Calpers eyes energy and power plays in California

SAN FRANCISCO Mon Oct 15, 2012 5:51pm EDT

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SAN FRANCISCO Oct 15 (Reuters) - Calpers is looking to invest in California's energy and power sector as part of its plan to put $800 million into infrastructure in the Golden State, according to a report by the pension fund's staff released on Monday.

"Overall, Calpers staff is making progress with developing in-state infrastructure opportunities for investment," the report to the investment committee of the board of Calpers, the California Public Employees' Retirement fund, said.

The report said that staff members at the biggest public U.S. pension fund have been looking into investment opportunities in California in transportation, ports, water and energy and power projects in the most populous U.S. state. Calpers' total assets are about $243 billion.

The fund's staff is in talks with public agencies whose transportation projects require substantial investment and additional capacity, the report noted. Calpers' staff have not yet identified potential port investments.

In terms of water projects, the report said there may be opportunities for Calpers to provide credit support to municipal issuers through its credit enhancement programs.

"Opportunities for Calpers Infrastructure Program are most likely to arise outside of the major public agencies, in connection with independent standalone projects in areas such as wastewater treatment, recycling and water desalination," the report said.

California's energy and power sector appears to hold the most immediate promise for the fund's in-state infrastructure program.

"Staff expects to continue to see opportunities as it has ongoing dialogue with various entities in the sector, including investor-owned utilities, independent power producers and other institutional investor," the report said.

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