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HSBC to Buy Stakes in Wind and Solar Projects of China and India

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HSBC Holdings, Europe’s biggest bank, is looking to buy stakes in companies engaged in wind and solar ventures in China and India as it builds up its renewable energy portfolio, a bank official said.”The Asian market is now becoming more attractive from an investor’s perspective,” said Siobhan Smyth, managing director and head of renewable energy project and export finance at HSBC.

“Within Asia, we are seriously looking at India and China. We’re primarily looking at wind,” Smyth told a conference in Hong Kong. “Solar is of interest to us, but we see the biggest opportunities on the wind side,” said Smyth.

“We’re looking across the spectrum. We look at supporting these transactions from the financing perspective in terms of bringing in investors and looking at the equity side,” she said.

Security of energy supply and the need for infrastructure are the main drivers for investment in Asia’s renewable sector, smyth said.

“Within Asia, you still have an investor base with access to capital. In terms of the Europe and U.S. markets, it’s obviously more challenging from an infrastructure perspective,” she said.

The bank’s bigger investments in renewable projects thus far are in the United States and UK.

Last year, HSBC committed roughly 50 million pounds ($72.4 million) to renewable energy projects through a stake in a British company. HSBC has said it aims to develop a portfolio of renewable projects on public land across the UK to generate 500 megawatts of power in five years through that partnership.

The financial crisis is expected to limit governments’ ability to make further subsidies to renewable projects, even as countries including the United States continue to push for stimulus packages to boost economies.

“I don’t think we will see a significant sea change in the U.S. given the economic climate,” Smyth said at a panel discussion.

Growth is likely to come in key technologies, including carbon capture and storage, a technology for containing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel power plants, she said.

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