Friday, May 14th, 2010
The Oil Spill’s Unlikely Victim: As oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill continued to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, it tarred the feathers of an endangered creature: the climate bill. Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced a retooled American Power Act on Wednesday to little fanfare. Perhaps that’s because the media’s klieg lights were already divided between the grilling of oil executives on Capitol Hill or the so-far hapless efforts to plug the leak. Or maybe it’s because the two senators took to the dais without their erstwhile Republican ally, Lindsey Graham. Nevertheless, it was ironic to see a solution to our fossil-fuel addiction pushed to the side because of a fossil-fuel disaster. Must we cap the gusher before we get a cap on CO2?
More Electric Cars Roll to the Starting Line: You’ve heard that the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are on the way, but how about the Think and the Wheego? Wheego, a maker of electric putt-putt vehicles based in Atlanta, hopes that 200 highway-ready copies of its Whip Life will roll off the assembly line by August, months ahead of the well-publicized launch of the Leaf. Meanwhile, the Norwegian carmaker Think raised $40 million this week and plans to start assembly of the tiny Think City in Elkhart, Indiana in early 2011.
Wednesday, May 12th, 2010
Suppose your CEO calls tomorrow and asks, “What are we doing about power consumption?” What will you say?
Reducing consumption by turning off computer monitors and equipment requires lifestyle changes to be adopted through the entire organization. These are easy choices to make but they are hard to implement and substantial return on investment is not assured.
Proven, existing efficiency technologies — in everything from lighting to climate control and voltage regulation — can unlock the untapped reserves of efficiency gains buried in many non-residential buildings. Plus government incentive programs remove the barriers to implementation by making the up-front costs and payback periods affordable.
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
While many cleantech companies require very large amounts of capital in order to get to market, there is a quiet group of cleantech companies bucking that trend.
Companies like Heartland Biocomposites (green building materials), RealTech (water testing) and TerraLUX (LED lighting) all built significant and growing businesses with compelling intellectual property and did so initially without multimillions in capital from venture funds (let alone tens or hundreds of millions). Because TerraLUX is one of our portfolio companies and I therefore know them best, their story is one I am able to share.
TerraLUX boasts customers like Cooper Lighting, Phillips, GE Healthcare, Snap-On Tools and many others. It has six awarded patents and eight more filed. Dr. Anthony Catalano founded the company in 2003 and, with exceptional technology smarts, creative boot-strapping and some of his own capital, he built a business with significant revenues, exciting gross margins and deep intellectual property — all without a penny of outside investment capital. And now, only after all those accomplishments, has TerraLUX closed a $5.6M financing from Emerald Technology Ventures and Access Venture Partners.
How did TerraLUX pull this off? (more…)
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Emefcy, a microbial fuel cell startup based in Caesarea, Israel, has raised $5 million at a company value of more than $10 million, post-money.
UK investment fund Pond Venture Partners led the round, joined by current Emefcy investors Israel Cleantech Ventures Funds and Plan B Ventures, according to Globes and IVC Online.
Emefcy, co-founded by serial entrepreneurs Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter, is developing the MEGAWATTER™ technology. This technology produces low cost electricity (at $0.10/kWhr) and hydrogen in a bio-electro-chemical process from wastewater treatment by leveraging Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology.
Monday, April 19th, 2010
In California, low-income households often spend more money on electricity than more affluent residents and produce greenhouse gasses in the process.
But through the California Solar Initiative’s Single Family Affordable Solar Homes (SASH) program, and an Oakland-based nonprofit firm called GRID Alternatives, the state’s low-income homeowners finally have the change to reduce their monthly electricity bills and decrease electricity usage.
Longtime friends and engineers, Erica Mackie and Tim Sears, founded GRID during the 2001 energy crisis. While developing renewable energy systems for the private sector, Sears and Mackie decided to try and make the technology available to low-income communities. Their model became GRID Alternatives’ first Solar Affordable Housing Program. (more…)
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Israeli fuel cell start-up EnStorage Ltd. has raised $15 million in a Series B financing round.
U.S. private equity fund Warburg Pincus led the round, and was joined by all of EnStorage’s current investors, including Greylock Partners, Canaan Partners, Siemens TTB, and Wellington Partners, according to a report in “Globes“.
EnStorage was founded in 2007 by VP R&D Dr. Arnon Blum, Chief Scientific Officer Prof. Emanuel Peled of Tel Aviv University, Chairman Nachman Shelef, and former CEO Eran Yarkoni.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
China’s offshore oil and gas company CNOOC agreed in early April to buy 3.6 million tons of liquefied natural gas (LNG) per year until 2030. The Australian LNG energy project is operated by BG Group. Though the precise value for the deal is confidential, Australian officials confirmed estimates its worth about AU$80 billion (S$103 billion) — the country’s biggest single company-to-company contract ever.
The latest CNOOC deal now makes China the world leader of investments in clean energy. For 2009, China spent $35 billion, double what the U.S. did at $18.6 billion ranking second. China plans to spend even more in the year ahead, ramping up projects in renewable energy, including wind power and solar PV manufacturing, clean water and non-renewable energy sources, such as natural gas and oil. In total more than $162 billion was invested in clean energy worldwide, reports the Pew Research Center Trust.
Monday, April 5th, 2010
MP2 Capital is a San Francisco firm that develops, finances and invests in distributed generation and small-scale utility solar projects throughout North America, selling the electricity produced by its projects to commercial, government and utility customers under power purchase agreements and feed-in tariffs.
Its latest project is a 445-kilowatt solar photovoltaic array in Winsted, Connecticut. MP2 Capital has entered into a power purchase agreement to sell all of the electricity generated to the Regional School District No. 7 for 20 years under a grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund.
The system, which sits atop multiple rooftops of the school district, was built by groSolar and is composed of 1,937 photovoltaic panels from Canadian Solar. It is expected to produce approximately 492,000 kilowatt hours of clean solar electricity and save the school district $26,000 in energy costs during the first year of operation. Over the term of the agreement, the system is expected to produce approximately 9,380,000 kilowatt-hours to offset the school’s energy use.
Brad Bauer, co-founder and managing director of MP2 Capital, talked with CleanTechies about the project. (more…)
Friday, April 2nd, 2010
Government subsidies that helped fuel Europe’s most successful solar markets continue to be slashed, raising concerns that the region’s burgeoning renewable sector will be unable to compete with China and the U.S., according to a report on Greenwire.
Germany, the world’s largest market for solar power, will cut the price paid for electricity from roof-mounted panels by 16 percent and electricity from larger solar power stations by 15 percent.
Analysts say the government simply underestimated how quickly the renewable sector would grow. From 2000 to 2008, the production of photovoltaic energy in Germany rose from 32 million kilowatt hours to 4.4 billion kilowatt hours. Government subsidies in Germany now cost nearly €1.5 billion annually. (more…)
Wednesday, March 31st, 2010
Venture capital investment in clean technology reached $1.9 billion in the first quarter, climbing 83 percent from last year, according to a report by the Cleantech Group and Deloitte.
Startups in North America raised the greatest share among 180 companies around the world, a three-year peak for the area with $1.5 billion, or 81 percent of all investments. That’s a 79 percent rise from the 2009 fourth quarter slump, described as a “blip” by Cleantech Group President Sheeraz Haji.
The transportation sector led the way with a record $704 million, notably $350 million for electric car battery and infrastructure firm Better Place
, followed by significant investments in electric car and hybrid technologies. Fisker Automotive brought in $140 million, followed by $30 million for Coda Automotive, also based in California. Groupe Gruau of France reaped $23 million.