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Total speeds up renewables push with $2.5 billion investment in Indian solar power – TheChronicleHerald.ca
By Sudip Kar-Gupta
PARIS (Reuters) – Total is paying $2.5 billion for a share in Indian renewable energy firm Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) and a portfolio of solar power assets, marking the latest step in the French energy company’s drive to reduce its dependence on oil.
For its investment, Total will get a 20% stake in AGEL and a seat on its board, as well as a 50% share in the Indian firm’s portfolio of solar power assets, the French firm said.
AGEL is controlled by Indian conglomerate Adani Group and has a market capitalisation of about 1.483 trillion Indian rupees ($20.25 billion).
Total has embarked on a strategy of shifting towards electricity and renewable energy. It aims to have 35 gigawatts (GW) of gross renewable energy generation capacity by 2025 from around 9 GW now.
Growing investor pressure has spurred Europe’s top energy companies to outline plans to curb emissions and boost renewable energy output.
Last week, Total became the first major global energy company to quit the main U.S. oil and gas lobby, the American Petroleum Institute, citing disagreements over the lobby’s climate policies and support for easing drilling regulations.
Commenting on Total’s acquisition, CEO Patrick Pouyanne said: “Our entry into AGEL is a major milestone in our strategy in the renewable energy business in India put in place by both parties.”
“Given the size of the market, India is the right place to put into action our energy transition strategy based on two pillars: renewables and natural gas,” he added.
Total’s shares dipped 0.7% in early trading, as oil prices fell, but investment bank Barclays said Total was one of its top picks, with an “overweight” rating.
AGEL is targeting 25 GW of renewable power generation by 2025, and Total said AGEL would form a key part of Total’s own overall plans for 35 GW of gross production capacity from renewable sources by 2025, along with plans for a further 10 GW per year on top of that afterwards.
Total and Adani struck a partnership deal back in 2018 in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) sector.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Christian Lowe. Editing by Mark Potter)
The U.S. Is Changing Private Cryptocurrency Wallet Regulation
Cryptocurrency is a wild west. The United States’ Financial Crime Enforcement Network is looking to pass new regulations which would keep it in check. Investors and those in the technology sector have been discussing its revolutionary potential and sounding warnings about its danger for years. It is polarising. The currency is acknowledged by many governments around the world – either accepted and not legitimated or outlawed – but is largely unregulated. Countries do not view it is as legal tender. Canada, for instance, deem it a trading good, like a sheep at a medieval market being traded for horses. As mentioned, those involved see it as far more than another means of payment. It is supposed to remove the need for sheriffs
The New Regulation
FinCEN are looking to make cryptocurrency transactions easy to track. This threatens a core concept and principle of cryptocurrency: pseudonymity/anonymity. What FinCEN wants is if a transaction happens between a crypto-exchange and a private wallet over $3000 then the owner of the private wallet must identify themselves. Also, the exchange would have to report personal information if more than $10000 worth of transactions are made by a single account in a day.
The wallet system for bitcoins is complicated. The essential information is that there is an address, which is the software that will store data of how much of a cryptocurrency is owned, and there is the key, which is kept securely private and is the thing which allows users to sign transactions and move funds around. The address doesn’t store the funds, only displays what is in there. The private key enables users to spend those funds stored on a network. Wallets can be paper, mobile, desktop, or hardware. Some are more recommended than others.
Transactions tend to be publicly recorded. However, the wallets are pseudonymous/anonymous, so there are no identifying features. If FinCEN’s regulation passes, and personal information must be reported along with the transaction, the government will have access to every transaction that wallet has been involved in.
Law enforcement are worried bitcoin is being used for nefarious ends. Therefore, the new regulation is implemented in the interest of stopping criminal activity or funding it. This is understandable. There are, though, bitcoin users that just appreciate anonymity, for personal reasons, and not for criminal ones. There will inevitably be push back from the majority of bitcoin users who use it legitimately.
Use and Embrace
Bitcoin – and cryptocurrency in general – is nothing something that the masses have embraced yet. It is still fairly secular and niche. However, one area that users have found good use of it is in the online casino industry. Many casinos accept it as a payment method or use it exclusively. Gamers can wager it on for live roulette, blackjack, and progressive slots, for instance. Bitcoin can be used in tiny or massive units. It is a flexible asset. Additionally, it can be withdrawn and deposited at much faster speeds than bank transfer and e-wallets. The pseudonymity of cryptocurrency is a draw too, much like other investors, as they have privacy and security concerns.
It’s embrace in other areas is happening, but is still slow. It is still a question whether cryptocurrency is an investment which will have forecastable returns or a speculation which cannot be truly estimated. Samsung’s new line of handsets might help push it further into the public’s hand by focussing on the security of private keys, as well pins and passwords, etc., on mobiles. Bitcoins are able to be traded on mobiles in the same way that someone can transfer money or purchase things already. However, they are risky and are targets for hacks as they are easier to gain access to than other modes. If Samsung heightens the handset’s security, shops might have more of a demand to accept it as a payment method.
Cryptocurrency will receive more attention from governments and the public as its implementation is naturally increased in business spheres and incorporated into everyday apps like PayPal. How cryptocurrency copes or reacts to such regulation and legislation will see whether it becomes another financial asset or more fundamentally shake the world.
Upbeat entrepreneurs signal improved investment intentions for 2021: Survey – 570 News
MONTREAL — A growing number of Canadian entrepreneurs say they plan to invest more in 2021 than they did last year as the vaccine rollout, improving cash flow and a quick rebound in some sectors buoys optimism for the year ahead.
The findings of the Business Development Bank of Canada’s quarterly survey of 1,000 entrepreneurs released in a new report today are the most upbeat since the pandemic began.
Pierre Cleroux, chief economist of the Montreal-based bank, says the more positive results bode well for the country’s economic recovery.
He says investment intentions are improving, with technology emerging as the biggest focus of spending.
The bank’s survey found that the key reasons for investing in technology included improving processes to reduce costs, boosting a company’s online presence and investing in remote working.
Cleroux says while many entrepreneurs were wary about allowing employees to work from home before the pandemic, he says the last 10 months have shown it can benefit a business.
“The pandemic has changed the game,” he said. “It changed the perception of working from home.”
Cleroux said remote work can improve productivity, increase worker motivation and spur innovation.
“It can also reduce costs,” he said, noting that 18 per cent of business owners surveyed by the bank said they plan to reduce their office space.
Despite an increase in COVID-19 cases across much of the country, Cleroux said the optimism uncovered by the survey is unlikely to change.
Businesses understand that once restrictions are lifted, the economy will rebound much faster than with other recessions, he said.
“This optimism we’re seeing will likely survive the second wave of the virus because we all believe the vaccine is going to improve drastically the situation of the economy,” Cleroux said.
Still, while business confidence has improved for the first time since the pandemic began, the study found that investment intentions compared to previous years are still relatively weak.
Across Canada, business investment intentions for the next 12 months are down three per cent compared with last winter, for example, but have improved significantly from last spring’s rock bottom decrease of 32 per cent, according to the bank’s report.
Investment intentions is the difference between negative and positive business sentiment.
Of note are the investment intentions of small- and medium-sized enterprises in Atlantic Canada and Quebec, which at one per cent and four per cent, respectively, are the only positive results on investment intentions in the survey.
Meanwhile, investment intentions in B.C. are down three per cent, Ontario came in at four per cent lower, while the Prairie provinces were the lowest at a 13 per cent decline.
The online survey of business owners was completed between Dec. 3 and Dec. 18, 2020. The poll measures the confidence of entrepreneurs in the economy, business and hiring outlooks, as well as investment plans over the next 12 months.
According to the polling industry’s generally accepted standards, online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 18, 2021.
The Canadian Press
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