built on a site with excellent solar irradiation, will generate around 210 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, which will be fed into the grid under a twenty-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with PacifiCorp’s Rocky Mountain Power, according to the utility’s obligation under the federal Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act. When operational by the end of 2015, the plant will be Utah’s largest solar energy generation facility, generating enough energy to power approximately 18,500 homes annually. Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates, it will produce enough renewable power to prevent nearly 145 thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually—the equivalent to not burning 156 million pounds of coal each year.

“This investment from industry leaders Google and Prudential Capital Group represents a major step forward in providing Rocky Mountain Power access to the superb solar power potential available in Southern Utah,” said Luigi Resta, Managing Director of Scatec Solar North America.

The ground-mounted photovoltaic solar facility is being developed on approximately 650 acres of privately-owned land in Parowan, Utah, will deploy approximately 325,000 PV modules on a single-axis tracking system and will interconnect to an existing transmission line.

About Scatec Solar
Scatec Solar is an integrated independent power producer, aiming to make solar a sustainable and affordable source of energy worldwide. Scatec Solar develops, builds, owns and operates solar power plants, and will in 2014 deliver power from 220 MW in the Czech Republic, South Africa and Rwanda. The company is in strong growth and has a solid pipeline of projects under development in Africa, US, Asia, Middle East and Europe. Scatec Solar is headquartered in Oslo, Norway and listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘SSO’.

International Entourage!

Our own Allie traveled to the Dominican Republic to build this family of eight a new house. She arrived equipped with our  retired softball shirts. There’s no better feeling than to give to those who need it most!  AWCC Capital personally, wishes this beautiful family many years of happiness, memories and security in their new home!

Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc. Acquires $107 Million Portfolio of Land and Leases for Solar and Wind Projects

ANNAPOLIS, Md., May 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc.(“Hannon Armstrong,” “we,” “our” or the “company;” NYSE: HASI), a leading sustainable infrastructure investor, today announced the acquisition of a $107 million portfolio of land and payments from land leases underlying wind and solar projects. HASI also entered into an expansion of its existing credit facility, which provides for an additional $200 million of capacity and increased flexibility in terms. “We have acquired high credit quality, long duration lease streams that are senior to the project debt in some of the largest solar and wind projects in the country,” said Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Eckel. “This portfolio diversifies our asset mix while moving us toward our 2014 financial targets and adds another platform for originating new assets that fit well with our REIT structure.”

Highlights:

Acquired more than 7,500 acres of land leased to three solar projects with a value of approximately $60 million and the payments from 11 additional land leases for a diversified portfolio of wind projects with a value of approximately $27 million. In addition, another portfolio of 46 smaller streams of payments from land leases on wind projects was also purchased. The land and leases purchased support wind and solar projects developed or owned by high credit quality entities, including Southern Company, NRG Yield, First Solar and NextEra, with long term investment grade power purchase agreements from utilities such as SDG&E, PG&E, LADWP and SCE. “Strategically, this transaction is a terrific fit: It adds high credit quality assets at attractive risk-adjusted yields, grows our near term pipeline and increases our capacity to add distributed energy assets by expanding our REIT asset base,” said Eckel. “In addition to the long duration assets, we now will enjoy equity upsides from long-term land ownership, all the while taking the least risk in the project capital stack,” added Eckel.

The Transaction:

The transaction is structured as a purchase of American Wind Capital Company, LLC with no debt, liabilities or employees. Existing employees and management will form a new company named AWCC Capital, LLC to originate additional transactions in which HASI has a right of first refusal to purchase additional transactions.

Expansion of Credit Facility:

HASI has also expanded its existing credit facility by increasing its overall capacity by $200 million. The new terms provide an increase in the maximum borrowings allowed at any point in time in the project finance facility from $150 million to $250 million, and an increase in the total maximum advances allowed under the facility from $700 million Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc.) million to $250 million, and an increase in the total maximum advances allowed under the facility from $700 million to $900 million. The amendment also expanded the eligibility criteria to reflect current market opportunities in distributed energy assets. “The expansion of our credit facility, combined with our recent equity offering, provides us with additional financial resources to continue to grow our business,” said Chief Financial Officer Brendan Herron. “Aligning our credit facility with the market opportunities is key to ensuring optimal leverage in our capital structure.”

About Hannon Armstrong:

Hannon Armstrong makes debt and equity investments in sustainable infrastructure projects. The company focuses on profitable projects that increase energy efficiency, provide cleaner energy, positively impact the environment or make more efficient use of natural resources. Hannon Armstrong targets projects that have high credit quality obligors, fully contracted revenue streams and inherent economic value. The company, based in Annapolis, Maryland, intends to elect and qualify to be taxed as a real estate investment trust (REIT) for federal income-tax purposes, commencing with its taxable year ended Dec. 31, 2013.

Forward Looking Statements: Some of the information contained in this press release are forward-looking statements and within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. When used in this press release, words such as “believe,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “estimate,” “plan,” “continue,” “intend,” “should,” “may,” “target,” or similar expressions, are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Investors are cautioned against placing undue reliance on such statements. Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements include those discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” included in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for our fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, which was filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as well as in other reports that we file with the SEC. Forward-looking statements are based on beliefs, assumptions and expectations as of the date of this press release. We disclaim any obligation to publicly release the results of any revisions to these forward-looking statements reflecting new estimates, events or circumstances after the date of this press release.

Investor Relations: investors@hannonarmstrong.com

Marathon Capital Advises American Wind Capital Company on Sale of Portfolio and Company

May 28, 2014

Chicago, IL – May 28, 2014 – American Wind Capital Company (“AWCC”), the market leader in monetizing longterm, contracted ground rent / ground lease agreements in high-quality solar and wind projects, has been sold to Hannon Armstrong Capital, LLC and its affiliate Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital, Inc., for $106,650,000. Marathon Capital, LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to AWCC for this transaction. AWCC currently owns leases on more than 40 projects, representing more than 1,000 MWs of solar and wind generating capacity located in 14 US states. These leases produce long-term, stable, contracted cash flows that are senior in priority. While monetizing wind lease payments has been occurring for some time, separating the underlying land from solar projects is a relatively new concept, and one that brings significant, accretive, benefit to the solar asset owner. Contemporaneously with the sale, Hannon Armstrong entered into a mutually exclusive agreement with AWCC Capital, which is made up of the AWCC management team, to continue to originate solar and wind related real estate transactions. AWCC has a significant pipeline of future transactions and anticipates strong future growth in association with its new ownership.

AWCC’s CEO, Chuck Hinckley, said “this is a great deal – Hannon Armstrong is getting an exceptional portfolio of renewable related real estate assets, and AWCC Capital has access to a superior source of capital to continue providing value adding real estate solutions to solar and wind developers and landowners. The combination of our experience in this market and Hannon’s financial support create an opportunity for powerful growth.” “Marathon did a superior job creating a win, win, win for the selling shareholders, Hannon Armstrong the Buyer, and management who will continue to operate the business”, Hinckley said.

About Marathon Capital:

Marathon Capital is a leading financial advisory and investment banking firm focused on providing financial advice in the areas of M&A, debt and equity capital raising, project financing, tax equity, financial restructuring, recapitalization, bankruptcy and workout situations in the global energy and infrastructure markets. Marathon Capital was named “Best Renewable Asset M&A Advisor” in 2013 by Power Finance and Risk. Visit http://www.marathon-cap.com

Salvation Gets Cheap!

The New York Times: The Opinion Press         Article by Paul Krugman  posted APRIL 17, 2014

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which pools the efforts of scientists around the globe, has begun releasing draft chapters from its latest assessment, and, for the most part, the reading is as grim as you might expect. We are still on the road to catastrophe without major policy changes.

But there is one piece of the assessment that is surprisingly, if conditionally, upbeat: Its take on the economics of mitigation. Even as the report calls for drastic action to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, it asserts that the economic impact of such drastic action would be surprisingly small. In fact, even under the most ambitious goals the assessment considers, the estimated reduction in economic growth would basically amount to a rounding error, around 0.06 percent per year.

What’s behind this economic optimism? To a large extent, it reflects a technological revolution many people don’t know about, the incredible recent decline in the cost of renewable energy, solar power in particular.

Before I get to that revolution, however, let’s talk for a minute about the overall relationship between economic growth and the environment.

Other things equal, more G.D.P. tends to mean more pollution. What transformed China into the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases? Explosive economic growth. But other things don’t have to be equal. There’s no necessary one-to-one relationship between growth and pollution.

People on both the left and the right often fail to understand this point. (I hate it when pundits try to make every issue into a case of “both sides are wrong,” but, in this case, it happens to be true.) On the left, you sometimes find environmentalists asserting that to save the planet we must give up on the idea of an ever-growing economy; on the right, you often find assertions that any attempt to limit pollution will have devastating impacts on growth. But there’s no reason we can’t become richer while reducing our impact on the environment.

Let me add that free-market advocates seem to experience a peculiar loss of faith whenever the subject of the environment comes up. They normally trumpet their belief that the magic of the market can surmount all obstacles — that the private sector’s flexibility and talent for innovation can easily cope with limiting factors like scarcity of land or minerals. But suggest the possibility of market-friendly environmental measures, like a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, and they suddenly assert that the private sector would be unable to cope, that the costs would be immense. Funny how that works.

The sensible position on the economics of climate change has always been that it’s like the economics of everything else — that if we give corporations and individuals an incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, they will respond. What form would that response take? Until a few years ago, the best guess was that it would proceed on many fronts, involving everything from better insulation and more fuel-efficient cars to increased use of nuclear power.

One front many people didn’t take too seriously, however, was renewable energy. Sure, cap-and-trade might make more room for wind and the sun, but how important could such sources really end up being? And I have to admit that I shared that skepticism. If truth be told, I thought of the idea that wind and sun could be major players as hippie-dippy wishful thinking.

But I was wrong.

The climate change panel, in its usual deadpan prose, notes that “many RE [renewable energy] technologies have demonstrated substantial performance improvements and cost reductions” since it released its last assessment, back in 2007. The Department of Energy is willing to display a bit more open enthusiasm; it titled a report on clean energy released last year “Revolution Now.” That sounds like hyperbole, but you realize that it isn’t when you learn that the price of solar panels has fallen more than 75 percent just since 2008.

Thanks to this technological leap forward, the climate panel can talk about “decarbonizing” electricity generation as a realistic goal — and since coal-fired power plants are a very large part of the climate problem, that’s a big part of the solution right there.

It’s even possible that decarbonizing will take place without special encouragement, but we can’t and shouldn’t count on that. The point, instead, is that drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions are now within fairly easy reach.

So is the climate threat solved? Well, it should be. The science is solid; the technology is there; the economics look far more favorable than anyone expected. All that stands in the way of saving the planet is a combination of ignorance, prejudice and vested interests. What could go wrong? Oh, wait.

Corn Plummeting Spurs Talk of ’80s U.S. Farmland Bust: Mortgages

Bloomberg News  by Kathleen M. Howley  ♦ December 17, 2013


Din Tai Fung, a restaurant in Shanghai’s Xintiandi district, is famous for its steamed pork dumplings. The pigs that keep those dumplings on the table are fattened with corn — much of it imported from the U.S.

American farmers have prospered during a three-year boom in corn and cropland prices. As values have soared since 2011, farmers bought more acres and upgraded their harvesters to produce a record corn crop of almost 14 billion bushels in 2013.

Nothing better shows the fertile times than investment in farm equipment. Sales of self-propelled combines, including an $850,000 John Deere (DE:US) model with iPod system, navigational equipment and heated seats and an attachment that harvests the corn, jumped 40 percent in November.

Now, as corn prices start to decline, bankers and agricultural economists are predicting a slowdown in farmland prices that could turn into a bust.

“I can see the fear in farmers’ eyes when they think of all the moving pieces around the world gutting the value of next year’s crop,” said David Kohl, an agricultural economist and president of consulting firm AgriVisions, who last week spoke at several farming conferences in northern Nebraska. “Most of them know the boom in corn prices and farmland prices is coming to a screeching halt.”

U.S. farmers, whose earnings grew an average 6 percent in 2013, face several challenges: a likely reduction in corn exports to China after a record year; greater competition from other nations; moves in the U.S. and the European Union to limit the use of ethanol, a biofuel made from corn; and a possible record in production of the crop in 2014.

1980s Crash

Kohl said a plunge in land prices would strip value from farms and put over-leveraged farmers out of business. Farmland prices are up 72 percent to about $8,000 an acre in the last three years, according to data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In Iowa, the largest producer of corn, the gain was 90 percent, according to the Iowa State University in Ames.

The value of the nation’s $2.5 trillion of farmland may tumble by as much as 30 percent in the next three years as the corn rush ends, according to Gary Ash, chief executive officer for 1st Farm Credit Services in Normal, Illinois.

“The increase in land prices was caused by the increase in corn prices,” Ash said. “The reverse is going to be true. The drop in corn is going to result in a drop in land value.”

In the 1980s — the last time an agricultural land-price bubble burst — thousands of families lost their properties. Farmers who bought additional land when prices were surging were caught with too much debt as commodity prices fell.

Lender’s Nightmares

Farmland prices tumbled 27 percent in the four years following a 1982 peak, according to USDA data. In some areas of the Midwest’s grain belt, losses were more than 50 percent.

Stephen Riebel, a loan officer at Bank of Colby in Colby, Kansas, said he still has nightmares about those days. As a young banker, he visited deeply indebted farmers who were his friends and neighbors to hand them eviction notices after a collapse in corn prices.

“All it takes is for everyone in the world to have a good crop next year and land prices will drop like a rock,” Riebel said from his office in northwest Kansas. “I’ve seen the heartache that leads to.”

Lessons Learned

Bankers have learned their lesson, said Timothy Buzby, CEO of agricultural financier Farmer Mac (AGM:US) in Washington. Most banks won’t give mortgages to properties that don’t have at least 30 percent equity — the amount needed to protect them if there is a decline in land values, he said.

“If there is a correction in land prices, farmers would hear a resounding ‘I told you so’ from most bankers,” said Buzby. “We haven’t seen many people go out on a limb to finance unwise land purchases.”

Farmer Mac sells debt to buy eligible farm and rural utility loans and makes money on the spread between the sale price of the debt and income from loans it purchases. Farm debt rose 10 percent to $310.2 billion this year, according to the USDA.

Some farmers expect a soft landing. Martin Barbre, who owns a 5,500-acre farm in Carmi, Illinois, has been growing crops for more than three decades. Corn accounts for about 50 percent of his production. He bought about 250 acres of land in the last three years and said prices will likely plateau.

King Corn

“I think we’re going to see corn prices stabilize, and we’ll have either level land prices or a slight drop,” Barbre said. “I’m not looking to see a large price crash like in the 80s. Absolutely not.”

Barbre said ripples in agriculture, which accounts for about 5 percent of gross domestic product, will affect the wider economy. “The rural economy has been one of the bright spots of the recovery, and to lose that would have a wide impact,” he said.

Corn is America’s biggest cash crop, reaping $63.9 billion in 2011, according to the USDA. Soybeans are next, at $37.6 billion, followed by wheat, at $14.6 billion.

The U.S. accounts for one-third of the global corn harvests. About 95 million acres are used for corn in the U.S., almost a third of cultivated farmland, according to the National Corn Growers Association in St. Louis, Missouri. The land devoted to corn equals the size of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and most of the remaining eastern seaboard.

Shunning Corn

At the Chicago Board of Trade, where commodities are bought and sold, investors are shunning corn after the three-year run-up in prices. The crop rose to 2013 high of $8 a bushel in July before tumbling to a three-year low of $4.10 earlier this month. Global demand for the grain had dropped 35 percent from an all-time high in May, according to a USDA index.

Prices for corn probably will continue to decline for at least the next two months, according to Jeffrey Zhang, head of Asia research at Trading Central Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong.

Hedge fund managers and other speculators are betting the losing streak is far from finished. Short positions, or trades that make money when prices fall, outnumbered long bets by almost 100,000 contracts in December’s first week, according to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission in Washington.

Ethanol Reduction

China, which buys almost 15 percent of American corn exports a year, is stepping up imports from U.S. competitors such as Argentina, Ukraine and Thailand. China’s corn imports add to its own harvest, which hit a record this year. China has turned away more than four shipments of American corn in the last two months because they failed to pass purity tests.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed last month cutting the amount of ethanol that refiners are required to blend with gasoline by 9.7 percent next year from the targets set in 2007. The petroleum industry says the targets are excessive. Ethanol advocates say such a move would hurt American farmers as well as increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Some farmers are still spending like the boom times are far from over. The November increase in combine sales was the biggest in two years.

Agricultural machinery producers’ earnings rose 31 percent in the third quarter. Moline, Illinois-based Deere & Co., the world’s largest maker of farming equipment, posted third-quarter profit that exceeded analyst consensus by 10 percent.

Farmers’ Toys

“You’re always going to have bad farmers who make bad decisions, just like any profession, but we’ve found for the most part farmers are cautious by nature,” Farmer Mac’s Buzby said. “It’s been a good decade for agriculture, and there have been farmers overspending on toys, but most of them will try to limit debt.”

As the corn era winds down, the top one-third of farmers will continue to do well, the economist Kohl said. Those that used their cash to buy helicopters and lake houses will suffer the most.

“We’re seeing an end of a corn super-cycle that brought wealth and prosperity to much of rural America,” Kohl said.

Happy Holidays from American Wind Capital!

May the Holiday Season Bring You Joyful

Moments and Warm Memories!

CIT Serves as Lead Arranger in $100 Million Renewable Energy Land Lease Financing

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–CIT Group Inc. (NYSE:CIT) cit.com, a leading provider of financing and advisory services to small businesses and middle market companies, today announced that it arranged a $100 million senior secured credit facility for AWCC Holdings LLC, a subsidiary of American Wind Capital, to acquire a portfolio of land leases from solar projects from Hawaii to New York.

CIT Corporate Finance, Energy served as Lead Arranger in the transaction and financing was provided by CIT Bank, the U.S. commercial bank subsidiary of CIT. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

“This unique financing will allow AWCC to further grow its portfolio of land leases and lease royalties throughout the United States,” said Mike Lorusso, Managing Director and Group Head of CIT Energy. “This transaction allowed us to showcase our range of creativity and capabilities in the renewable energy sector in structuring a deal that benefited all parties.”

American Wind Capital’s CEO Chuck Hinckley said, “CIT and AWCC have structured an innovative and first of its kind financing for both our existing portfolio as well as a flexible facility that will allow us to expand our business. We acquire and lease the real estate underlying utility scale solar power projects, allowing project sponsors to optimize their capital structures. To date, we have acquired over 8,000 acres under 540MW of operating solar projects. Given the robust pipeline of solar projects in development across the U.S., we see tremendous growth potential in this business segment. In our traditional business of monetizing wind power project rents for landowners, we provide landowners that host windpower projects with an important source of liquidity that allows them to retain ownership of their land. We expect CIT to be an outstanding partner as we expand our portfolio in both of these business segments.”

About American Wind Capital Company

American Wind Capital is a triple net leasing business focused on the power sector, and also acquires rental income from landowners who lease their land to wind power projects. American Wind Capital is located in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.

CIT Corporate Finance provides lending, leasing and other financial and advisory services to the small business and middle market sectors, with a focus on specific industries, including: Business Services, Commercial Real Estate, Communications, Energy, Entertainment, Gaming, Healthcare, Industrials, Information Services & Technology, Restaurants, Retail, and Sports & Media.

About CIT Bank

Founded in 2000, CIT Bank (Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender) is the U.S. commercial bank subsidiary of CIT Group Inc. (NYSE:CIT). It provides lending and leasing to the small business, middle market and rail sectors. Through its online bank,  CIT Bank offers a suite of savings options designed to help customers achieve a range of financial goals. As of June 30, 2013, it had $11.1 billion of deposits and $13.9 billion of assets.

About CIT

Founded in 1908, CIT (NYSE:CIT) is a bank holding company with more than $35 billion in financing and leasing assets. It provides financing and leasing capital and advisory services to its clients and their customers across more than 30 industries. CIT maintains leadership positions in small business and middle market lending, factoring, retail finance, aerospace, equipment and rail leasing, and vendor finance. CIT operates CIT Bank(Member FDIC), its primary bank subsidiary, which, through its online bank BankOnCIT.com, offers a suite of savings options designed to help customers achieve a range of financial goals.