Thursday, January 28th, 2010
President Obama called on Congress to pass climate and energy legislation that would include the construction of a new generation of nuclear power plants, more offshore oil drilling along the U.S. coast, and increased funding for developing renewable energy and improving energy efficiency.
But the president made no mention in his State of the Union speech of controversial legislation to impose a price and a cap on carbon emissions. By backing away from cap-and-trade legislation that already has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, Obama signaled his willingness to work with Republicans to pass a scaled-back version of climate and energy legislation this year.
Monday, January 25th, 2010
Shai Agassi (left) and the team at Better Place have done it again: almost two years to the day after announcing its first car partnership and its first country deployment in Israel, Better Place today announced that it has signed an agreement with an HSBC-led investor consortium for new equity financing of $350 million. The deal marks one of the largest clean-tech investments in history and values Better Place at $1.25 billion.
This Series B equity financing round features participation from new investors including HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and Lazard Asset Management. These investors will join existing Series A investors including Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners, Ofer Hi-Tech Holdings, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments, Maniv Energy Capital, and Israel Cleantech Ventures, among others, as shareholders of Better Place. For HSBC, which led the round with an investment of $125 million, the deal represents one of the largest financial investments of its kind by HSBC.
As part of the deal, Kevin Adeson, HSBC Head of Global Capital Financing, will join the Better Place Board of Directors, and HSBC will own approximately 10% of the company’s shares. (more…)
Friday, January 22nd, 2010
Many green industry professionals and career changers are interested in clean tech conferences and alternative energy events. You can find many upcoming green tech events and clean energy conferences in the United States and worldwide in the CleanTechies Events Calendar, but how do you make the most out of your attendance? No matter whether it’s an event on energy efficiency, solar energy, wind energy, green building or sustainable transportation, there are a few things common to each that will help YOU make your participation a success.
Just in time for your next clean tech event or alternative energy conference, here are our tips:
Saturday, January 9th, 2010
Based on the rash of predictions for cleantech in 2010 from investors, consultants and media (see the full list at the end of this post), I’ve pulled together a “trend of trends” list below that attempts to synthesis the broader, over-arching themes. As always, I’m amazed that water isn’t on the top of every list, every year, although there are some positive signs on that front. So here are the 12 things that filtered to the top: (more…)
Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
While the title of this article may be a little premature, if you ask any auto company about their most exciting models coming out in the next few years, you would be hard pressed to find any auto maker without a plug-in hybrid or all-electric vehicle hitting the market in the next few years. And as fellow CleanTechies blogger Levent Bas suggested in August last year, “the future of electric vehicles may be here sooner than we think.”
With expected release dates in 2010, the plug-in Nissan Leaf, plug-in Toyota Prius and many other models will offer a green/clean-tech alternative from their gas-powered competition. Recent estimates place the number of models available by 2014 at over 70. Not all these vehicles will make their way to the US market and some wonder if the market will be ready but in other circles there are different concerns about the electrification of the transportation industry. Will the electric grid be ready for the additional load?
Monday, December 21st, 2009
Authors Andres Duany and Jeff Speck, renowned city planners who brought the issue of suburban sprawl to the forefront of the national debate, have come together again with The Smart Growth Manual, which details the path to creating better, greener and environmentally-friendly communities.
CleanTechies caught up with Speck for three questions on better living through planning.
CleanTechies: When you hear the term smart growth, what does it mean to you?
Jeff Speck: It’s the opposite of sprawl. And sprawl is identified as growth that spreads out at low density, separates uses and relies on automotive transportation and has a concomitant disinvestment in city centers. So smart growth is the attempt to reverse those trends, or to continue the momentum that’s already been begun toward reversing those trends.
I have a specific message for CleanTechies: Sustainability is about systems. Unless we approach our footprint systematically, we’re just kind of nibbling around the edges. And I think almost all of the gizmo green solutions to climate change and post-peak oil challenges are nibbling around the edges without getting to the meat of the problem.
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.
Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009
This seems to be the Finnish response to RMI’s Amory Lovins’ “Hot Showers and Cold Beer.” I arrived in Helsinki about 10 hours ago, though thanks to an airport worker’s strike and a spirited bout of jet lag, I’m only now getting to walk around the city. I have yet to get my vitamin D for the day, the weather was foggy and rainy when we arrived, and the sun set predictably early at around 4PM, which meant that my three hour nap killed any possible exposure, and I won’t lie, I feel it.
From my research in preparation for this trip, Finland has made some impressive commitments to both the environment and stimulating clean tech initiatives. What it doesn’t have in sun resources for much of the year, it makes up for in tremendous water, biomass and commitment to pursuing technological solutions. Thanks to the Finnish government’s interest in promoting the country’s clean energy leadership – and me winning a spirited game of rochambeau (rock-paper-scissors) with my colleagues for the chance to accept their invitation – I will spend the next three days visiting Finnish clean tech companies and organizations. (more…)
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.