Thursday, December 24th, 2009
Since 1981, France has had a true high speed rail service, the TGV (Train à Grande Vitesse). We here in the US are only about 30 years behind the French in the regard…and counting. As US politicians continue to dither on high speed passenger rail, throwing loose change at development, the French corporations like Alstom have perfected this product for export to its former colonies in the developing world making big profits. Since the US is on par with developing world rail infrastructure, we may be best served by swallowing our pride and purchasing this technology from French post haste.
The TGV’s maiden voyage was between Paris and Lyon on September 27th, 1981. Ridership is expected to hit the 2 billion mark in 2010. It is a smashing commercial success, but goes further than that as a symbol on national pride and technological prowess. It is a cornerstone of European integration as it connects France to the UK and her continental neighbors with speed and dependability. Let us parse out the credit for this success to everyone, but one small group of people deserves a mention: the riche.
Thursday, December 17th, 2009
A new report from Pike Research of Colorado says the addition of carbon capture systems to power plants will add 50% to 70% to the cost of creating electricity for existing and future plants.
The report, titled “Carbon Capture and Sequestration: Drivers and Barriers, Technology Issues, Key Industry Players, Market Analysis and Forecasts,” adds that such increases in costs will be initially underwritten by governments but gradually passed on to ratepayers.
Thursday, December 10th, 2009
Dubai’s debt woes could have an impact on a key experiment in the renewable energy sector.
In late November, Dubai indicated that its state-controlled investment firm Dubai World needed to restructure $26 billion in debt, sending a shock through global markets.
Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven city-states ruled by hereditary clans. It is largely bankrolled by neighboring Abu Dhabi, which uses Dubai as the UAE business center. (more…)
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
During the first day of our tour of Finland’s clean tech companies, we got to meet with Kari Herlevi a Senior Business Advisor recently back in Finland after a tour in Silicon Valley with Tekes, the entity charged with executing the Finish government’s seed investment strategy in technology and innovation. Investing through grants and soft loans, Tekes offers Finnish entrepreneurs a source of capital that a dormant VC and Angel Investing industry fails to provide. Almost invariably, over the course of the ensuing three days Tekes was mentioned as a source of funding for the companies we visited.
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
Amidst the global recession and discussions surrounding the capital intense nature of most clean tech companies and the question of viable exit strategies for the venture capitalists that invest in them, the IPO market will continue to be dry.
The broader IPO market has been relatively dry since the start of 2008, with relatively few listings compared to previous years (~25/year vs averages from 1980s to 2005 of around 400/year).
While Sarbanes-Oxley is partially to blame for the dearth of US based IPO’s the fact is the public’s faith in and funds for the markets have been squeezed, and I feel that it might be more than wishful thinking that 2010 will be a robust year for Wall Street based IPOs of any sort, particularly clean tech investments.
Sunday, December 6th, 2009
Seambiotic, a Tel Aviv, Israel-based cleantech start-up developing and producing marine microalgae for the nutraceuticals and biofuel industries using flue gas from electric power plants, has announced that it has signed a License Agreement and a Joint Venture Agreement with affiliates of China Guodian Corporation, to establish a Chinese joint venture for the commercial cultivation of microalgae.
China Guodian is one of China’s largest power companies with over 100 power stations. The joint venture with Seambiotic will utilize Seambiotic’s innovative technology for the cultivation microalgae for use in the animal and fish foodstock and nutraceutical industries. The first commercial farm of 12 hectares is expected to cost $10 million, will be situated in Penglai, a city in Shandong Province, China.
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Global investments in alternative energy projects will rise nearly 50 percent in 2010, climbing from $130 billion this year to $200 billion next year.
In a survey of the green energy market, Bloomberg News reports that despite the dim prospects of forging a climate treaty in Copenhagen this month, companies and governments are moving rapidly ahead to build wind power farms, large solar arrays, and other green energy projects.
Thanks in large part to state-funded economic stimulus programs, government spending on green energy will more than double in 2010 to about $60 billion, according to the report.
Analysts said that with China, the European Union (EU), and individual U.S. states aggressively adopting regulations and incentives promoting green energy, the field will continue to rapidly develop even if a global climate treaty is not signed.
Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the award of $3.3 million in grants for four U.S.-Israel cooperative clean energy projects. The projects were selected by the BIRD Foundation and will be funded by the DOE and Israel’s Ministry of National Infrastructures.
The four projects will leverage private sector cost-share for a total project value of $11.6 million:
HelioFocus Ltd., based in Ness Ziona, Israel and Capstone Turbine Corporation, based in Chatsworth, California have been selected for an award of up to $800,000. HelioFocus and Capstone Turbine will develop and commercialize a micro-turbine to produce electric power from concentrated solar energy. This project includes $2.1 million in private sector cost-share. IC Green Energy invested in HelioFocus last year, and this blog reported on HelioFocus’ cooperation with Capstone Turbine back in August 2008.
Monday, November 16th, 2009
Ormat Technologies, Inc. announced this week that it has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with NV Energy, Inc. for the purchase 30 megawatts (MW) from the McGinness Hills Geothermal project, which is currently under construction.
The PPA is subject to various approvals including the approval of the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada and is projected to come on line in 2012.
When completed, the McGinness Hills project will increase the total output supplied from Ormat to NV Energy, Inc. to approximately 135 MWs, helping NV Energy to meet its renewable energy requirement. Nevada’s renewable portfolio standard legislation requires 15 percent of all electricity generated in the state to be derived from new renewable energy sources by the end of 2012.
Friday, November 13th, 2009
As debate heats up around the proposals for clean energy legislation in Congress, one of the main points of contention is the amount of money it will cost. More specifically, everyone wants to know how the average American household will be impacted by the respective energy bills in the House (Waxman-Markey’s American Clean Energy and Security Act) and the Senate (Kerry-Boxer’s Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act). This article will investigate the change in energy prices one can expect from legislation that could be passed within the coming months, and try to sift through the wide discrepancy in figures that are being tossed around. Then some recommendations will be presented as to how energy usage can be reduced, to preempt any anticipated rises in cost.