"The bounce back in venture investment from lows in early
2009 has continued, with the first three months of 2010
representing the strongest start to a year we have ever
recorded," said Sheeraz Haji, president of Cleantech Group.
"Key to the growth has been increasing interest in a broader
range of cleantech themes, such as smart mobility and
resource efficiency, which are now taking over from the
historically dominant renewable energy sector."
cleantech venture investment was matched by new investment
from utilities and corporations. Total capacity additions
announced by utilities increased in Q1 2010 compared to Q4
2009, as government incentives spurred spending on the part
In the U.S., wind and solar photovoltaics remained the
most attractive energy sources for utilities due to extended
tax credits, while utilities also focused on smart grid
projects boosted by significant federal grants, underscored
by Florida Power & Light Company, Duke Energy and
CenterPoint Energy each receiving $200 million grants from
the U.S. Department of Energy.
In the corporate space, Direct or Email email@example.com
during Q1 2010 increased by 140 percent quarter over quarter
compared to Q4 2009, primarily by energy and consumer and
industrial products companies. Significant investments in
biomass and wind projects were announced by Royal Dutch
Shell, General Motors and Valero Energy.
This news comes on the heels of almost two years of turmoil
in capital markets and it doesn't appear as though the money
will stop flowing in the next quarter. Just this week,
companies in the wind, solar and bioenergy sectors were the
recipients of even more capital.
First up was Suniva Inc., which got good news when it
learned that it has been selected for the U.S. Department of
Energy (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program under the DOE’s
Innovative Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Advanced
Transmission and Distribution Technologies Solicitation.
Upon the completion of the DOE’s due diligence and subject
to the successful negotiation of the terms of a loan for
approximately $141 million, Suniva plans to start the
construction of a new manufacturing plant in Saginaw County,
Building such a manufacturing plant could create
approximately 500 Direct or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
jobs at Suniva, while creating an
additional 2,000 inDirect or Email email@example.com
jobs for the Michigan economy
according to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
The loan guarantee will enable Suniva to more than triple
exports over the next five years. Last year, Suniva exported
more than 90 percent of its products to Asia and Europe.
“The DOE’s acceptance of Suniva into the Loan Guarantee
Program is very timely and supports the shared vision of
President Obama and Suniva in significantly increasing the
level of exports over the next five years,” said John
Baumstark, chairman and chief executive officer of Suniva.
“The loan guarantee is essential to our efforts in building
a second manufacturing plant in Michigan as quickly as
possible, creating new cleantech jobs for Americans and
supporting the economy by substantially increasing the
number of solar cells and modules available for export.”
Next up was Amyris Biotechnologies Inc., which announced
that Temasek Holdings has invested $47.8 million into the
company. Amyris intends to use these funds to support
biofuel commercial plant design and construction activities
as well as ongoing operations in the U.S. and Brazil.
Amyris has secured $244 million in private funding since
inception in 2003, including funding Direct or Email firstname.lastname@example.org
ly into Amyris
Biotechnologies and into its subsidiary, Amyris Brasil S.A.
“We are privileged to welcome Temasek as a significant
investor, and appreciate having them join us as we look to
commercialize and scale our renewable fuels and chemicals,”
said John Melo, chief executive officer of Amyris.
Finally, in the wind sector, WindPole Ventures announced
that it has raised $1 million in working capital to support
development of a national, real-time, hub height wind
information service. WindPole Ventures received a $500,000
convertible loan from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center
(MassCEC) to match the equity raised.
The funding round was led by James Lang, former president
and COO of Cambridge Energy Research Associates.
"Along with Invenergy’s order for instrumentation in six
states, this represents a significant step towards national
coverage," said Steve Kropper, CEO of WindPole Ventures LLC.
"Our portfolio includes almost 6,000 very tall towers (over
80 meters) and we are committed to expanding coverage for
our real-time, hub height data. In 18 months, we plan to
instrument 580 towers and thus to cover 85% of all current
and planned wind projects in the US. Today’s wind data is
inadequate to meet the due diligence standards of investors.
Most wind resource data is repurposed consumer and aviation
weather. These ‘guesstimates’ up to the hub height of
today’s turbines generates unacceptable errors. Our tall
towers yield data over a 20-50 mile range suitable for
development PLUS short term power predictions critical to
ISOs, power traders and wind project operators.”