The industry journal for global investors, innovators & deal-makers
Regulation blows wind of change through renewable energy
Brazil’s bioenergy market fuelled for expansion
Waste not want not for investors in renewable energy Japanese solar energy eyes global markets European wind energy targets next level of growth Israel’s technology hub needs capital to thrive Investors tip opportunities in US manufacturing sector Global coverage of all envirotech and clean energy deals Also featuring the industry’s most promising growth companies
water, waste & recycling
Editor’s introduction Features
In-depth reviews, new perspectives and industry insights
Global renewables industry seeks sustainable growth
As the UK forges ahead with feed-in tariffs, its European neighbours are shutting down their own support schemes following fears of unsustainable market growth.
Brazil bioenergy fuelled for international expansion
With a thriving biofuel industry supported by strong regulation, Brazil is ready to go global as momentum grows from overseas investors and energy companies.
Waste not want not for investors in renewable energy projects
With waste to energy offering both a solution to landfill and a potential source of energy, investor interest in the sector is set to grow.
Specialist funds prove popular for maturing clean technology sector
Green investment faces growing challenge to break into mainstream
For investors seeking opportunities in clean energy, the nascency of the sector means that expertise is crucial to ensure stable growth.
While the case of green investing is increasingly compelling, investors are still wary of committing to unfamiliar asset classes, according to private equity veteran Ray Maxwell.
Growth stories, expert insights and fresh outlooks on the latest issues facing the global clean energy space
Essential news and intelligence on industry developments, investments and company activity
Brooks Herring, Solar Frontier Japanese solar energy eyes growth and global markets The Japanese solar energy arm of oil giant Shell is rebranding as it aims to build on its domestic technological edge. Christian Kjaer, European Wind Energy Association European wind energy targets next level of growth for 2010 The risk-return profile of wind energy investments is growing in attractiveness for investors.
Investment strategies and industry views from active investors across the globe
Wayne Keast, Consensus Environment Emerging investment opportunities match scale of energy challenge An investment focus that encompasses Southern Africa and the Middle East aims to benefit from the region’s huge potential for new energy technologies. Jeff Bocan, Beringea Investors tip opportunities in US manufacturing sector The decline in the US industrial sector could be addressed by new manufacturing opportunities in renewable energy and clean technology.
Ulrich Grabenwarter, European Investment Fund Private equity fund investors seek certainty in clean energy Funds that can identify genuine environmental opportunities could define the clean energy investment space.
Glen Schwaber, Israel Cleantech Ventures Israel’s technology hub needs capital to thrive With Israel turning its attention to the incubation of clean technologies, the country’s emerging venture capital scene is looking to take advantage.
Energy efficiency news
Listed company results
People News The latest appointments, promotions and new initiatives for leading industry investors, executives and entrepreneurs
Deal Radar Growth strategies and financing plans from a selection of the industry’s most promising companies
Deal Tracker A global round-up of all the deals publically announced in the last month including investments, acquisitions and major contracts
aking a global perspective on the growing renewables industry can offer a useful insight into the relative merits of emergent sectors across the world. This month, the UK’s implementation of its feed-in tariffs looks set to spur investment into the small-scale wind and solar sectors, as regulation and policy again comes to the fore as a means to encourage growth. While the promise of new regulation has already seen an uptick in activity in renewables, some analysts remain wary as to the long-term success of such an initiative, with many of the UK’s continental neighbours facing the repercussions of incentive cuts following what some have seen as over-subsidisation. With Germany set to join France and Spain in cutting above-market guarantees for renewable power, we look at whether the UK is ﬂying against established wisdom as it aims to build its clean energy industry. While such stimulus measures offer a short-term boost to an emerging sector, its long-term success has much to prove before it can be considered truly sustainable. When looking at the different approaches to supporting emerging industries, Brazil offers something of an exemplar through its thriving bioenergy sector. The country is decades ahead of any other country in this space, and is positioning itself to become the world’s leading exporter. In recent years, the country’s insular biofuel industry has begun to the gradually open up to foreign developers and investors keen to exploit the extremely favourable resources and infrastructure. With large industrial groups, smaller-scale developers and technology investors seeking entry into this unique marketplace, we examine the beneﬁts of such a programme as it appears ready to bear fruit. When taking a global overview of the clean energy sector, a consistent theme is the continued emergence of new technologies. Under the spotlight this month is waste to energy, offering both an alternative energy source and also an efﬁcient means of disposing of household and industrial waste. As with many of these technologies, their relative unfamiliarity means that they face considerable hurdles to securing ﬁnance. While forward-thinking investors are looking to take advantage of these new technologies and the potential for compelling returns, we look at the opportunities the sector offers and whether these might be limited until sufﬁcient regulatory regimes are established. On a ﬁnal note, we have had some excellent feedback following the launch of our new Deal Radar section, which features an insight into the growth and ﬁnancing strategies of some of the clean energy industry’s most exciting listed and private companies. If you know of any companies which you feel merit inclusion, please do let us know, and assist these companies raise their proﬁle amongst potential investors and business partners. Benjamin Chambers Editor
Looking for investment? Let the right people know. Envirotech and Clean Energy Investor now includes a new section on high-quality companies looking for finance. Selected companies will get exposure to the journal’s distribution base of investment professionals from over 1,000 investment institutions and over 400 private equity and venture capital firms. If you know of a company or investment opportunity that merits the attention of the industry’s most active investors, please contact Chris Hardman at:
Email: Deals@EnvirotechInvestor.com Phone: +44 (0)20 7845 7576
Editor Benjamin Chambers Deputy Editor Natalie Coomber Production Editor Michael Davis Reporters Tom Brown Jessica Davies Contributors Chris Hardman Ray Maxwell Sam McGlone Brendan Scott Research David Price Design Mariola Gajewska Sales & Marketing James Moore Cindy Zarebski Publisher Richard Sachar CONTACT US Editorial Editorial@EnvirotechInvestor.com Tel +44 20 7845 7595 Subscriptions Subs@EnvirotechInvestor.com Tel +44 20 7845 7576 Advertising Ads@EnvirotechInvestor.com Tel +44 20 7845 7590 Head Office New Energy World Network Ltd Burleigh House 357 Strand London WC2R 0HS Tel +44 20 7845 7595 Printer The Magazine Printing Company Plc. www.magprint.co.uk Envirotech & Clean Energy Investor (ISSN 20428014) is published monthly by New Energy World Network Limited. Copyright © 2010 New Energy World Network Limited. All rights reserved. Registered in England, company no. 06695690. Cover © BRIGITTE WACQUEZ - Fotolia.com To protect our environment papers used in this publication are produced by mills that promote sustainably managed forests and utilise Elementally Chlorine Free process to produce fully recyclable material in accordance with an Environmental Management System conforming with BS EN ISO 14001:2004. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced to any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the express written permission of the publisher. Envirotech Investor and Envirotech & Clean Energy Investor are trademarks of New Energy World Network Limited. The information in this journal does not, and is not intended to, constitute investment advice, or an offer or solicitation of interest in respect of any acquisition of any securities or shares, or the provision of investment management services to any person or organisation in any jurisdiction. New Energy World Network makes no guarantee of the accuracy or completeness of the information and disclaims any liability including incidental or consequential damage arising from errors or omissions.
Global renewables industry seeks sustainable growth As the UK forges ahead with feed-in tariﬀs for small-scale wind and solar installation, many investors remain wary, with parts of Europe shutting down their own over-priced schemes.
arlier this month, the UK implemented feed-in tariffs (FITs) to spur investment into its small-scale wind and solar sectors. The launch has already sparked a rise in interest, but with the UK’s continental neighbours fighting hard to shield their domestic solar markets from the repercussions of cutting back incentives after years of oversubsidisation, many are questioning whether this is the best way to encourage a burgeoning renewables industry. Crucially, the UK scheme differs from those on the continent as it is capped at small-scale installations and will operate alongside the existing Renewables Obligation system in place for large-scale projects. However, with Germany set to join Spain in cutting above-market price guarantees for renewable power, the UK’s policy appears to be following a well-trodden path. The UK FITs require energy suppliers to make regular payments to householders and communities who generate their own electricity from renewable or low carbon sources, guaranteeing a minimum payment for installations up to 5MW. The incentives cover solar, wind turbines, hydropower installations and anaerobic digestion technology. Clean technology investor Low Carbon Accelerator (LCA) CIO Dr Steve Mahon says the UK incentives are needed to spur investment and provide a stable return for investors in a market that is in its early stages compared to its Continental counterparts. ‘The UK is a long way behind and there are numerous opportunities in this sector still to be taken, but I expect the UK renewables sector will experience the same type of growth curve that Germany experienced when FITs were first introduced,’ he says. On the back of the changes in UK policy, LCA has committed £500,000 to wind and solar power project developer Vigor Renewables,
a company set up principally to cash-in on the new incentives. Vigor managing director Oliver Hughes says the attraction of the scheme is not just the level of the tariff itself but the 20-to 25-year term over which it is provided. ‘The FIT was a key driver behind us establishing Vigor Renewables. We had wanted to establish a renewable energy project development company in the UK for some time but without this kind of support the numbers just did not stack up to attract the investment to make this a viable option,’ Hughes says. The UK is not alone in ramping-up its government assistance for solar projects with India and Canada also in the process of increasing incentives to clean energy. With these support mechanisms in place, however, there also lies the inherent danger and potentially disastrous consequences of making a cut to these subsidies, with the very real possibility of bringing down an artificially propped-up market. Bart Markus, a general partner at European technology investor Wellington Partners Venture Capital, offers a familiar
I expect the UK renewables sector will experience the same type of growth curve that Germany experienced when FITs were first introduced
viewpoint that while subsidies and a supportive framework are useful as a stimulus tool, the technology itself must be able to stand alone. He says, ‘If you are able to ride that wave and predict it then you can make a lot of money, but our strategy is not to predict what governments are going to do. We would not invest in a company that is not going to make any money without the subsidies.’ The danger of relying on unpredictable government support is a theme echoed by Alan Salzman, co-founder and CEO US venture giant VantagePoint Venture Partners. He says, ‘What governments give, government also take away, so the predictability of government support is hard to plan into your horizons.’ Without specific guidance as to future regulatory structure, investors are naturally wary, and reluctant to expose themselves to the risks attached to fluctuating subsidy environments.
Solar eclipse? Spain’s solar incentive led it to become one of the world’s most attractive markets for renewable investors. As it connected many megawatts of solar power to its grid, however, it became clear the rate of growth was unsustainable. It soon became apparent that many plants would not be longterm commercial success stories and the level of government support would have to change. The market outgrew the programme and swelled to a size the Spanish government was not prepared for, according to Jefferies International equity analyst Michael McNamara. ‘Unfortunately, the government left a couple of intentional loopholes in the programme, it essentially got out of control and instead of the market building to the desired 400MW target, it
ended up with around 3GW of expensive solar,’ he says. With its 2010 target acheived in just a few months of the incentive coming into play, the government dramatically cut its support in September 2008, just as the credit crunch took hold, and sent the Spanish market into a nosedive. Sensing similar problems ahead, moves are now underway in Italy and the Czech Republic to stem the tide of photovoltaic power coming on-stream. Before any changes can be implemented, a number of major Italian deals have been announced recently with solar energy company SunEdison recently receiving approval to develop a 72MW plant that is expected to be the largest solar power plant in Europe. Meanwhile, the distribution arm of Czech power producer CEZ has stopped issuing approvals for new connections for solar and wind power plants to the grid to prevent a power blackout. FITs in the country are among the highest in Europe with solar companies guaranteed 12 koruna (€0.46) for every kilowatt-hour. ‘The sooner they act the greater the chance they don’t follow the Spanish route. You don’t want the problem to get too big,’ McNamara says. Iyad Omari, a partner at European venture capital firm Frog Capital, is confident that the UK will be able to learn from the mistakes of its continental neighbours. He is certain that the scheme willl have a positive impact on the actual deployment of solar technology in the UK, which in turn, will benefit the technology companies themselves. He says, ‘The tariffs might make UK solar companies more attractive from an investment perspective, but I don’t think that the tariffs will invite large scale investment into projects. In other words, project finance is unlikely to be a feature, but I could be wrong. It will all depend on how creative these investors or funds
are.’ He adds, ‘The UK seems to be aiming for a steady and healthy rise in integrated PV deployment so the rapid boom that we have seen elsewhere is unlikely to be replicated here.’
Boom and bust? Investors and developers are paying close attention to Germany’s giant solar sector. The country’s government recently passed a proposal to cut FIT’s in the country where solar incentive schemes were pioneered and where it first flourished. Problems arose when reductions in the cost of raw materials and the ensuing over-supply of solar panels contributed to a 25-30 per cent reduction in the price of building these projects. With no equivalent reduction in Germany’s FITs, the sector suddenly promised huge returns for anyone opening a solar farm, which caused a huge influx of bandwagonjumpers and speculators. The change in the FIT, which still needs final approval, is currently expected to come into play on 1 July but may be delayed by up to three months. Reports suggest that the proposal includes a 16 per cent cut for rooftop solar installations and a total elimination for installations built on converted farmland. Such news has understandably caused concern for both solar companies and investors. As the industry waits for a definitive decision, the retreat by investors is coupled with a rush to get as much business done as possible in the first half of the year. Jeff Osborne, managing director and alternative energy analyst at investment bank Thomas Weisel Partners, says investors are shying away from listed companies in the sector and are seeking evidence that non-German markets are exhibiting growth. ‘Germany looks to be very strong in the near-term ahead of the mid-year reduction. Investors would like to get a sense of demand in the second half of the year where visibility is more limited,’ he says. Global materials and solar panel component manufacturer Luvata has also expressed concern, and called for a new regulatory structure for the solar industry to protect it against the boom that has forced the German government into a drastic reduction in feed-in tariffs. Dr Petri Konttinen, senior solar energy consultant at Luvata, says, ‘Feed-in tariffs enable the market growth which leads to the benefits of mass production and the development of more advanced and cheaper technologies. However, they need to be managed in such a way that limits drastic market movements that can endanger manufacturers supporting the industry. If left unchanged, poorly implemented feed-in tariffs have the potential to deter other countries from embracing a
fundamentally sound programme or worse yet, endanger the industry as a whole.’ Dr Konttinen warns that prospectors rushing into the solar market to take advantage of short-term profits could damage the long-term sustainability of the global solar power industry. These intense and brief spurts of growth could lead to long periods of stagnant growth, he says. He adds,’ Feed-in tariffs have been the most important support mechanism for the growth of the solar power market but the current legislative framework that governs them is too inflexible and slow to react to changes in the market, which is why we have seen such volatility in the solar electricity markets in Spain in 2008 and Germany in 2009. Recent news indicates the French are actually planning to increase building-integrated PV tariffs, perhaps suggesting the biggest onslaught is yet to come.’ For Dr Konttinen, the industry requires a more responsive approach to support mechanisms for the solar energy industry. He says, ‘If the triggers to re-evaluate feed-in tariffs continue to be on a reactive basis instead of proactive, the feast or famine tendencies will continue.’
As investors we have always preferred investment models which have the backing of national regulation as opposed to global multilateral models
Window of opportunity Meanwhile, companies such as solar cell manufacturer Canadian Solar are prioritising shipments to Germany above orders from other regions. During its recent earnings call, in which it posted a revenue decrease of about $41.2m, it remained optimistic about the prospects for the year. Company CEO Dr Shawn Qu said it was in talks with customers around the world regarding altering shipping schedules. ‘There have been a lot of questions about the German feed-in tariff reduction. From Canadian Solar’s standpoint, the key is working with our customers to achieve market diversity and to manage operational cost improvements,’ Qu said, adding the company sees it as an opportunity to increase market share. Canadian Solar was not the only company to report a drop in 2009 profits, with Q-Cells and Solon both reporting operating losses. Q-Cells posted a full-year EBIT loss of €481m, compared to €205.1m in 2008, leading to the resignation of its CEO Anton Milner. Solon, meanwhile, which dropped to a loss of €195m in 2009, said the economic downturn has brought financing for major solar projects to a near standstill and has since announced it is to receive state debt guarantees while it completes restructuring. Even those companies that performed better than the rest, such as solar installation manufacturer SolarWorld, which increased its revenues to €1.01bn from €900.3m in 2008,
saw an immediate dip to its share price as it announced its results because of a lack of clear guidance on its expected 2010 performance. With an uncertain regulatory outlook, investors are clearly wary of committing, with companies bearing the brunt of this indecision. Thomas Weisel’s Osborne says, ‘Demand in the first half of 2010 looks solid for the solar sector, the key is there is minimal visibility for the second half of the year. Many vendors are saying that demand looks healthy and they expect minimal pricing pressure. However, investors remain sceptical and want to see more evidence of what the real earnings power is of the companies in the solar industry in an environment of reduced subsides in late 2010.’
Prospectors rushing into the solar market to take advantage of short-term profits could damage the long-term profitability of the global solar power industry
its estimated $26.3bn budget deficit and the promise of steep cuts could see some investors remaining wary about future involvement.
Spurring investment For investors in both listed and private companies, changes to global regulatory environments may also present some attractive opportunities if they can gain access to the right markets. ‘My sense is that investors tend to monitor the situation closely and trade around any possible or definitive changes in the subsidies earmarked for the sector,’ Osborne from Thomas Weisel says. For the UK, Vigor’s Hughes is still confident the tariff implementation is a positive move for the industry. ‘It cannot be expected that feed-in tariffs will last forever but certainly for the foreseeable future they will provide the necessary impetus to get things moving,’ he says. The truth is, despite its faults, FITs offer an effective means for stimulating such an industry. LCA’s Mahon says, ‘As investors we have always preferred investment models which have the backing of national regulation as opposed to global, multilateral models. The national regulations will actually get implemented and offer far more clarity. Multi-lateral models, such as the carbon market, are much more volatile and vague.’ Stéphane Valorge, partner at corporate finance firm Clipperton Finance, says investors in clean technology know that governments’ involvement is crucial to the development of the sector. ‘If an investor is active in the cleantech space it is already accepted in his mind that regulation is part of the investment thesis,’ Valorge says. Focusing on small-scale installations may help build a more stable solar and wind investor market in the UK. As European legislation shifts back and forth, those with investments would be wise to look east towards increasingly active Chinese competitors. While incentives spark interest and push forward investment but they can only prop up a market for so long. If healthy individual markets are to remain and continue without regulatory support, business models will need to be solid, prices will need to be competitive and investors will need to remain convinced of the business proposition.
The response for many renewable energy companies is to diversify their customer base outside of Europe and into the US and Asia. Canadian Solar’s optimism stems from the fact that even its German clients have diverse customer portfolios, Qu said. ‘Almost all of our German-based customers have 50 per cent of their business outside of Germany and have indicated modest price adjustments in the second half of the year should be enough,’ he added. However, Jefferies’ McNamara says an emerging Chinese solar market may reduce excess demand in Europe. The growth may encourage Chinese companies to work towards producing increasingly competitively-priced solar products. ‘There is still too much capacity [in the solar markets] and almost all excess capacity is coming out of China, so it is good to see there is a Chinese market to soak up some of it,’ he says. China’s commitment to the renewables space was confirmed in March of this year when the government set out a ten-year plan to boost its clean energy footprint to hit its target of 15 per cent of energy production by 2020. China’s government has committed to incentives and its low-cost, scalable and massive manufacturing ability has lead solar panel companies such as Suntech Power Holdings to beat profit forecasts and become world leaders amid weakened competition. According to some analysts, solar companies may also be advised to look towards Canada, as the province of Ontario has recently given the go-ahead for 510 large-scale projects under its new FIT programme. Of the total, 95 per cent of the awards have gone to solar installations which can receive up to CAN$0.71/KW ($0.69/KW) hour over 20 years for roof-mounted solar systems, with lower payments for ground-mounted projects. ‘Canada is an attractive market but it is not a massive market; it doesn’t get a huge amount of attention,’ Jefferies’ McNamara says. Further south in California, the US state’s ten years of renewable energy incentives are still propping up investment into the industry. In March, the California Public Utilities Commission authorised the use of tradable renewable energy credits to spur further developments. Its 2008 solar capacity doubled over 2007 levels and latest figures show installations in 2009 likely to equal that amount. Again however, questions over the wider financial health of the region, with
Brazilian bioenergy fuelled for international expansion With a thriving biofuel industry supported by strong regulation, Brazil is ready to go global as momentum grows from overseas investors and energy companies seeking involvement.
s far back as 2007, renewable energy represented 45 per cent of Brazil’s energy production, compared to a world average of 12.7 per cent. Some 80 per cent of the country’s electricity comes from hydropower, while ethanol has long been a part of its energy mix. ‘In Brazil, fuel stations are not called petrol stations, they are called ethanol stations,’ says Martin Brink, director of AIMlisted biofuel company Viridas. ‘Brazil is 20 years ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to biofuels.’ The rise of biofuels in Brazil can be traced back to the 1970s, when skyrocketing oil prices played havoc, due to its dependence on overseas oil supply. With its economy brought to near-collapse, the government launched its Ethanol Program in 1975, which mandated the availability of ethanol in fuel stations, with prices set below those of standard fuel. Regular transport fuel was also regulated to comprise between 20 and 25 per cent ethanol, a standard that remains in place today. By 1985, the market share of ethanol-fuelled vehicles had reached 85 per cent. Over five million of these vehicles were sold between 1979 and 1996, according to the Brazilian Electric Vehicle Association (ABVE). As oil prices started to fall, sales started to drop off, but have seen a resurgence in recent years with the development of flex-fuel cars, which can accept any mix of gas and ethanol. As of March of this year, over ten million flex-fuel cars have been manufactured, according to sugarcane industry association UNICA.
Aids to growth
Sweetening the deal The bulk of Brazil’s bioethanol is produced from the country’s abundant sugar cane crop. Most of Brazil’s sugar plantations are clustered in the region around São Paolo, with crops crushed into sugar juice for ethanol or turned into refined sugar, allowing companies to hedge their allocations based on global commodity prices. This flexibility offers an appealing prospect for investors and developers seeking to mitigate potential risks. For decades, the Brazilian ethanol market was overwhelmingly controlled by state-owned organisations such as Petrobras and the wealthy Brazilian families who own many of the mills. However, the industry is starting to open up to foreign investors and developers. The shift towards the private sector can be seen across many of the country’s energy sectors, as evidenced by the government’s first wind power energy auction in December 2009, which will lead to 1.8GW of wind power projects being awarded to a selection of private companies. Another indicator of the wider appeal of the industry was the recent deal between Cosan, Brazil’s largest ethanol company, and global oil major Shell. The $12bn joint venture focused on the creation of a vertically integrated ethanol platform encompassing production, supply, distribution and retail of transport fuels, as well as production of sugar and power. The joint venture will have a potential annual production capacity
Corn-based ethanol, the key feedstock in the US, is also far less efficient, producing less than a fifth as much energy as sugar
Unlike many other countries looking to develop a biofuel industry, Brazil does not offer any direct subsidies to ethanol producers, although there are certain tax exemptions for the sector, the growth of which is also encouraged by robust taxation on petrol. Producers still benefit from certain tax exemptions and taxes on gasoline, which amount to 44 per cent of total cost compared to only 18 per cent in the US. While biofuels alone do not offer a complete solution to global energy requirements, its importance is driven by the
narrow range of clean solutions for the transport fuel sector. As the manager of the BP Biofuels strategy and technology team, Oliver Macé, says, ‘If you look at providing fuels for transport, and you want to do it for the mass market instead of just niche applications, you are effectively down to two solutions. One is to go electric, or to stick with the internal combustion engine, and make that more efficient, and make fuel for the internal combustion engine low carbon. ‘Effectively in the short-to-medium term, to reduce carbon in fuels or in transport, we believe that, a lot can be achieved through a mixture of efficiency and the use of lower carbon fuels, including biofuels,’ Macé adds.
The rise of biofuels in Brazil can be traced back to the 1970s when high oil prices disrupted the overseas oil supply
of two billion litres, with Shell’s stakes in Iogen and Codexis offering scope for the large-scale deployment of nextgeneration biofuels in Brazil. Shell’s global network will also enable Cosan to tap into the global export market far more easily than it could on its own, which may be Brazil’s first major step towards its goal of translating its estimable domestic capabilities to a successful export industry. Another example of overseas interest in the space is Companhia Nacional de Açúcar e Álcool (CNAA), a partnership between Brazilian sugar and ethanol company Santelisa Vale – taken over by French commodities group Louis Dreyfus last year – alongside investors Goldman Sachs, Discovery Capital and the joint venture from private equity firms The Carlyle Group and Riverstone Holdings. The deal, with participation from two of the private equity industry’s most notable investors, reflects a distinct appetite from overseas participants for the sector.
Early stage and development capital is an urgent requirement for companies seeking to scale up to join the larger energy and fuel producers
Parties of all sizes
As an extension of the oil and refinery industry, participants in the biofuels space hitherto mainly comprised large international investment firms and oil multinationals. However, smaller opportunities are also attracting interest. Clean Energy Brazil (CEB) is one such company, and an AIM-listed investment group focusing on the Brazilian sugar and ethanol markets. CEB’s key investment in the country is in Unialco-MS, a joint venture with local sugar mill organisation Unialco-SA, with majority stakes in sugar cane farming companies Canavale and Alcoolvale Agricola and operating mill Alcoolvale. The value of CEB’s stake in Unialco-MS grew from $27.9m to $38.1m between April and October 2009, driven by a rebound in sugar and ethanol prices over the period. However, funding remains a pressing issue for smaller players. ‘The challenge though, continues to be the availability of credit lines in order to allow companies to capitalise on these higher prices,’ said the company in its results. ‘Growth depends very much on the availability of investors,’ adds Viridas’ Brink. Early stage and development capital is an urgent requirement for companies seeking to scale up to join the larger energy and fuel producers. With a view to taking advantage of this unique marketplace, Viridas is aiming to cultivate up to 120 square miles of jatropha in Brazil, the much-vaunted feedstock providing a growing alternative to the country’s sugar cane. Eyeing the UK market, the company is hoping to take advantage of a growing interest in a relatively untapped market. The response has been promising, according to Brink. ‘Although it is still pre-production, Viridas has already sold
US reliance on corn as a feedstock for its biofuel has seen it struggle to match Brazil
its forecast production of jatropha and biomass for the next few years,’ he says.
Global interest Global economies are beginning to appreciate the lucrative potential of a strong biofuels sector but many currently lack the regulatory coherence necessary to sufficiently encourage its growth. The US biofuels industry, in particular, has been criticised for its lack of a consistent regulatory framework. The sector had been bolstered by a tax credit scheme, which was recently allowed to lapse at the start of this year. The decision has only recently been made by the US government to reinstate the subsidies and to retroactively implement the tax credits. With these measures yet to receive full approval at the time of going to press and with no clear guidance as to when this will happen, the episode offers an illustration as to the US’ confused approach to this space. In the meantime, the sudden loss of support has caused severe damage to the sector, according to Alicia Clancy of US biodiesel company Renewable Energy Group. ‘Since the tax credit lapsed on 1 January 2010, Renewable Energy Group and all nine plants in our manufacturing network have been negatively impacted by the loss of the tax credit,’ says Clancy. ‘Without the $1 per gallon credit, biodiesel demand has dropped significantly resulting in production reductions. ‘The industry has been without the tax credit for 70 days and has almost entirely ground to a halt. Who knows if the industry can wait 70 more?’ she adds. Alongside such challenges, the economies of scale provided by the maturity of the Brazilian market give it a vast competitive advantage. As recently as 2006, the price differential between ethanol produced in Brazil and the US was such that, even with the 54 cents per gallon import tax which the US levied on Brazilian ethanol, it was still cheaper than its own domestic product. Corn-based ethanol, the key feedstock in the US, is also far
less efficient, producing less than a fifth as much energy as sugar, according to think tank the Brazil Institute. Another advantage Brazil offers overseas participants is that it represents less of a culture shock than the other BRIC countries, in terms of business environment. Although it can still seem formidably bureaucratic compared to many Western countries, Brazil is far more open to foreign ownership of land and shares in domestic companies. More importantly for ethanol developers looking to set up shop in the country, Brazil allows the export of energy products, unlike China and India. ‘Out of the four BRIC countries, Brazil is the closest culturally to Europe, compared to Russia, India or China, which have very different cultures, legal systems and languages, which can really complicate things,’ says Viridas’ Brink. With growth bouncing back after flatlining at minus 0.4 per cent GDP in 2009, and the country’s private equity firms sitting on $9bn of dry powder, according to Reuters, Brazil’s economy is starting to build up steam. Recent offshore oil discoveries, which could have insulated the economy from the oil price shocks of the 1970s, will also bolster the country’s energy make-up and provide further export revenues. With the country’s government aiming to establish Brazil as a global leader for biofuel exports, the growing interest in the region from international companies is a telling factor, suggesting that the sector still has plenty of room for growth. ‘What we’ve seen in the last two years has not in any way weakened our resolve to be an investor in the Brazilian sugarcane-to-biofuels market,’ says BP’s Macé. ‘It is compelling in terms of the performance, it is compelling in terms of the potential of the country to grow further, and to supply a large share of the biofuels demand in the next ten to 20 years.’ With the global growth of new alternative energy industries requiring stimulus and governmental support, Brazil offers a lesson in the successful fostering of a new sector. The growing interest of international investors and energy groups could now see domestic success transfer to global growth for biofuel.
Waste not want not for investors in renewable energy projects With waste to energy technology offering both a solution to landfill and a potential source of energy, investor interest in the sector is anticipated to grow.
Challenges of scale Large-scale production of electricity using waste as a feedstock is not a new concept. The Westchester plant in New York state has been generating electricity for approximately 40,000 local residents for over 25 years, serving electrity utility Con Edison. However, with growing quantities of waste, increasingly stringent regulations covering its disposal and a general move away from traditional incineration methods, opportunities for innovative solutions are growing within the sector. ‘There is a vast amount of waste going to landfill, but with the UK government’s policies, that is largely going to be diverted one way or another, and so I think that a number of technologies will fill gaps in the market’, says Tom Shields, CEO of recycling and waste recovery company Sterecycle. Many companies are in the process of developing new technologies, or establishing novel applications of established concepts. In February of this year, Danish biofuel catalyst developer Novozymes announced the development of the first commercially viable enzymes to convert agricultural waste such as woodchips and wheat straw into biofuel. Commercial-scale production is expected to begin in 2011. Canadian technology company Novo Energy has identified the approximately 300 to 400 million used tires produced in North America each year as a potentially lucrative resource. In order to reduce costly transportation of this feedstock, the company is attempting to move away from a business model based upon the traditional themes of capital-intensive and centralised infrastructure development. ‘We believe the most effective way that we can penetrate this market is by creating small capacity units, processing 40-60 rather than 100-200 tones of feedstock per day,’ says Faisal Butt, CEO. ‘We can then make our processing units mobile, and so once we have exhausted the feedstock in one location, we can simply move on and start processing in another’. Novel applications are continually being developed, from the feedstocks used, to the means of capture and the use of
s the search for clean and secure sources of energy continues apace, waste stockpiles are increasingly being viewed as a resource rather than a problem, with waste to energy (WtE) installations enabling evergrowing waste streams to be productively converted into electricity, heat and liquid fuels. Through the avoidance of methane and CO2 emissions from landfill sites, waste to energy (WtE ) installations also offer significant environmental benefits. The International Panel on Climate Change acknowledges the emission-mitigating role of WtE, while a 2005 report conducted by Germany’s Ministry of the Environment identified the sector as holding the greatest potential for short-term reductions. While waste prevention and reuse in many cases offer greater gains in efficiency, a ‘zero waste’ society is unlikely ever to be attainable. As the UK Institute of Mechanical Engineers points out, while for some waste streams, such as metals, it makes sense to collect and re-melt, for others the prudent approach, both from an environmental and economic perspective, is conversion into energy. Promotion of WtE installations may even improve opportunities to recycle, according to the Energy Recovery Council, due to increased waste handling. Many European countries also apply strict standards to these installations, often requiring material recovery before combustion, with recovery processes growing ever more sophisticated. The sector also compares favourably on several fronts to other clean energy sources. Unlike wind or solar energy, WtE facilities face no intermittency, while their tendency to be located close to urban areas mitigates potential transmission challenges and costly infrastructure installations that plague offshore developments. The sector can also offer faster and higher returns in comparison to other clean energy generation projects such as wind, according to David Diracles, director at UK-based WtE development company Verus Energy.
There is strong investment appetite for projects which will use proven technology and which have feedstock contracts in place
companies developing them, with Novo Energy’s Butt identifying access to initial capital as especially challenging. Venture capital companies may find opportunities within the new wave of innovation, where the time horizon of returns and scale of investments can be more palatable. ‘With municipal waste or biomass, profitability comes with scale. With contaminated waste streams, the pre-treatment processes are so resource-intensive that the operating overheads are very high, and the pay-back timeline is as Investment and project finance much as 10-15 years or more. Our feedstock is homogeneous and has already been sorted for us, and the business could be For established technologies, investor interest in the sector extremely profitable in the short-term’, claims Butt. appears to be robust. ‘There is strong investment appetite Raising project finance for demonstration scale plants, for projects which will use proven technology and which however, can still be difficult. have feedstock contracts in place. While debt financing may ‘I do find some of the older technologies like energy from be challenging in the near term, private equity funds, waste tend to have a bit more credibility with banks’, notes infrastructure funds, and utilities are all active in the sector’, Sterecycles’ Shields. ‘Raising bank finance is easier if you says Verus’ Diracles. For large-scale installations, publicare an older, more established technology, and personally I private partnerships look set to become more common, as think this is a bit short-sighted. I think technology like ours local authorities seek to comply with punitive regulations. that has proved itself is a very good bet for a bank, and we Towards the end of 2009, global WtE company Covanta are demonstrating cash flow that could sustain that’. began the development of a €350m facility, capable of Despite the depressed market, Sterecycle has been processing 600,000 tonnes of waste per year, in conjunction successful in attracting investors, with a £10m round with Dublin City Council in Ireland. The facility will completed in early 2010 bringing its total equity funding to eventually generate enough electricity for as many as date to £34m. ‘Clearly [the contract we have secured] is a 50,000 homes, Covanta said. great strength that underpins income running forward for Despite the potential for some of these new technologies, several years, so that kind of support helps enormously. But however, access to funding remains a challenge for the also the fact that we have not just developed a technology that we aspire to be successful EU Municipal Waste Management 2006 with, we have built a plant that demonstrates positive cash incomes. This helps Netherlands enormously gaining further Austria funding.’ Investors in Germany Sterecycle include Goldman Sachs, Impax Environmental Belgium and Ailsa3 Ventures. Sweden However, many technologies Denmark are still at a very early stage Luxembourg of development, and may Spain also have limited applicability across a range of waste inputs. Ireland ‘There is a large array of Italy technologies out there that are Finland in the advanced thermal France treatment category and many of them are either knowingly UK or unknowingly overselling Greece what the technologies can do’, Portugal says Tim Jervis, director of 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Verus Energy.
the energy produced. WtE plants tend to produce between two and three times more energy in the form of heat than electricity, according to the Institute of Mechanical Engineers, presenting opportunities for development of innovate heat energy technologies. German technology company LaTherm is one such company developing heat energy capture and transportation technologies, which have strong applicability within the WtE sector.
PERCENTAGE OF NATIONAL WASTE
Recycled % Source: Institute for Public Policy Research
Regulation and expansion Despite the ostensible benefits of WtE developments, according to the International
Solid Waste Association, as recently as 2007 the EU put an average of 50 per cent of its municipal solid waste into landfill sites, a figure that rose as high as 92 per cent for Greece. However, Europe and North America continue to offer the most receptive markets for these developments. Especially in Western Europe, the regulatory regimes in place are strong drivers of industry growth. The UK in particular seems poised for industry expansion. ‘The twin regulatory forces of the Renewables Obligation and the landfill tax have given rise to a great opportunity to develop projects in this sector’ says Verus’ Jervis. With the UK landfill tax set to rise to £72 per tonne by 2013, waste management looks set to benefit. Local authorities will also face stringent fines of £150 per tonne over their target reductions created under the Landfill Allowance Scheme. ‘Beyond the UK, Canada is an area that we are very interested in, and the US will come as well. I think Europe is a bit mixed. Some countries, such as France, are very dedicated to incinerating waste, but other countries such as the Netherlands, Spain and Ireland are very focused on moving away from this, and so I think there are many opportunities for us’, says Shields at Sterecycle. Regions with old or non-existent infrastructure are also likely to offer better investment potential. With rapid economic growth and urbanisation, many emerging markets are struggling to deal with urban waste management, but opportunities in the WtE sector remain limited. ‘Input is being generated around the world. So the
supply is there, but the value for our product comes only when regulation is in place’, says Novo’s Butt. Nevertheless, investors are beginning to take tentative steps into the WtE space within emerging markets. In March, commodities and natural resources-focused asset manager Fourwinds Capital Management announced plans to establish a fund to target waste and water sector opportunities in the Middle East and Africa, where some $70bn infrastructure investment is planned to service new and growing settlements and industrial facilities by 2014. This trend may also point to benefits from technology developers operating in more established markets. ‘We try to partner with local companies by investing in those companies and then put them together with leading technology companies,’ says CEO, FourWinds Capital management, Kimberly Tara. ‘Locally we invest more in operating companies and internationally we invest in technologies. As a combination, it allows them to bid as a consortium for a larger project’, she says. Tara also predicts that projects in Northern Africa will act as stepping stones to similar developments throughout the rest of the continent. With both waste and energy global issues, the two combined offer a particularly convincing prospect, supported by strong regulation and the growth of new, increasingly scalable technologies. The industry is seeing a growing appetite from investors for WtE projects, using existing technology and easily sourced, proven feedstocks.
Raising bank finance is easier if you are an older, more established technology, and personally I think this is a bit short-sighted
For large-scale installations, public-private partnerships look set to become more common, as local authorities seek to comply with punitive regulations.
Specialist funds prove popular for maturing clean technology sector For investors seeking opportunities in clean technology, the nascency of the sector means that expertise and a specialist approach is crucial to ensure stable growth.
he respective advantages of specialist and generalist funds will be a key issue for investors going forward, as the clean technology industry moves from being a nascent investment proposition to a mainstream market, according to leading industry participants at NewNet’s recent Clean Energy LP-GP Forum. The inevitable questions as to the dangers of a bubble was also subject of debate, with the relative youth of the industry potentially causing issues when assessing the credentials of managers in the space. With an increased interest in the sector, concerns were also raised as to the danger of a rush of capital and the risk of a dotcom-style bubble.
With a variety of terms floating round clean energy offering convenient, catch-all descriptions for investors, the labels surrounding new energy technologies encompass a host of different industry sectors, with the associated distinctions in market maturity, opportunity and outlook ensuring that broad definitions and predictions are rarely accurate. Iyad Omari, partner at clean technology investor Frog Capital said, ‘I think there will be multiple bubbles. I have no doubt there will be money coming into certain areas and getting concentrated and then moving out.’ While it is almost inevitable that individual sectors may enjoy periods of intense growth following new technology breakthroughs and market adoptions, the market certainty offers a reassuring balance to those concerned as to the potential for a boom and bust. Another issue facing investors is discovering the most effective strategy for accessing the best opportunities. Jamie Kiggen, senior managing director at The Blackstone Group, the industry’s largest private equity firm, said that the highly technical and complex nature of the markets means that specialist knowledge is a vital attribute for any private equity or venture capital firm looking to target these opportunities. ‘A good investment manager can do an analysis around any sector, but these investments really require expert help and a great knowledge base,’ he said. ‘That sector-specific and domain expertise is essential to doing a good job in this sector.’ Christopher Hunt, managing director at energy-focused investment firm Riverstone Holdings, was also in agreement
over the advantages of having a dedicated, specialist team to target renewables. With the industry still relatively immature, to sufficiently source the most promising companies requires a specialist approach, he said. ‘I do not think a generalist firm can survive in this sector. There are so many things that can go wrong. I do not think it is mature enough for a generalist firm.’ Hunt added.
Growth stories The development of the market from a niche avenue to a mainstream play is also being accompanied by a trend for institutions to increase allocations to this sector. For many, a corresponding theme to this growth in interest has been a move away from early stage investments and its associated technology risks. Alan Salzman, CEO and co-founder of US technology investor VantagePoint Venture Partners said the industry is entering a new level of growth. ‘It has gone from being a speculative category to investors asking themselves whether they are under-allocated in a sector that is going to become the most important industry,’ he said. For Salzman, the clean technology sector is best described as a modernisation of out-of-date technologies. Proven and transferrable technologies with multiple applications offer an appealing investment prospect. ‘When we look at the industries affected by clean technology, we are struck by how antiquated the technologies are that are being applied,’ he added. ‘At the moment we are one step removed from collecting firewood.’ Salzman is confident that energy efficiency and storage are in good positions for growth, both featuring heavily on US venture capital investors’ radar. Jürgen Habichler, managing partner at venture capital firm Mountain Cleantech, is another investor eagerly eyeing opportunities across general energy efficiency themes, relying more on proven technology than taking advantage of changing regulatory regimes. ‘It is one of the sleeping giants,’ he said. ‘I am a strong believer in energy efficiency as it is not dependent on any government feed-in tariff or incentive.’ For VantagePoint’s Salzman, the most game-changing technological breakthroughs will be in the space of energy storage and the impact this will have on the electric vehicle market. He said, ‘We are going to solve energy storage; there is a trillion dollar prize for the companies who do.’
I do not think that a generalist firm can survive in this sector
Green investment faces growing challenge to break into mainstream
he growing case for alternative energy technology offers investors a sustainable alternative to the financial excesses that characterised the recent economic crisis. Many investors, however, may need more convincing, writes private equity veteran Ray Maxwell. Back in 1972, global think tank the Club of Rome produced a report entitled The Limits to Growth, examining trends including industrialisation, population growth and depletion of resources. Based on contemporary trends, it found that civilisation growth was limited unless satisfactory ecological and economic stability could be established. Nearly 40 years on and growth rates have not diminished, with stability as illusory as ever, as demonstrated by the anaemic outcome of the Copenhagen Climate Conference. Sustainable investing is becoming more of an attractive prospect following the shady deals associated with the sub-prime fiasco, with shareholders increasing pressure on institutions and asset managers to focus on responsible investments and sustainable assets. Since the early 1970s, technology has advanced at a searing pace, particularly in areas such as communication and IT, resulting in a more efficient management of resources. However, the demands for energy and resources have remained high, due in part to the emergence of the BRIC economies. New technologies that address this area have a clear and obvious market, though many investors and financiers still remain cautious of the perceived, dual risks of new technologies and unfamiliar geographies. Cambridge professor and government advisor David Mackay is an advocate of major step changes. He notes that the UK gets 90 per cent of its energy from fossil fuel and that to wean it off will require a ten to 20-fold increase in green power. According to Mackay, the outlook is bleak when policy-makers opt for half measures, instead of grasping the issues head on, reluctant to break step with established industries. There does, however, appear to be a momentum to introduce renewable energy sources and also adapting existing carbon-based activities to be more efficient. This momentum is creating a broad range of investable opportunities, with varying technology risk. Technology cycles take place over many years, and are often characterised by an inflection point where investors rush in earlier than they should, taking unnecessary risks on the promise of an outsized return. The IT crash of 2001 is recent
enough to see many investors wary to embrace new sectors. Markets dictate that new technologies take time to become accepted, at which point financial markets flock to take advantage. However, the familiar cycle often sees a tidal wave of capital overwhelming the initial promise of exceptional returns, with undisciplined investing leading to an inevitable crash. As the technology becomes more broadly deployed and more widely accepted, so too returns become normalised. The hope expectation is that the economic downturn checked some of the exuberance that characterised previous bubbles. For many financiers, decisive regulation is required to move the renewable agenda forward. Nothing would work better to stimulate renewables than pricing fossil fuels accurately to reflect their true scarcity value. However, even without imposing a stringent pricing regime on fossil fuels, the renewables sector offers a broad range of investment opportunities from new technologies to infrastructure projects such as wind or solar farms. No matter the size or type of opportunity, the decision to invest should be based on a solid assessment of risk and reward. The opportunities vary in appeal; clearly early stage investments, with their associated risks, command higher rates of return than infrastructure projects that can take advantage of feed in tariffs (FITs). The renewables industry is not yet seeing the same buzz that was experienced with the internet in the 1990s. For many investors, myself included, this is not such a bad thing. The hype surrounding the sector led to a gross misapplication of capital, with unrealistic return expectations partnering with erroneous financial metrics. With a global move to renewables, societies and economies will need to adjust their expectations; there will profound changes to how energy is priced and deployed. Astute investors in this area will be comfortable with their reliance on the tested methods of rigorous due diligence and exacting evaluations of risk and reward. For many, this should lead to satisfactory outcomes, with trepidation leading to a realisation that the sector offers a similar case to other asset classes, with comparable rewards.
The hype surrounding the sector led to a gross misapplication of capital
While the case for green investing is increasingly compelling, investors remain wary of committing to unfamiliar asset classes, according to private equity veteran Ray Maxwell.
Ray Maxwell was formerly a partner of New York-based private equity group INVESCO and a general partner and managing director of INVESCO Private Capital from 1997 to 2005. He is currently a director at boutique advisor Acrostic.
inDUSTRY profile: SOLAR FRONTIER
Japanese solar energy eyes growth and global markets The solar energy technology arm of Japanese oil refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu is expanding and rebranding as it aims to translate its domestic technological edge onto a global platform.
ith a $1bn manufacturing expansion and a global rebranding effort fully underway, Solar Frontier (formerly Showa Shell Solar), the solar division of Japanese refiner Showa Shell Sekiyu, in which energy giant Royal Dutch Shell owns a 35 per cent stake, is set to take advantage of the potential for growth outside of the Asian solar sector. In recent times, solar stocks have looked shaky from a combination of the rough economic cycle and changes to government subsidies, which have undermined the industry’s prospects for the latter half of the year. With established global players struggling to maintain sales volumes, there are questions as to whether the emerging Solar Frontier can weather 2010’s still tough economic climate. Solar Frontier’s director of international business Brooks Herring is confident it can. ‘Our view is that by the time we have full production capacity, the economy will be better than it was when we decided to make the investment and our timing will be right on target,’ he says. Solar Frontier has a long history of manufacturing thinfilm copper indium selenide (CIS) photovoltaic cells, which it began researching 17 years ago and Showa Shell Sekiyu has roots dating back more than 100 years in the downstream energy business. With its expansion and growth into the US market, however, it will be treading new ground. ‘We have three key geographic areas in focus; Asia, the US and Europe, where we have carried out most of our business so far,’ Herring says. As Solar Frontier expands its annual capacity to gigawatt-class production levels with a new 900MW manufacturing plant in Miyazaki, Japan, international sales in its three target regions will be critical to the company’s success, particularly the US. ‘Clearly, with this level of production we would like to be in all three markets but we think the US has significant growth potential. It represents a market that you need to be in if you are going to be a global company,’ Herring adds.
Industry Profile Brooks Herring, Solar Frontier To have a good chance of gaining a foothold in the US, the company will establish a permanent base in California, which has so far led the country’s solar drive. ‘We chose northern California for our US office because California has a high population, it is the centre of the photovoltaic industry in the US and it has a pretty aggressive renewable portfolio standard, which will drive additional solar power generation into that market,’ Herring says. In addition, Solar Frontier will also base itself in Munich, Germany, an area which has become the focus of discussions in recent months as the German government forges ahead with controversial plans to slash solar incentive tariffs, casting a shadow on much of its domestic industry. Herring, however, is undeterred. ‘The German subsidies are being phased out, and this has been known and expected for some time. We think the level of subsidies in Germany is realistic and the photovoltaic market in Germany is robust.’
If you listen to the major authorities and governments, the one area of consensus is that we are going to need a diversity of energy types in order to meet the demands of the future
Big in Japan The changes in the economic environment have not, however, been solely limited to the solar industry, with oil majors such as BP slashing their renewables budgets to focus on core activities. It is not, Herring says, something that it is going to happen for Solar Frontier, with Showa Shell Sekiyu stakeholder Royal Dutch Shell continuing to invest in solar going forward. ‘If you listen to the major energy companies and governments, the one area of consensus is that we are going to need a diversity of energy types in order to meet the demands of the future,’ he says. Shell’s competitors in the oil sector may be retreating from the renewable energy space but Solar Frontier’s new activities will not go unrivalled as its Japanese contemporaries are also
inDUSTRY profile: solar frontier
aiming to increase their solar foothold. Technology companies Mitsubishi Electric and Toshiba have both recently announced plans to boost their solar portfolios, reinforcing the traditional desire from Japanese companies to be at the forefront of technology development. ‘A number of Japanese companies including Solar Frontier have focused on solar as a key part of their renewable energy efforts. The experience these companies have in the efficient production of high-quality products gives them an advantage also in the manufacturing of high-quality solar panels at a lower cost,’ Herring says. The technological expertise of Japanese engineers, he says, is a considerable factor in the region’s dominance. ‘My experience in watching how Japan manufactures [products] is that it is truly amazing how they make such high-quality products so efficiently. I do not think that will change,’ Herring says. Solar Frontier appears confident as to the viability of both the technology and the market. He adds, ‘We decided in September 2009 to invest $1bn in a third Japanese production facility and the reason we did so was because we had confidence in being able to establish a streamlined facility that would allow us to produce high-quality panels on a very large scale, with fewer resources at a low cost.’
The US has significant growth potential. It represents a market that you need to be in if you are going to be a global company
Research makes perfect Existing technological expertise is clearly a valuable asset, and as part of a larger entity, Solar Frontier is fortunate enough to be able to utilise this expertise for both cost-efficient manufacturing and ensuring that concepts can be transferred from the laboratory to the production line with little or no downtime. This has led Solar Frontier’s research to be focused on two areas; improving the core product and making sure margins can still be garnered when new innovations are brought to commercial production. ‘We have become more active in making sure our research and development is transferrable to the commercial production line, Herring says. He says that this dual focus within its research has led the company to achieve competitive efficiency rates. ‘It is hard to speak of our competitors, but as the largest CIS producer our team has done a great job at establishing efficiency records and taking this technology into commercial production.’ The efficiency rate of the panels coming off the assembly line is currently around 13 per cent. ‘By the time our third plant starts operating, we expect to be at 14.2 per cent and we are targeting 15 per cent not too far behind that,’ he adds. On the back of the increased manufacturing capability, it has set ambitious sales targets of 500MW to 600MW for 2011. Solar Frontier also plans to sell up to 1GW of panels when they come off the new production line in 2012, by which time it expects a more favourable market. Much of the company’s successful research activities stems from its investment into a standalone research facility just outside of Tokyo that has full-scale prototype equipment. With investments made in both the back-office research and front-office sales, Solar Frontier has set its sights on accessing a growing, global market. The company will continue its focus on advanced thin-film technology and, with the construction of the world’s largest CIS production plant underway, it will soon have the manufacturing capacity to further support its ambitious 1GW target.
Brooks Herring, Solar Frontier
industry profile: european wind energy association
European wind energy targets next level of growth for 2010 The risk-return profile of wind energy is growing in attractiveness as investors seek stability in new asset classes, according to Christian Kjaer, CEO of the European Wind Energy Association.
ind energy as an asset class is growing in demand from investors targeting a predictable risk-return profile. With wind offering a set energy price, potential risks surrounding fluctuating carbon and fuel prices are removed, offering investors an increasingly compelling investment case, according to Christian Kjaer, CEO of industry group the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA). The tightening of credit has also seen traditional sources of financing, such as banks, make way for investment funds and asset managers. According to Kjaer, the recent development of the offshore wind sector has been slower than expected, although the recent announcement from the UK government regarding the construction of new offshore wind farms has sent out a strong signal for growth. He is confident that the role of offshore energy will increase over time, but highlights the need for a sufficient market to incentivise project development, and indeed the whole supply chain. Firm direction from governments is required to ensure that the wind industry is able to benefit from the economies of scale, Kjaer says.
‘There are plain reasons why the UK is pushing for leadership in the wind energy space. They lost the battle in the 1980s when the UK was among the absolute leaders in developing wind energy technology, until Spanish, German and Danish companies took over. I think the UK government is making a commitment in this area and sending out a very strong signal.’ How important is government intervention and stimulus to the success of wind energy? ‘Stimulus for the offshore wind sector it is as important as for any new power technology. If we are moving closer to a liberalised market, the commitments are quite different than in the past where power companies made investments based on a mandate from the government to cover the cost. We need to have some sort of incentive to develop technologies. The ultimate goal of course is to develop offshore wind energy in terms of the ability to produce electricity at a cost of less than eight euro cents per KWh, like onshore wind, coal and gas. We need a sufficient market environment to ensure we can create economies of scale.’
We could power Europe seven times over with its offshore wind resources
Are large investors ready to participate in this area? ‘It takes big investors to drive growth in this area. Many of these are the big energy utilities. They are already interested and we are seeing some big names looking to participate. The onshore market already has the attention of the large investors. However, it is a higher risk business to produce wind energy offshore. The resource is much stronger, which means the loads and strengths of the components are much higher. Inherently offshore is more risky than onshore and it always will be, just as offshore oil and gas is more risky. The attraction of offshore is that the wind resources at sea are 45 to 50 per cent higher than they are on land. ‘In a recent report, the European Environment Agency said that we could power Europe seven times over with its offshore wind resources. The potential is enormous for building up an industry, particularly in light of reduced domestic fuel resources. It is a very attractive alternative for Europe to produce its own energy and to export those technologies to the rest of the world.
Industry Profile: Christian Kjaer, European Wind Energy Association
Is the European grid suitably equipped for the growth of renewables? ‘No, not at all. Currently, we do not have many grids offshore and we need that infrastructure to be in place to have any chance of scaling up. In order for competition to work across Europe we need to have a much better interconnected grid system. We need to create a power market infrastructure to drive the market for electricity, and secure this market for consumers. We need to plan these infrastructure projects, keeping in mind where we could develop in the future. Certain regions, such as the Baltic and Irish Seas, where there is about 100GW of projects planned, will need a huge amount of related infrastructure to support the increase in offshore wind resources.’
industry profile: european wind energy association
What role can you see for private investors? ‘With regards to the risk-return profile, it is the same whether you are looking at financing offshore wind farms or grids. There is always a greater degree of risk when you go offshore, but whether you invest in onshore or offshore wind energy you can be reassured as to the certainty of your future costs. You know exactly what your fuel cost is going to be for the next 20 to 30 years from the time you build the plant. With the uncertainty about the level of future fuel and carbon prices, this kind of consistency will appear increasingly attractive for investors. ‘From an investment perspective, you have no carbon price risk and you have no fuel price risk. This means that the risk profile of that investment compared to fuel and carbon-based technologies is good. If the markets work, then that risk will be borne by the investor, rather than by the consumer. Investors need to take on that risk. We are getting to the point where wind offers a very attractive investment case. ‘When looking at transmission, it may be riskier than a German government bond, but it is not as risky as a collateralised debt obligation. People are still wary of risk, but they also need to look for a compelling return. I feel that the specific risk-return profile of wind energy and grid investments will prove attractive for investors. ‘We are all faced with a tightening of credit available as a consequence of the financial crisis, yet we are seeing an increased interest from institutional investors and investment funds. Wind energy and infrastructure is growing in attractiveness as an asset class.’ What is the appetite currently for banks to offer debt for wind energy projects? ‘If you had asked me a year ago, I would say close to nonexistent. It is definitely getting better. We are seeing banks slowly beginning to offer financing again. Big infrastructure projects, such as offshore wind farms, typically require billions in capital, which requires investors and banks to syndicate and work together. A symptom of the recent financial crisis is that banks do not trust each other enough to underwrite each other’s loans to the same extent as before. ‘This is where the European Investment Bank (EIB) can
Christopher Kjaer, CEO, EWEA play an important role. By underwriting these loans, banks will gain the necessary reassurance. We see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of bank financing, but it is still challenging. One area of finance was corporate bonds and this all but shut down until recently. One of the main sources of finance we are seeing increasingly is investment funds. ‘Bank lending is getting better. Lower interest rates are clearly good news for wind energy projects, but to some extent this has been eaten up by increased premiums on bank loans. Another consequence of the financial downturn was an oversupply of risk capital that suddenly turned into an overdemand of risk capital. We have not fully benefited from the general reduction of interest rates, which we would have in normal circumstances.’
Where can you see the capital coming to finance these projects? ‘We do not care much whether these projects are owned by new companies or existing grid owners. What is important is that all of Europe gets a complete separation between production activities and transmission activities. The problem we have today is that in some member states, the companies that produce the electricity also own the grid and I do not blame them for not wanting to let that go. ‘It has a medium risk-return profile, so as an asset class, it is increasingly becoming in demand, after many investors burned their fingers on high-risk investments over the past couple of years. Governments also need to ensure that there is sufficient grid capacity for meeting the demand arising from expanded capacity. One option is to put a levy on consumers for securing those investments or introduce a regulated tariff for those making the necessary grid investments.’
How do you view the growth in China and the US? ‘Energy has always been a global market. Even last year, wind energy was a €45bn industry. This breaks down to three main markets: Europe, US and Asia. We are obviously seeing dramatic growth in China, in particular, as well as in India. We are also anticipating major development in Latin America, South America and the Middle East, as investors and banks switch on to the opportunities there. ‘Certainly from an offshore perspective, most of the installations in the foreseeable future will be in Europe. The potential, however, for expansion in the US and Asia, in terms of manufacturing and project development, is staggering. Europe needs to ensure that it continues to lead the way in technology, installation and regulation.’
investor profile: PRIVATE EQUITY
Emerging investment opportunities match scale of energy challenge An investment focus that encompasses Southern Africa and the Middle East aims to benefit from the regions’ huge potential for the adoption of new energy technologies.
stablishing a Southern Africa-focused clean technology fund in a region where the private equity industry is still emerging is an undoubtedly bold move. However, with suitable experience and a deep understanding of the nature of an immature investment market, the opportunities are there, says Wayne Keast, chief executive of private equity investor Consensus Environment. As a member of the investment committee of Consensus affiliate Inspired Evolution, a South African, clean technology-focused private equity firm, the twin challenges of underdeveloped energy and private equity industries mean that structuring deals is as much a challenge as identifying these opportunities in the first place. He says, ‘In the South African market, not only is it an early stage energy and renewable energy market, it is a very early stage private equity market. So a lot of the challenges hinge on the ability to structure the right deals that properly allocate the risk and return profile with the right private equity terms. We find we need to be more actively involved in structuring the terms of the transaction.’
‘For instance, if I led and closed a deal, I may have an analyst from ADFEC who will follow the same transaction as a support, to make sure that all three parties are well-informed and kept up to date on each other’s investments,’ he adds. The fund has almost been fully committed and has made 12 direct investments, as well as investments in four clean energyfocused private equity funds. ‘The objective was to identify technologies that have applicability to the Sun Belt and can be commercialised in Abu Dhabi. Because of that, we have found that we have a high exposure to solar and water technologies, but we have had a look at other sustainable and alternative technologies,’ says Keast. With the fund set up under the auspices of the Abu Dhabi government, the focus is on technologies which can be commercialised in the region, meaning that a company seeking investment from the funds should have applications within the Middle Eastern market, particularly Masdar City. ‘The bidding process is competitive, but we would expect all of our appropriate companies to at least bid for selection to be used in Masdar City,’ says Keast. Appropriately, given the fund’s focus, investments so far have concentrated on solar power and water efficiency technologies, Solar investments have included Solyndra, a thin-film solar company based in Silicon Valley; Texan solar company Heliovolt, which produces high efficiency, low cost solar units; Berlin solar firm Sulfurcell; and Nanogram, a Japanese company with technology that allows the manufacture of nanoscale compositions for optical, electronic and energy products. Inevitably, with water scarcity an ongoing issue for Middle Eastern countries, the fund also has a strong focus here too. Water companies in the fund’s portfolio include HaloSource,
Although each party takes control of the investment opportunities it brings to the table, the other members will also be closely involved with each deal
Masdar Keast also sits on the investment committee of the $250m Masdar Clean Tech Fund, which targets growth stage investments in technologies with application in the Middle East. Other partners include global financial group Credit Suisse and the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, the state organisation behind the planned Masdar City. With all three parties responsible for sourcing and screening potential investment opportunities, the benchmark is set high, Keast says. ‘Although each party takes control of the investment opportunities it brings to the table, the other members will also be closely involved with each deal.’ He adds, ‘Each partner is responsible for our own investments once the decision has been made. What we tend to do is a have a crosspartner review on deals, as well as cross-representation for responsibility across all investments.
Investor Profile: Private Equity Wayne Keast, Consensus Environment
investor profile: private equity
Land of opportunity Keast is also closely involved in Evolution One, the first clean technology fund targeting Southern Africa, with a focus on the Southern African Development Community member countries, which include South Africa, Angola, Mozambique and Botswana. Based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the fund reached a second close just short of $100m in early 2010. The first close, held in July 2008 before the financial market crash, attracted commitments from development finance institutions including the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Swiss Investment Fund for Emerging Markets (SIFEM), and Finnfund. Investors joining for the fund’s second closing also include the Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund), the Global Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Fund (GEEREF) and the African Development Bank (ADB). According to Keast, it had always been the firm’s strategy to approach development finance institutions and sovereign investors for the fund, as opposed to institutional investors. ‘We found that development finance institutions and sovereign-backed entities had a stronger appetite for cleantech investing in Southern Africa,’ he says. South Africa is an undeveloped market for clean energy technologies at present, with 90 per cent of its power coming from coal plants, and five per cent coming from the country’s sole, crumbling nuclear power plant. The country currently suffers from crippling power shortages, with state utility and monopoly energy supplier Eskom often forced to institute rolling blackouts at peak periods. The shortages have implications for neighbouring countries in Southern Africa, with South Africa the key energy supplier in the region. Although the country has almost no installed renewable energy capacity, the government is starting to take notice
Wayne Keast, Consensus Environment of the potential for renewable energy to make up part of its power mix, with a series of feed-in tariffs for wind and solar, and promises of power purchase agreements for renewable energy projects. Although the government and Eskom have been slow to finalise and approve the measures, the commitment to renewable energy growth is real, according to Keast. He says, ‘We think there is a genuine focus by the government to ensure that some of Eskom’s power comes from renewable sources, and over time to allow independent power producers to supply power directly into the grid and to third parties,’ he adds. The feed-in tariffs represent a significant aspect of the investment case for renewable energy in South Africa, Keast says, with opportunities evaluated through careful scrutiny of regulatory incentives. ‘At this stage we’ve been analysing the feed-in tariffs. We are following the opportunities, and the opportunities are currently around wind and solar, and so of course when it comes to wind and solar infrastructure there is less technology risk,’ he says. Aside from wind, solar and other renewable generation, the fund also targets other aspects of environmental technology, such as waste recycling, cleaner production and manufacturing processes, and water quality and management. In search of deals across the breadth of these technologies means that a global focus is all but essential. ‘We make investments on a global basis,’ says Keast, ‘and find negotiating transactions easier in some locations than other locations. US-based transactions are easier to close as counterparties are a lot more familiar with standard private equity and venture capital terms. We find that Europe is probably a close second, but there are a lot of smaller familybased businesses and it can sometimes be more difficult to get the right private equity terms.’ Concomitant with the associated challenges surrounding such an immature sector are the inevitable opportunities attached to an emerging market, with the prospects for widespread adoption of new energy technologies and next generation infrastructure.
which provides antimicrobial water purification solutions, and wastewater treatment company EnerTech Environmental. The focus, according to Keast, is less on infrastructure, with more of a technology-driven perspective. Although the fund has made a couple of seed investments, the focus has predominantly been on later stage companies, where uncertainties about technology risk have been ironed out and the investment committee is able to make an informed judgement on the potential to commercialise the technology. ‘We would need, in most cases, to feel comfortable with the level of technology risk we were taking, and confident about the market adoption of technologies,’ says Keast. The Masdar Clean Tech Fund was also set up to make $60m of commitments to up to five private equity funds, to obtain the higher level of deal flow offered by such a portfolio, as well as to obtain co-investment rights and market intelligence. According to Keast, the three partners have turned out to be more prolific than originally anticipated. ‘What we have found, over time, is that because of the strength of the parties – Masdar, Credit Suisse and Consensus Business Group – we have sufficient deal flow, and we committed most of our capital in less than 18 months,’ says Keast. The relative speed of these commitments offers a clear testament as to the attractiveness of the sector.
investor profile: Venture capital
Investors tip opportunities in US manufacturing sector The decline in the US industrial sector could be addressed by new manufacturing opportunities in renewable energy and clean technology, according to US investor Jeff Bocan.
ew places in the US were worse-hit by the financial crisis than the US state of Michigan, where the economy was ravaged by wider economic downturn and the near-collapse of the US automotive industry. However, the growth of new alternative energy technologies could see the state’s crumbling automotive architecture put to fresh use, according to Jeff Bocan of global private equity firm Beringea. With opportunities for industrial growth and a further utilisation of the state’s once world-leading infrastructure, Bocan has identified the area as a prime location for new technology growth and investment. He recently moved from Beringea’s Los Angeles office to Michigan to run the InvestMichigan! fund, a $175m venture capital fund focusing on growing businesses in the often-ignored state. While the fund targets a variety of sectors, environmental technology represents a growing part of its portfolio, according to Bocan.
Existing expertise Bocan says, ‘For over a century, Michigan was a world centre of advanced manufacturing, driven primarily by the automotive industry. Many of those skills and technologies are very well-suited to the cleantech supply chain; manufacturing and innovating wind turbines, solar technologies and advanced materials instead of exhaust systems, door panels and windshields. It is a natural fit.’ The fund targets investments of $1m to $10m later-stage seed capital, specialising in Series B and C rounds in those clean technology companies that may have previously received seed funding in 2006 and 2007, and are now returning to market for growth capital. ‘These companies need to have working prototypes,
Michigan could become a global industry hotbed of innovation and technology for this sector
Investor Profile: Private Equity Jeff Bocan, Beringea something that can be placed in the hands of the customer, and should at least be testing and preparing the product for roll-out across their network or industry,’ says Bocan. ‘Ideally, we are looking for a really exciting business that has both revenue and is profitable; however, Jeff Bocan, Beringea there are not many of those yet in cleantech,’ he adds. So far, InvestMichigan! is 25 per cent invested, and has to date invested in two clean technology companies, biomaterial developer EcoSynthetix and LED-focused smart grid technology company Relume technologies. LED lighting in particular, is an area that could prove to be a major growth industry for Michigan, according to Bocan. ‘People here in Michigan have been working with LEDs for over 20 years, and have a bit of a leg-up on the rest of the world, especially in managing some of the challenges that come with working with LEDs. Michigan could become a global industry hotbed of innovation and technology for this sector,’ he says. For many investors, however, such opportunities lie out of reach of their traditional target areas for sourcing new investment prospects.
Flyover state Historically, Michigan has little locally available venture capital, and is a long way from the traditional technology and investment hubs of Boston and Silicon Valley. Bocan recognises that it can be a challenge for emerging technology companies to attract the necessary investors, who in turn, may be missing out on exciting opportunities in the Rust Belt. ‘Michigan is deemed by a lot of the coastal venture capitalists as a flyover state,’ says Bocan. ‘They will fly over Michigan going from Silicon Valley to Boston, but they don’t want to
investor profile: venture capital
stop, which creates opportunities for us as a local investor with these companies.’ Aside from the strong heritage of its automotive industry, there is a strong tradition of innovation in Michigan. ‘There are generations of engineers in Michigan doing cuttingedge work in the fields of transportation, chemicals and biomaterials, as well as within the research universities,’ says Bocan. However, without access to capital many of the patents filed in the state within the state are unable to build up the momentum necessary to reach the start-up stage, and never progress further than the lab. While scarcity of funding may be an issue for companies in the area, investors may benefit from the fact that businesses are often undervalued, or at least not buoyed up by the same kind of bubbles that can build up in the more traditional technology enclaves elsewhere in the US. I would definitely say they are undervalued. I think that it is just a by-product of the lack of attention,’ says Bocan. ‘Here in the US there is a premium on businesses that are located in Silicon Valley, which is a by-product of those deals being bid up by a lot of money chasing a small pool of quality deals.’ Fittingly, many clean technology innovations in the automotive sector are also being pioneered in the state. ‘There is a lot in the transportation realm, from the push towards the electrification of cars to the drive for greater efficiency for existing engine platforms. We’ve seen a lot of extremely exciting opportunities recently in that space,’ Bocan adds.
the US, failure is often lauded and seen as a badge of courage. ‘It’s kind of the Darwinian evolutionary process that through others’ failure, lessons are learned which makes others more able to compete,’ he adds. One area where the US could look to the UK is in the country’s adoption of the venture capital trust (VCT) model, an asset class that Beringea’s UK arm makes extensive use of. Introduced in 1995, the VCT model allows private individuals to invest indirectly in smaller unlisted companies, providing a source of revenue for companies and giving private investors a means of accessing the potential higher returns offered by venture capital investment. Each venture capital trust invests in several companies, spreading the risk. Bocan has called for the adoption of this model in the US, which he says will enable a broader distribution of capital and increase the number of technology companies able to gain access to funding. Bocan says, ‘In the US, our venture industry is highly concentrated on the coasts and its power is heavily concentrated in the hands of a relative few. I think a VCT programme would spread the money wider across the US. Ideally, we would have sources of local investment in all 50 US states, which is not the case currently.’
US vs UK Prior to joining Beringea, Bocan worked at Saffron Hill Ventures, a London-based venture capital firm targeting the media sector, before returning to the US. Beringea operates on both sides of the Atlantic, and experience of both sides offers a useful sense of perspective and an understanding of the venture capital cultures in both countries, where different backgrounds inspire different mindsets. The US approach, with its broad range of experience and backgrounds means that the technical insight and company-building expertise are key, while the UK may still be lagging in its efforts to forge a definitive venture capital tradition. Bocan says ‘In the US venture community, investor backgrounds are more diverse and a large number are former entrepreneurs themselves.’ The difference between a predominantly financial sectorcultivated investor class and that of a broader business base can lead to a different approach to risk, and contrasting outlooks on the deals that do not pan out as hoped. Offering insight as to the relative mindsets of the UK and US venture investors, Bocan says, ‘This is just a personal observation from living in the UK for five years, but I noticed many people feel that failure is a stigma that is carried with you forever. In
It’s kind of Darwinian evolutionary process that through others’ failure, lessons are learned which makes others more able to compete
Proving the point Going forward, Bocan foresees an active 2010 for venture capital investors looking at alternative energy technologies. He anticipates a lot of companies coming back to market, having burned through their last round of funding during the lean months of the downturn. ‘We’re seeing some of those companies now come back to market, and there are some really exciting opportunities there,’ says Bocan. He also feels that the investment community is undergoing something of a sea change in the way renewable energy technologies are perceived. He says, ‘I also think that governments, utilities and consumers are finally ready to actually start buying and adopting cleantech products. For a long time, much of cleantech’s innovations have been cool to look at and consider, but have not been available on a mass scale or on a costcompetitive basis to today’s dirtier alternatives.’ The change in attitude has been driven by a shift down the cost curve for many sectors, meaning that some green companies may be starting to outgrow the government subsidies that have sustained them so far. ‘Even without government subsidies, there’s a real return on investment case for companies or municipalities to consider making the switch,’ says Bocan. ‘We believe many of the next generation of great billion dollar companies are going to come from this sector. The strong tailwinds are blowing behind cleantech,’ he adds.
investor profile: Fund of funds
Private equity fund investors seek certainty in clean energy Funds that can identify genuine environmental opportunities will define the clean energy investment space, according to Ulrich Grabenwarter of the European Investment Fund.
s one of Europe’s largest private equity fund of funds, the European Investment Fund (EIF) takes a broad view of the clean energy investment space. Its head of equity fund investments, Ulrich Grabenwarter, is optimistic as to the sector’s prospects for the year ahead, but insists that for it to thrive investors must be held accountable for the environmental credentials of their investments. With commitments to more than 320 funds in the venture and mid-market buy-out space, the EIF has close to €8bn under management across Europe and Grabenwarter is confident of the region’s home-grown advantage in clean energy. He predicts a wave of consolidation going forward, as private equity and venture capital firms embrace the next generation of fundraising. For those investors seeking to participate in clean energy, investment, their strategies will need to become increasingly sophisticated, he says, targeting genuine value creation within the companies in their portfolio. With growing numbers seeking to get involved in clean energy, funds of funds need to rigorously selct the managers that they feel have a complete understanding of a evolving and growing investment sector, Grabenwarter adds.
specialist teams that understand the full value chain of the industry and can position themselves and their investment in that value chain more accurately. This is not always the case with a more generalist approach to investing across a number of technologies.’ Have you changed your investment strategies because of the global economic downturn? ‘Our investment strategy has not seen any major adjustments because, in the venture space, we typically look at time-tomarket horizons that go beyond the timeframe of the current economic crisis and towards technologies that will emerge when the worst of it is hopefully behind us. ‘On the later stage segment, the approach we took before the crisis was to have a focus on investment strategies that are not reliant on financial engineering, but on organic growth of the companies. We have certainly increased our attention on that aspect. ‘We see the clean technology market as maturing generally and our exposure to these investments has been stepped-up. For us, it is not purely about finding a fund manager that labels one of their investments as a clean technology investment; it now needs to be an investment that has a genuine understanding of what the environmental implication and impact is. ‘We believe the next generation of fundraising in the market will see clear a differentiation between those funds that can introduce a degree of accountability of the impact they are achieving on the environmental front to those that have used clean technology investing purely as a marketing tool. We want to know how the fund managers assess the environmental benefit of their investments and to what extent they are considering the collateral damage of the
Our experience is that it is better to be exposed to a dedicated, specialist team because they have got in-depth sector knowledge
When did you first start to look at investing in clean energy? ‘We started looking at clean energy from 2006 and made our first investment in early 2007. The market was very blurred at that time and it was not easy to segregate the investment focus into pure clean technology from traditional investment themes.’ Do you prefer to invest in specialist funds? ‘Our experience is that it is better to be exposed to a dedicated, specialist team because they have got in-depth sector knowledge of the specific segment they are targeting and that gives them a comparative advantage over others. Also, given the size of the portfolio we manage, we can afford to manage diversification at the level of our funds portfolio, rather than at the level of individual funds. ‘Like in any other fund we invest in, we are looking for
Investor Profile Ulrich Grabenwarter, European Investment Fund
investor profile: fund of funds
investment they are making. An investment in biofuels, for example, may not in itself be particularly green, or indeed forward-thinking, depending on the technology and subsidy environment.’
Do you think Europe has an advantage over other regions in clean technology? ‘In the clean technology space, Europe has an advantage it does not have in other technology sectors, such as life sciences. It has strong domestic technology and a home market, though it needs to capitalise on these opportunities. ‘In the information and communication technologies market, if you are not exposed to the US market you might as well forget about it. Similarly in the life sciences market, if you do not have access to the big US pharmaceutical companies, then you are nowhere. ‘In the European clean technology space, there is an advantage in terms of technology innovation being driven by a public awareness. There is a great readiness to take up those technologies in the business processes across Europe. This creates a dynamic for the European clean technology market that should give it a competitive edge over Asia and US.’ Do you think investments in the space will come from new participants or existing investors increasing their allocations? ‘From existing investors we will see a consolidation into a smaller number of players; those that have taken on the
It is understood that if clean technology investment activity is nothing more than a marketing trend and just hype, then it is something that will benefit nobody – not the investors or the fund managers
Ulrich Grabenwarter, European Investment Fund challenge to define themselves as solid and reliable fund managers in that space. ‘We will see new fund managers testing the space, but I expect that to happen in the same vein as the general venture capital industry where they will start with niche market investments and then move to more core markets as they become successful. They first start in the niche markets in order to have a differentiating factor in the first generation of funds that are being raised.’
With the increasing number of funds targeting clean energy, has the quality suffered? ‘We see an increased effort in the industry to set standards for itself and demonstrate they are serious about the sector. It is understood that if clean technology investment activity is nothing more than a marketing trend and just hype, then it is something that will benefit nobody – not the investors or the fund managers. ‘We are in a period where fund managers need to look very deliberately at what their unique selling proposition is and how they can protect it.’
Going forward, what are your predictions for clean energy funds? ‘For 2010, I am fairly optimistic as it seems to be one of the few market themes that is still fairly absorptive and investors are still receptive to making commitments. Beyond 2010, it is up to how the industry will manage to shape itself and respond to investor expectations by giving substance to the theme of clean technology rather than just a name. ‘Clean energy investment strategies are going to have to get clever, in the sense that there is a need to look at what is behind the value creation that the fund managers are going after and how they are going to deliver on this with individual companies in their portfolio. ‘We are in a situation where anything that has an environmental touch is a challenge by definition, because normally when you are in a financial crisis, anything that delivers a form of benefit to society comes after financial survival. Therefore, the financial value creation that companies in the clean technology space are delivering needs to be very substantial and very clearly earmarked in order to make a case for itself.’
investor profile: Venture Capital
Israel’s technology hub needs capital to thrive Israel has long been known as a base for technology incubation. With new developments in clean energy, the country’s emerging venture capital scene is looking to take advantage.
srael has long been known as for its technological innovation, with the mutually beneficial clustering of investors, laboratories, universities and developers calling to mind another technological hub. ‘There’s an ecosystem here unlike anything outside of Silicon Valley,’ says Glen Schwaber, a partner at Israel Cleantech Ventures. ‘There is a unique interplay between a mature, experienced venture capital industry, which has been through multiple investment cycles over the last 20 years, outstanding universities with world-class scientific research, a military and defence establishment with core high-tech competencies, a culture of entrepreneurship and risk-taking, and government policies designed to encourage technology R&D.’ The country has also set its sights on clean technology innovation and efficiency measures, which have been necessary for the continued survival of the resource-scarce country. Historically, its principal function has been as an incubator, with local innovations rolled out to the rest of the world. One of the country’s older green energy companies, Ormat, has become a major international geothermal energy player, despite originating in a country with non-existent geothermal resources. Established in 2006, Israel Cleantech Ventures was the first Israeli venture capital firm to focus exclusively on the clean energy space. The move paid off, with other focused funds emerging in recent years. Investment in the sector increased from a four per cent proportion of Israel’s venture capital dollars in 2008 to seven per cent in 2009, according to the Israel Venture Capital Research Center. Despite being hit by the global downturn, some 15 deals were completed in 2009, with a total value of $100m.With a potential recovery on the cards, this investment looks set to rise.
and we believe there will continue to be great investment opportunities over the coming years,’ he adds. The firm targets early stage investments, with the majority of portfolio companies pre-revenue at the time of acquisition. The firm’s presence at the very early end of the venture capital spectrum is in part a product of the market, which is still extremely young, according to Schwaber. ‘About half of our portfolio is now moving into revenue stage, ramping up from R&D to business development and sales. That said, it’s still early for us to be contemplating acquisitions or IPOs,’ says Schwaber. ‘Over time, the sector will mature as more companies transition from R&D to initial sales and eventually meaningful revenues. For the time being, however, from inception up to single digit revenue is generally our sweet spot.’
Israel is undoubtedly a great testing ground for cleantech start-ups
Future opportunities ICV is still investing its $75m first fund, although the deal flow at present is strong enough that the firm may need to start fundraising sooner rather than later, according to Schwaber. ‘We are still actively looking at new deals in the current fund and have additional capital to deploy,’ he says. ‘Looking forward, we do anticipate raising a second fund as deal flow continues to be robust both in terms of quantity and quality,
Investor Profile: Venture Capital Glen Schwaber, Israel Cleantech Ventures
Breeding ground Some Israeli companies have made the move from bootstrapped start-ups to global players in a relatively short space of time. Electric vehicle infrastructure company Better Place, which ICV invested in as an early stage company, has raised $1.2bn in funding since its inception in 2007, including $350m in January this year. The small scale of the market for the most part precludes the kind of gigantic price tags required to grow large infrastructure and project finance-focused initiatives, adjusting the focus more towards innovation and technology refinement. Schwaber says, ‘Many solutions within the energy marketplace do not make sense to build from Israel. I wouldn’t advise an Israeli start-up company to build a photovoltaic (PV) plant, but rather developing equipment and methods to make PV production significantly more efficient is a relevant Israeli play. ‘Similarly, an Israeli company building desalination plants is an unlikely venture-relevant business, but companies developing novel membranes for energy efficient desalination
investor profile: Venture Capital
and wastewater treatment are indeed of interest,’ he adds. The country has a quiet dominance of the ultra high-tech sector. The first Intel chip was developed in an Israeli lab, and companies such as Siemens, GE, Dow Chemical and IBM have R&D bases there. Israel is often a willing partner in encouraging innovation, with Israel Electric Company (IEC) assisting companies developing refinements of electricity generation, transmission, storage or demand-side management technology. National water authority Mekorot also has a programme for beta-testing new solutions provided by start-ups. ‘Israel is undoubtedly a great testing ground for cleantech start-ups,’ says Schwaber. ‘Many cleantech companies can test their solutions locally and develop a nice local business here, with real referenceable customers.’
ICV’s portfolio is made up of companies providing innovation, with the potential to improve the efficiency and functionality of large infrastructure projects. The concentration of pre-revenue companies in its portfolio may have been a blessing during the downturn, according to Schwaber. He says, ‘In terms of our own portfolio, the downturn was not as severe as one might have imagined, as the vast majority of our companies were still in their development stages over the course of 2008 and 2009, and were effectively shielded from problems such as bloated inventories, difficult cash collections and large-scale layoffs that many later stage companies experienced.’ The firm invested in two companies in 2009: Tigo Energy, a developer of power electronics and software solutions to increase efficiency in PV installations, and FR Polymers, the firm’s first investment outside of the country. The investment was driven by one of ICV’s venture partners, Arnon Goldfarb, who had a long career at fertiliser and chemical manufacturer Israel Chemical, and is familiar with the bromine-based flame retardant industry. The firm’s focus is still for the most part squarely focused on Israel, according to Schwaber. He says, ‘our competitive advantage as early stage investors is in the Israeli cleantech sector, so we don’t proactively source early-stage deal flow outside of the country.’
Next generation Despite the nascency of the market, there have been some striking deals. Most notably in 2009, Israeli solar company Solel was acquired by Siemens for $418m. But at this stage, the big ticket deals are likely to be the exception, instead of the rule, according to Schwaber. He says, ‘We expect to see deals like this in the future, but still have some time before we reach that stage. ICV is focused on building Israeli companies that will either be large standalone concerns or will be acquired for significant sums of money, but the sector needs to mature before that can start happening in any kind of regularity. ‘We’re only now starting to see the first wave of cleantech companies emerging from research and development and beginning to generate revenues,’ he adds. A familiar route for new companies in the sector is to start up in Israel, raising early stage financing and perfecting their
Glen Schwaber, partner, Israel Cleantech Ventures
Buffer against recession
technologies, before expanding into other territories. ‘To become substantial players on a global scale, they need to be thinking and extending beyond Israel’s borders early on,’ says Schwaber. ‘In many cases, as in the technology sector, I see the model of Israel-based R&D, with marketing and sales functions located abroad, as working quite well,’ he adds. While there has been some interest in the sector from private investors, more capital will be needed to come to market to push it to the next stage of maturity, says Schwaber. ‘We have a ways to go before I would characterise this market as crowded,’ he says. ‘One of the biggest challenges is to get more capital flowing into the system, and to increase awareness of Israel and Israeli technology. It seems to be happening more and more, and continues to be something that we as a firm and colleagues in the industry are very focused on.’ Going forward, Schwaber sees rewards in the potential to leverage Israel’s extensive involvement in the IT boom to provide the crucial refinements to underpin the development of the future leaders in clean energy and related technology. ‘We’re spending a lot of time looking at what we call crossover IT, companies which leverage Israel’s core strengths in IT toward the cleantech sector. These include green IT, smart grid, energy storage and energy efficiency plays,’ says Schwaber. ‘Israel’s ability to compete globally in cleantech markets will depend to a large extent on our success in leveraging know-how from the general technology domains. And we are already seeing it happen,’ he adds.
SOLAR: Deal news
Solutia to buy Etimex Solar NYSE-listed chemical company Solutia has agreed to purchase Etimex Solar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Etimex Holding, controlled by funds affiliated with German investor Alpha Gruppe. Solutia said the purchase price of €240m in cash is expected to be financed from existing cash on the balance sheet and additional debt. The transaction, in which Deutsche Bank Securities and Kirkland & Ellis acted as advisors, is expected to close during the second quarter of 2010, according to the company. Solutia said the acquisition of Etimex Solar, a supplier of ethylene vinyl acetate encapsulants to the photovoltaic market, is a significant step in its plan to strategically grow its specialty chemicals and performance materials portfolio by enhancing its current businesses. ‘This acquisition is a solid step forward that strengthens our core competencies, expands our end markets and supports Solutia’s growth strategy,’ said Jeffry N Quinn, chairman, president and CEO of Solutia.
Solar World invests $500m in Qatar manufacturing base Germany’s largest solar company by revenue, SolarWorld, is to expand its manufacturing base with a $500m investment into a Qatar production facility, in a move that it said will shield itself to upcoming changes in its domestic market. SolarWorld also acquired a 29 per cent stake in the newly formed Qatar Solar Technologies, which will establish the first production facility for polysilicon on the Arabian Peninsula. Additional partners in the project are the Qatar Foundation, which takes a 70 per cent stake, and the Qatar Development Bank with the remaining one per cent. Last month, SolarWorld beat its own forecasts and posted earnings revenues of more than $1bn, but shares have been falling since 25 February from a high of €10.32. The news caused a slight spike
in share price from an earlier low of €9.28. Germany’s high labour costs and upcoming changes to legislation that will see a drop in government incentives for solar power being fed into the grid hit the 2009 revenues of a number of firms in the sector and have increased global diversification efforts. The planned annual capacity of the new plant is 3,600 tonnes of polysilicon in its first stage of expansion, the company said. The facility will be built at the Ras Laffan Industrial City, home to a number of major oil, gas and chemical majors. SolarWorld said the location meant that the facility will enable it to access favourable energy prices and forward integration along the entire solar value chain, to the finished solar module.
SolarCity creates $90m fund with US Bancorp to finance solar projects
Evolution Solar signs wafer supply contract Pink Sheets-listed solar company Evolution Solar has agreed to supply one million Chinese manufactured wafers per month to Okaya & Co and Japanese company Shinetsu Film. The contract provides a commission payment per wafer and is initially termed for a year, with provisions for possible extensions, said the company. ‘Last year, we were working with a six dollar-a-wafer market, which everyone knew was falling steadily,’ said Michael Franklin, director of Asia operations, Evolution Solar. ‘Now that the market has stabilised at three dollars per wafer, doors are opening for aggressive companies to make lucrative trading agreements worldwide. Our strategic company placement in the Far East is beginning to pay off for us.’
SolarCity and USBCDC have established three separate funds, financing $190m of solar projects
US solar provider SolarCity has created a $90m fund with US Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC) to further commercial and residential solar projects in 2010. This is the third collaboration between SolarCity and USBCDC, who together have established three separate funds financing a total of $190m in solar projects across in the US in 2009 and 2010. SolarCity will use the new fund to finance its solar lease and power purchase agreement offerings as it expands into new states, the company said.
SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive said working with partners such as USBCDC make it possible for the firm to keep pace with demand. ‘We started this company with the simple belief that if we made solar power as affordable and accessible as other energy sources, we could make it a mainstream source of electricity,’ Rive said. SolarCity designs, installs and repairs solar facilities, while USBCDC manages more than $6.3bn in assets and finances community development and affordable housing projects.
SOLAR: DEAL news
Konarka raises $20m in strategic partnership with Konica Minolta organic thin-film photovoltaic business as one of the most promising in the environment and energy field, next to the organic light emitting diode business, where our photographic film manufacturing technology is leading mass production,’ Matsuzaki said. Going forward, the companies said they hope to establish a joint venture company in Japan to produce thin-film photovoltaic panels. Konarka executive chairman and co-founder Howard Berke said the firms are well positioned to meet the growing demand.
Glaston closes €6.6m investment Government-owned investment company Finnish Industry Investment has made a €6.6m investment in glass technology company Glaston, which supplies the solar industry. Glaston’s customers are glass processors supplying the photovoltaic and construction industries. Glaston president and CEO Arto Metsänen said the strongest growth in the glass market can be seen in China, elsewhere in Asia, and also in South America. ‘The increasingly widespread use of energy-efficient glasses is an opportunity for us and we believe the favourable trend in the solar energy market will continue. We are continuously enhancing our service business,’ Metsänen said. Glaston’s head office is located in
Glaston’s energy-efficient glass
Tampere, Finland and has additional production facilities in Italy, Brazil and China. Antti Kummu, investment director, Finnish Industry Investment, said, ‘What is most interesting about Glaston is the company’s strong market position and its future opportunities in solar energy.’
Solar power wins $24.7m from ARRA Solar module manufacturer Solar Power has received an initial commitment of $24.7m in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds (RZFB) from Sacramento County, US. On 17 February 2009, US President Barack Obama signed into law the $78.7bn American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The RZFBs committed to Solar Power are tied directly to the ARRA. The company also said that it was exploring plans to open a manufacturing facility within Sacramento County to build solar panels.
‘We are delighted that Konica Minolta recognises the value of Konarka’s patent-protected thin film solar material that is lightweight and flexible, uniquely lending itself to a wide range of applications where traditional photovoltaics are not effective,’ he said. ‘With our collaboration efforts, Konarka and Konica Minolta are well positioned to deliver efficient, nextgeneration photovoltaic panels to meet the growing demand for personal and commercial solar energy solutions around the world,’ he added.
AEG Power Solutions acquires majority stake in skytron
US solar technology company Konarka has received $20m in funding after signing an agreement with digital imaging company Konica Minolta. The research and development collaboration and strategic investment agreement will see the companies start to jointly develop and distribute organic thin-film photovoltaics in April. Konica Minolta CEO Masatoshi Matsuzaki said it was Konarka’s polymer technology and its mass production facility in Massachusetts, US, that drew the company to invest. ‘Konica Minolta positions the
Industrial power electronics company AEG Power Solutions has taken a majority stake in skytron energy. The amount of the transaction, which was paid in cash, was not disclosed. Founded in 1996, Berlin-based skytron provides metering, monitoring and supervision solutions to companies in engineering, procurement and construction, as well as to independent power producers. Bruce Brock, CEO, AEG Power Solutions, said, ‘Combining skytron’s monitoring and supervision products with our power electronics and experienced global services network will allow us to offer PV power plant operators highly reliable technology and expertise for the integration, implementation, and operation of rugged solutions for greater system availability and higher energy yields.’ ‘We needed a strong industrial partner to support our growth and give us access to the global market. The alliance will enhance our access to funds to improve our leading-edge technology while allowing us to provide our customers with strong service in all the emerging PV markets,’said Martin Sauter, CEO of skytron energy.
SOLAR: Deal news
Prime Sun Power to sell Italian solar PV plant for €100m
Edison to buy 200MW of SunPower solar equipment
Solar power developer Prime Sun Power (PSP) has agreed to sell a 25MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Italy. The company said that the sale is expected to generate gross revenues of over €100m in 2010. PSP receives interest for €12m of strategic investments in the company from module suppliers. The transaction is the first sale under the terms of a signed frame agreement to sell 100MW projects on a turnkey grid-connected basis to an institutional investor. The company currently has several engineering, procurement and construction contractors and photovoltaic array module suppliers bidding for the construction, installation and connection of the power plant to the regional electricity grid in Italy. Construction is targeted to begin in June 2010. The first electricity sales from the photovoltaic plant projects under the Italian feed-intariff regime are expected to commence during the fourth quarter of 2010.
Solar technology manufacturer SunPower will provide 200MW of solar power capacity to Edison International, equivalent to 80 per cent of the utility’s large solar photovoltaic (PV) installation programme. Financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed. During the next five years, Southern California Edison (SCE) plans to install, own and operate 250MW of solar generating capacity, most of it on otherwise unused large warehouse rooftops, it said. Under the scheme, the one and two million watt solar installations will be connected directly to neighbourhood distribution circuits where the leased rooftops are located. SCE president John Fielder said the cost incentive was a key factor in it contracting SunPower. ‘The anticipated benefits of this agreement with SunPower include panel costs that will allow us to meet our commitment to increasing our customers’ supply of renewable energy while reducing the cost of installed solar photovoltaic power in California,’ Fielder said. In January, the California Public Utilities Commission approved a second track of SCE’s solar installations that will double its PV programme. SunPower’s president, utilities and power plant business group, Howard Wenger said SCE’s commitment to rooftop solar develop is unprecedented in the utility industry. ‘The SCE programme reflects the growing value of advanced solar panel technology as a reliable, cost-effective energy resource that can be installed quickly, anywhere and at any scale,’ Wenger said.
GT Solar secures over $200m in orders Global solar service provider GT Solar International has signed new contracts totalling more than $200m. The orders include a $137m followon order from a large Chinese customer, as well as orders from companies including Tianwei New Energy Holdings, Phoenix Photovoltaic Technology, Yingli Green Energy Holding Company, JA Solar Holding, Taiwan-based Sino-American Silicon Products. The orders were booked in GT Solar’s current fourth fiscal quarter, said the company, and revenue for the orders is expected to be recognised in periods subsequent to the current fiscal year. ‘We are pleased that leading PV manufacturers continue to express confidence in our ingot growth technology, as evidenced by these orders from our valued Asian customers,’ said Tom Gutierrez, president and CEO of GT Solar.
Manufacturer Solon closes 20MW solar module supply agreement with entrason
Solon CEO Stefan Säuberlich and Alexander Eysert, managing director of entrason
European solar module manufacturer Solon has closed a framework agreement for the supply of solar modules over several years with German solar distributor entrason. The total volume of the contract amounts to approximately 20MW, or 90,000 modules, for the first year, the company said. Stefan Säuberlich, CEO, Solon, said, ‘We are looking forward to a
long-term partnership with a dedicated solar wholesaler, who not only requires premium quality and the ability to innovate, but also has the necessary specialised product knowledge.’ Entrason developed into an independent business branch of the ConSolaris group in 2009. Solon has subsidiaries in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland and the US and employs some 900 people worldwide.
SOLAR: Deal news
First Solar signs contract with PG&E for 300MW PV solar project
The Desert Sunlight project will be based in Riverside County, California
‘First Solar is one of the few companies that has all the capabilities required to realise very large, utilityscale solar projects like Desert Sunlight, which are important in helping our customers and California
Yingli to supply 285MW of solar modules to Gerlicher Solar NYSE-listed Chinese solar company Yingli Green Energy Holding Company has signed a three-year framework agreement with European solar system integrator Gehrlicher Solar. Under the terms of this agreement, Yingli Green Energy has agreed to supply 285MW of photovoltaic (PV) modules to Gehrlicher Solar over a three-year period through 2012. Yingli said it expects the PV modules to be supplied by the company under the agreement will be installed mainly in residential, commercial roof-top and ground-mounted power plants across key European PV markets. ‘We are pleased to announce this new long-term business relationship with Gehrlicher Solar,’ said Liansheng Miao, chairman and CEO of Yingli Green Energy. ‘We believe the establishment of our partnership with Gehrlicher Solar, one of the leading system integrators with
a diversified portfolio of customers in Europe, will further strengthen our position in this important region.’ Miao said that the three-year agreement provides Yingli Green Energy and Gehrlicher Solar with additional visibility on sales and supply volumes, as well as a solid foundation for long-term cooperation. Klaus Gehrlicher, founder and CEO of Gehrlicher Solar, said, ‘This longterm framework agreement with Yingli Green Energy will strengthen our position within the crystalline market segment and enhance the representation of both companies in major solar markets in Europe.’ Based in Baoding, China, NYSElisted Yingli Green Energy Holding Company, which holds the brand Yingli Solar, develops, manufactures and sells photovoltaic modules to a wide range of markets, including Germany, Spain, Italy, Greece, France, South Korea, China and the US.
reach the state’s renewable energy goals,’ said Rob Gillette, CEO, First Solar. First Solar has 1,700MW of utilityscale power projects with power purchase agreements in North America.
China Sunergy to buy two solar module manufacturers for $47m
NASDAQ-listed solar module manufacturer First Solar has signed a power purchase agreement to supply US energy utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) with renewable electricity from a 300MW utility-scale photovoltaic solar power facility that the company is developing in Southern California. The Desert Sunlight project, to be located near Desert Center in eastern Riverside County, California, will have a total capacity of 550MW. The other 250MW portion of the project is already under contract to energy utility Southern California Edison. First Solar’s power purchase agreements with PG&E and SCE are subject to the approval of the California Public Utilities Commission.
Chinese solar cell manufacturer China Sunergy has announced an agreement to purchase all outstanding shares of CEEG Solar Science & Technology and CEEG New Energy for $47m. The will help bring the manufacturing of polycrystalline modules in-house, China Sunergy said. Lu Tingxiu, chairman of China Sunergy, said, ‘These acquisitions advance our initiative of developing into a comprehensive solution provider and providing value-added services to customers.’ Tingxiu added the acquisitions will create vertical integration, helping to stabilise and increase margins. The company said it will now be transformed from a manufacturing orientation into a platform with a stronger emphasis on technological innovation. The $47m will be paid in a series of instalments and the board of directors of all three companies have agreed to the deal.
SOLAR: DEAL news
Azure Power closes Series B investment Azure Power, the developer and owner of India’s first privately operated utilityscale solar power plant, has closed its Series B investment round. The size of the investment was not disclosed. Previous backers Helion Advisors and Foundation Capital, who provided Azure’s Series A funding in September 2008, were joined by World Bank Group member IFC in the round. The investment is IFC’s first solar project investment under its newly established clean technology investment programme and its first clean technology investment in South Asia. Azure Power is the recipient of the first direct investment from IFC in megawatt scale grid-connected solar power project sector, said Anita George, IFC’s infrastructure director for Asia. Sanjeev Agarwal, managing partner at Helion, said, ‘Azure Power brings something that is rare in the industry; the actual experience of setting up, owning and running a solar power plant. This first-mover advantage, I am sure will keep them in good stead as they continue their aggressive growth plans.’
Solar Junction raises $13.3m in Series C funding US solar company Solar Junction has raised $13.3m in a Series C round of funding from existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Advanced Technology Ventures and New Enterprise Associates, according to reports. The venture capital investment follows $3m in funding secured by Solar Junction this January from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as part of the US Department of Energy’s Photovoltaic Incubator Program, which aims to support the development of early-stage solar energy technologies and help them advance to full commercial scale. Solar Junction said that it aims to use the latest funds to achieve higher efficiencies for multi-junction solar cells.
Utility-scale solar developer Agile Energy closes financing Developer of utility-scale renewable power generating projects Agile Energy has closed a Series A investment from clean technology investor Good Energies. The financing provides Agile Energy with both cash and credit support which will fund the company’s growth and development activities, it said. Agile Energy is focused on developing grid-connected, ground-mounted solar projects located in North America with generating capacity over 5MWs and has a near-term pipeline consisting of about 400MW. Will Nesbitt, managing director at Good Energies, said, ‘We believe the solar market in North America offers significant growth potential and Agile Energy will be one of the leading solar and renewable energy developers.’ Agile Energy’s founders, Glen Davis and Robert Morgan, have collaborated for more than 20 years in power development and have a combined 44 years of experience in regulated and restructured energy markets.
Iosil Energy secures $13.5m for oversubscribed funding round Solar grade polysilicon manufacturer Iosil Energy has secured $13.5m in equity financing in what the company said was an oversubscribed round. New investors include BankInvest New Energy Solutions, SiC Processing and Bekaert, which have joined existing investors EnerTech Capital, Cycad Group and Espirito Santo Ventures. In addition, Epic Ventures and Gideon Hixon have also joined as new investors and the initial tranche of funding will allow it to specify and engineer its pilot plant facility in one of several locations under consideration, Iosil said. The full investment will be used by Iosil to build out a pilot manufactur-
ing plant and prepare for commercial introduction, it said. Earl Fuller, CEO of Iosil Energy, said, ‘Iosil is now moving from a successful research and development phase to a manufacturing scale-up of its technology. The solar market needs innovation throughout the value chain to reduce costs and enable growth in one of the largest segments of the renewable energy industry.’ Iosil’s technology can be used to produce polysilicon from metallurgical grade silicon, the traditional feedstock source, but also recover and purify silicon from sawing waste streams, it said.
$41.4m for PV company SpectraWatt Photovoltaic cell manufacturer SpectraWatt has received $41.4m in investor funding in the form of convertible debt. Investors include Cogentrix Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, corporate venture capital firm Intel Capital, PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund and two other unnamed sources. The funds will be used to finalise completion of the company’s factory, advance internal operations and technology development and allow for planned capacity expansion, SpectraWatt said. Andrew Wilson, CEO of SpectraWatt said, ‘These investors share our vision of an empowered US-based solar industry delivering innovative industry-leading products. The funds will allow us to expand and build toward that national goal.’ SpectraWatt has completed construction of its manufacturing facility in Hopewell Junction, New York and has begun initial cell production.
SOLAR: company news
Showa Shell Solar undergoes rebrand as it aims for 1GW international solar sales operation and a patented CIS technology which we have been developing for the last 17 years,’ he said. ‘The production process is shorter, we use fewer materials – none of which are toxic like cadmium or lead – and use less energy in production meaning we not only have a very competitive production cost but also a more environmentally friendly and recyclable product, with a shorter energy payback time.’ Showa CEO Shigeaki Kameda said that the company’s photovoltaic modules combine compelling economics and increasingly higher efficiency. ‘With this announcement we signal our commitment and capacity to set and
German company Concentrix Solar teams with Chevron for plant
Power generated at the New Mexico plant will be sold through a purchase agreement with Kit Carson Electric Cooperative
German solar system supplier Concentrix Solar has signed a contract with Chevron Technology Ventures for the deployment of a 1MW concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) power plant to be installed at a Chevron Mining facility in Questa, New Mexico, US. Chevron said the plant will use Concentrix Solar’s Flatcon technology and sell power through a power purchase agreement to the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative. ‘This commercial deployment is a key milestone for us and our US strategy. It is an important reference for our technology, and the next logical step considering the outstanding performance demonstrated at our Spanish power plants,’ said Concentrix Solar CEO, Hansjörg Lerchenmüller. ‘With their high direct normal irradiance and their high energy demand, the south-western states of the US are perfectly suited for our CPV technology. Our Flatcon technology’s high-precision, two-axis tracking system helps utilities to match US peak power demands.’ Chevron added that it is planning new investments to further expand its business in the south-west of the US in the near future.
supply the new global standard for photovoltaic panels into the future, starting with the European and North American office expansions,’ Kameda said. The company’s production capacity will reach 1GW with the opening of its third plant in Miyazaki, Japan next year, which when complete, will be the world’s largest CIS production facility, at 900MW. A spokesperson said, ‘We will also open offices in Europe and North America this April as they both represent significant growth markets where we expect to see significant demand for our type of economically compelling and ecological products.’
Credit Agricole’s public services driven by solar
The Japanese solar arm of Showa Shell Sekiyu has undergone a rebranding with an aim to expand into the US and European markets as it aims for 1GW annual sales of its thin-film solar. Showa, to be called Solar Frontier going forward, said that it aims to establish bases in Munich and California in April to facilitate the sales and delivery of its proprietary CIS solar panels. A company spokesperson said that it had chosen to focus on CIS because of its efficiency and the relative low-cost of its production. ‘Solar Frontier has been developing solar panels for the last 30 years. We have our own research and development
Global financial services group Credit Agricole said its public services and environmental business were driven up by the development of solar energy. Credit Agricole said it strengthened its positions in factoring and in lease finance in France for both equipment and property. In lease finance, the company reported robust business momentum, with a 10.7 per cent advance in outstandings to €17.6bn, including rises of over nine per cent in France and five per cent internationally on a like-for-like basis. Polish equipment company Europejski Fundusz Leasingowy (EFL), in which Credit Agricole has a controlling stake, took an 11.8 per cent hold of the market, said the investment bank. The financial services firm added that its Italian subsidiary Credit Agricole Leasing Italia is expanding rapidly. Credit Agricole said in the difficult economic and financial climate that has prevailed over the past two years 2009 was a year of recovery in which it repositioned itself across all business lines.
SOLAR: COMPAny newS
Mitsubushi plans expansion of PV solar business
Global electronics heavyweight Mitsubishi Electric has completed construction of a new photovoltaic (PV) cell production facility at its Nakatsugawa Works Iida Factory in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, the PV Cell Plant 2. The company said it will raise its annual PV cell production capacity by 50MW to 270MW by March 2011, and ultimately plans to reach an annual capacity of 600MW at an early stage in response to an increased global PV demand. The introduction of new PV-related stimulus programmes in Japan, feed-intariff systems spreading in Europe and projected growth in the North American market are expected to boost the global PV market from standing at 5,550MW in fiscal 2009 to approximately 8,000MW in fiscal 2012. Mitsubishi Electric said it plans to install new equipment at its Iida Factory to manufacture monocrystalline silicon PV cells, with production expected to start by March 2011. New production lines for the manufacture of monocrystalline silicon PV modules are also planned for Mitsibushi’s Nakatsugawa Works Kyoto Factory in Kyoto Prefecture. The corporation said it also plans to develop highly efficient monocrystalline silicon PV cells, utilising the technologies it used to achieve conversion efficiency of 19.3 per cent in polycrystalline silicon PV cells and incorporate them into its future PV modules. Raising its monthly PV inverter production capacity at its Nakatsugawa Works by 50 per cent to 6,000 units in May 2010 is another goal Mitsubishi said it hopes to achieve. Mitsubishi Electric – which recorded consolidated group sales of ¥3,665.1bn ($37.4bn) in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2009 – opened its PV plant at Nakatsugawa Works Iida Factory in 1998 and opened a lead-free solder module production line in January 2003, increasing total annual production capacity up to 135MW in April 2005.
German renewable energy company juwi eyes Americas
juwi plans to increase its American wind business in the coming year
The 2009 turnover of renewable energy project development firm juwi was dominated for the first time by its international business, instead of domestic activity in Germany and revealed plans to increase its American wind business in the coming year. Ralf Heidenreich, spokesperson for juwi, said that the company plans to expand further into the Americas in 2010, as it moves from its traditional solarbase in Germany to a more diversified, international portfolio. ‘We think the Americas are the most important market for renewable energy in the world at the moment, with strong potential especially in North America,’ Heidenreich said. He also cited South and Latin America as regions on the company’s radar going forward. ‘Latin and South America are very interesting for wind projects. For example, Costa Rica has conditions that are perfect. We also have a presence in Uruguay,’ Heidenreich said. He added that although Latin America has strong domestic renewable energy project developers, there are few international firms making in-roads in the region. ‘We are a medium-sized company and it is very unique that a company like us from Germany is active in these markets.’
Scheuten Solar expands German production Global photovoltaic (PV) manufacturer Scheuten Solar has expanded its production line in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, with an additional 60MW of capacity. The company said the extension is a reaction on the increasing demand for its PV modules and that the expansion doubles its total production volume in 2010 compared to 2009. With the purchase of a multi-level laminator and new generation stringers, Scheuten has extended its capacity to 120MW and expects to have a total production capacity of approximately
200MW by the second half of 2010. ‘With this state-of-the-art expansion, we were able to maximise the efficiency of the new line and we doubled our production volume in 2010 compared to 2009. Now we are able to secure a constant flow of our high quality and very reliable PV modules to our customers in Europe,’ said Bart Kempen, COO of Scheuten Solar. Established in 2000 with its head office in Venlo, the Netherlands, Scheuten designs and manufactures PV solar modules, achieving a turnover of €467m in 2008.
SOLAR: company news
Applied Materials expands solar manufacturing capability in Taiwan
Made in Taiwan: The new facility is expected to build 100 new PV systems this year
cording to the company. Applied Materials has more than 800 employees in ten offices across Taiwan. In 2009, the country passed renewable energy legislation aimed at promoting the use of renewable energy and boosting energy diversification.
‘Applied Materials, a globally recognised company, is continuing to invest in Tainan and we will provide our full support to making the Center a great success,’ said Taiwanese Premier DY Wu. ‘This is an exciting time for Taiwan’s technology industry.’
Solar photovoltaic (PV) company Applied Materials has opened it newly expanded Tainan Manufacturing Center in Tainan, Taiwan. The 15,000 square metre facility reflects Applied’s desire to target thin-film solar PV customers in Asia, the company said. ‘The Tainan Manufacturing Center is one of our biggest investments in Asia and puts Taiwan at the centre of our display and solar equipment technology efforts,’ said Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO of Applied Materials. ‘Applied has a 20-year history of success in Taiwan and with this expanded center, we are setting a strong foundation for even greater success in the next 20 years. I would like to thank our customers, employees and the Taiwan government who helped make this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility possible.’ The Tainan Manufacturing Center is expected to build and ship about 100 new PV systems this year, a 400 per cent increase in shipments from last year, ac-
SunEdison to build Europe’s largest solar plant SunEdison, a division of MEMC Electronic Materials, has received final approval from the Italian government to develop and construct a 72MW photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant in Veneto in the north-eastern Italy. When completed, this is expected to be the largest PV solar power plant in Europe. Currently, the largest facility is a 60MW solar farm in Olmedilla, Spain, followed by a 50MW in Strasskirchen, Germany, built by MEMC through a joint venture agreement. Power generation will begin in the second half of 2010, with final completion expected by year-end, SunEdison said. SunEdison will jointly develop the project with financing partner Banco Santander. Additional financial partners are expected to join the project
for final ownership, according to the company. ‘SunEdison is focused on enabling the growth of global solar markets through strong capabilities in project finance, engineering, low-cost procurement and operations and maintenance services,’ said Carlos Domenech, president of SunEdison. ‘Veneto is taking decisive action to advance the use of clean, renewable energy sources,’ added Renzo Marangon, government official of the Veneto region. ‘At the same time, this project is expected to create over 350 local construction jobs and build expertise in advanced energy technologies. We expect Rovigo to serve as a European model for large-scale, alternative energy projects.’
Bergamo announces $500m Lebanese solar power projects Listed energy developer Bergamo Acquisition has announced a new, $500m solar power project for the Republic of Lebanon. Under the terms of the agreement,
the Lebanese government will provide 100 per cent of the project’s total finance package. In October of last year, Bergamo said it received a $1bn sovereign
guarantee from the government of Pakistan for a 544MW clean coal plant and a series of solar projects, to be developed by its subsidiary Bergama E & A.
SOLAR: COMPANY News
Oneworld Energy to build Solar Manufacturing Hub Through its subsidiary COU Solar, Canada-based diversified renewable energy company Oneworld Energy is working with a number of its solar manufacturing partners to develop a Solar Manufacturing Hub in Welland, Ontario, Canada. The company said the development is designed to meet the government of Ontario’s domestic content requirements under the Ontario Green Energy Act 2009. Foreign-based companies that are considering locating in the Welland Solar Manufacturing Hub include manufacturers of photovoltaic solar modules, inverters and racking systems for ground and roof-mounted photovoltaic solar power plants. The government of Ontario recently enacted the Green Energy Act 2009, which includes North America’s first feed-in-tariff programme for various forms of electricity production, including solar, requiring that 50 per cent of the cost of a solar project be comprised of Ontario domestic content in 2010.
GE plans to focus R&D on thin-film PV technology General Electric (GE) has announced plans to focus research and development efforts on thin-film photovoltaic technology, in conjunction with PrimeStar Solar, to meet consumers’ demands for efficient, low-cost solar modules. GE will work closely with PrimeStar, in which it is a majority investor, at PrimeStar’s Colorado headquarters. Researchers are specifically focusing on four key areas in hopes of developing a best-in-class technology, GE said. These areas include device efficiency, reliability, production and installation costs and manufacturability. GE’s resources will be taken advantage of over the course of the project, with operations in Germany, China, India and the US.
Solar market posts mixed results for 2009
Silver lining for solar sector?
In a month which saw a number fullyear reports flooding into the market, the outlook for solar module and fuel cell manufacturers in 2010 looks mixed, with many still building up defences against the ongoing economic turbulence. A standstill in financing, lower power prices and upcoming changes to government incentive schemes all hit solar firms with even those that recorded forecasts seeing a write-down in their share prices because of a lack of certainty over sales in the coming year. German solar installation manu-
facturer SolarWorld fared better than most, posting profits above forecasts and increasing revenues on 2008 up to €1.013bn, from €900.3m. But this wasn’t enough for its share price not to take a dip following the results, as the company would not commit to a previous Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S/ forecast of €1.243bn and purely said it would exceed this years total. Not jumping quite so high in revenues, but coming in favourably was Iberdrola Renovables that countered a decline in domestic power price with a strong US growth.
Chinese solar market may soak up European excess capacity An emerging Chinese solar market may help reduce excess global capacity as many European countries struggle to sustain their businesses models in the face of changing government incentives and regulatory environments. Michael McNamara, clean technology equity analyst at investment banking group Jefferies, said welcome demand is being created in China, but such growth is also encouraging Chinese firms to further produce solar products. ‘He said, however, that international firms will struggle to access the market and undercut the low production prices
of domestic firms. Earlier this year, China set out a ten-year plan to boost its renewables sector, according to a report in the China Daily, where it pledged to invest billions in the construction of solar, wind and nuclear plants. In a recent report, China was shown to have taken the taken the top spot as the country with the highest level of investment in clean energy industries overtaking the US for the first time, cording to a report by the Pew Charitable Trust. In 2009, China invested $34.6bn, nearly double that of the US.
SOLAR: company news
Energy company Chevron has initiated project Brightfield, a demonstration of nextgeneration solar energy technologies in Bakersfield, California. The project, created on the site of a former Chevron refinery, is designed to evaluate seven emerging photovoltaic technologies. The former refinery site has been repurposed to test the performance of six emerging thin-film technologies and one emerging crystalline-silicon photovoltaic technology, which were provided by independent solar companies. ‘By bringing together seven emerging solar technologies, project Brightfield represents one of the most comprehensive solar energy tests of its kind and is an innovative approach to evaluating new technologies,’ said Des King, president of Chevron Technology Ventures. ‘Testing competing technologies side-by-side means that we can better understand their potential application at other Chevron facilities.’ Chevron said the 7,700 solar panels on the eight acre site will generate approximately 740KW of electricity, which will be directed to the local utility grid as well as to Chevron’s oil production operations at the Kern River Field. Bruce Johnson, vice president of Chevron’s San Joaquin Valley Business Unit said, ‘The Brightfield solar demonstration facility is a clear example of Chevron’s efforts to find ways to integrate innovative technologies into our business.’ Each of the companies demonstrating technologies including thin-film developers Abound Solar, MiaSole, Schuco, Solar Frontier, Sharp, Solibro, and crystallinesilicon technology developer Innovalight can compare its performance against a benchmark solar technology installed on the site, said Chevron.
Global solar capacity reaches 15,000MW led by Chinese growth Global solar installations totalled 15,000MW at the end of 2008 with Chinese production sky-rocketing to five times the output of the US, according to figures released by the Earth Policy Institute (EPI). Government subsidies led Germany to be at the forefront of production with 5,308MW of installed capacity, followed by Spain with 3,223MW, Japan with 2,149MW and the US with 1,173MW, the study said. ‘Although this technology for converting sunlight into electricity was developed in the US, Japan took an early lead in production, surpassed only in recent years by China and Germany,’ it said. Rooftop solar water and space heaters that directly convert sunlight into heat have been embraced in a number of countries but nowhere so much as China, the EPI said. ‘With nearly 80,000 thermal megawatts of capacity, enough for 27
Suniva commissions India’s largest solar power installation US manufacturer of high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and modules, Suniva, has commissioned its largest solar power installation from Titan Energy Systems to be built in Karnataka, India. The 3MW ground-mounted system, designed and deployed by Titan and owned by Indian power provider Karnataka Power Corporation, is the largest grid-connected solar field in India, covering more than 12 acres. Karnataka Power will distribute power generated by the new system to local farmers for irrigation purposes. Karnataka Power also owns a number of renewable power plants including the country’s first hydroelectric power station that was opened in 1902, and one of India’s first wind power projects. Titan designed the 3MW solar project incorporating Suniva’s highefficiency ARTisun series solar cells while providing engineering, procurement and construction services.
Chevron evaluates next generation technologies
Suntech to supply Taiwan’s largest solar plant
China’s uptake of solar installations outstrips other nations
million homes, China accounts for twothirds of the world’s 120,000 thermal megawatt capacity. Turkey comes in at a distant second with 7,100 thermal megawatts. In per capita terms, Cyprus and Israel lead the list with 0.9 and 0.7 square metres, respectively,’ it said. New solar thermal power projects, which use mirrors to concentrate sunlight on a liquid-filled vessel to produce steam that drives a turbine, are also becoming more central to solar production, the report found.
China-based NYSE-listed crystalline silicon photovoltaic module-producer Suntech Power Holdings is set to supply solar panels for what it said will be the biggest solar power plant in Taiwan. Owned and operated by the Taiwan Power Company and developed by Fortune Electric Co, the new 4.7MW solar plant in Young’an, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, will nearly double the island’s current installed solar capacity of about 5MW. ‘We chose Suntech modules for superior performance and reliability, as seen in utility-scale installations across Asia, Europe, and the Americas,’ said Liao Wen Sing of energy company Fortune Electric.
wind: DEAL News
Terra-Gen closes $394m deal for Alta Wind project
Mitsubishi commits £100m to UK offshore project
US energy group Terra-Gen Power has closed a $394m financing round for its 150MW Alta Wind I project located in Tehachapi, California. The new financing includes a sevenyear construction and term loan, a bridge loan to the ITC cash grant from the US Department of Energy, and ancillary credit facilities, according to Terra-Gen. The company said it intends to use the proceeds of the financing to complete construction of the 150MW project, and to repay the pre-construction financing which closed in July 2009. Credit Agricole CIB and Natixis, New York branch acted as co-bookrunners and co-structuring leads for the financing. The lender group also includes Union Bank, Prudential Investment Management, Cooperatieve Centrale RaiffeisenBoerenleenbank (Rabobank Nederland) and Banco Santander. Terra-Gen has 831MW in operation across 21 renewable energy projects. and Balfour Beatty and will begin delivering energy to SCE in early 2011.
Japanese engineering firm Mitsubishi is to enter the UK offshore wind market with a £100m investment agreement signed with the government. An additional sum of up to £30m will also be supplied by the UK government to fund the research and development wind turbine project that will see Mitsubishi Power Systems Europe create about 200 jobs. The memorandum of understanding is the first step towards the production of wind turbines for the next generation of offshore wind farms, the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change said. The funding will come from the £950m Government’s Strategic Investment Fund. Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, together with Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband also announced new funding of £18.5m for an offshore wind test site in the north-east of England. The site, off the coast near the New and Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth, will act as a technology and development platform for the next generation of large multi-megawatt offshore wind turbines and add weight to the government’s support for a blade test facility to assess wind turbines of up to 100 metres in length. Miliband said the decision by Mitsubishi is a sign that the UK is starting to turn its leadership in offshore wind generation into leadership in manufacturing. ‘We have the wind resource and we now have an industry that is really starting to grow. This is possible because of our domestic market and our commitment to support companies that locate here. It is another step to turning Britain into a leading green manufacturing centre,’ he said. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries’ ship building division has been interested in entering the offshore wind installation market as well as the operation and maintenance vessel market.
Suzlon receives 52.5MW wind turbine order from GSP India’s largest wind turbine manufacturer Suzlon Energy Ltd (SEL) has won a major order from Gujarat State Petronet Ltd (GSPL) to set up, operate and maintain its 52.5MW wind energy project in the Rajkot and Porbandar districts of Gujarat. The project is scheduled to be completed and commissioned by July 2010. The power generated from this project will be purchased by energy company Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam under a long-term power purchase agreement with GSPL. Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation Ltd, the parent company of GSPL, has an existing wind power project of 52.5MW in the Kutch district of Gujarat supplied, set-up and operated
India’s Suzlon to supply GSP
by Suzlon since July 2009. This new project will take the group’s overall wind power installed capacity to 105MW, all in the state of Gujarat. The process to register existing wind power project with the UNFCC under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) programme is already initiated,
and will also be followed for the new project. Ashok Dosa, president, South Asia and Middle East, Suzlon, said, ‘GSPL is a leading player in developing energy transportation infrastructure in Gujarat and this repeat order, after the successful execution of the first project for the parent company GSPCL, is an endorsement of our customer’s trust in Suzlon’s technology, services and capabilities. We acknowledge with gratitude the confidence reposed by GSPL in Suzlon and look forward to strengthening our relationship with the group.’ Suzlon’s Kutch wind park in Gujarat is among the largest in Asia with current installed base of over 800MW and growing.
wind: DEAL news
Spanish renewable energy company Acciona Energy has won a €450m contract to construct and operate three wind parks in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, beating rivals Iberdrola Renovables and Elecnor. Construction will begin in the second half of the year, with the plants expected to come into operation in 2011, and capacity will total 306MW. Acciona’s stategic plan for the run up to 2013 includes a wind power implementation objective The deal accounts for 12.7 per cent of the wind power cement production plants across implementation objective to 2013 Mexico. stated in Acciona’s recently announced Acciona’s strategic plan sets out strategic plan, it said. the construction of 2,400MW of wind The company already has one wind power over between 2010 and 2013. park in operation in Mexico that it said The wind parks awarded through has good wind potential and will enthe government’s call for tender are sure a profitable return on investment. Oaxaca II, Oaxaca III and Oaxaca IV, The nearby 250.5MW Eurus facility, which each have a capacity of 102MW the largest wind power installation in and are located in the Isthmus of Latin America in terms of installed Tehuantepec region. capacity, delivers electricity to Cemex
NRG Energy to acquire 101MW South Trent wind farm in Texas NRG Energy is to purchase the South Trent wind farm near Sweetwater, Texas. The 101MW wind farm, which came online in January 2009 and consists of 44 Siemens 2.3MW wind turbines. ‘South Trent is a proven performer and, as a renewable asset with a long term sales agreement with a highly credible offtaker, is indicative of the type of renewable project in which we are looking to invest in our core markets,’ said David Crane, NRG president and CEO. ‘We will continue to look both to develop and acquire contracted land-based and offshore wind projects as well as solar and other sustainable technology-based assets where it makes sense as we expand our clean energy portfolio.’
AEP Energy Partners has a 20-year power purchase agreement for all of the generation from the site. On successful conclusion of the acquisition, South Trent will become the fourth plant in NRG’s onshore wind portfolio. NRG owns and operates the 120MW Elbow Creek wind farm near Big Spring, Texas and the 150MW Langford wind farm near San Angelo, Texas. NRG is also a 50 per cent owner of the 150MW Sherbino wind farm near Fort Stockton, Texas operated by BP Alternative Energy, North America. In January this year, NRG Energy sold its terrestrial wind development company, Padoma Wind Power, to Enel North America.
First Wind receives $11.7m loan from US for wind project US wind energy company First Wind has been awarded a $117m loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy (DOE) to finance the build of a 30MW Kahuku wind project in Hawaii. The project, as part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, will generate enough electricity to power approximately 7,700 homes each year and is in the final permitting stages, First Wind said. Construction of the project, which will include an energy storage system, will begin once approval from the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission is received and the DOE funding is in place. Hawaiian Electric Company executive vice president Robbie Alms said the funding is a positive step in adding to the area’s portfolio of renewable energy sources. ‘First Wind brings demonstrated wind farm experience to this project and we welcome the opportunity to work with them to help meet our state’s critical clean energy goals,’ Alm said. The Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative aims to have 70 per cent of the state’s energy for electricity and ground transportation come from clean energy by 2030. The company will incorporate a 10MW per hour battery energy storage system to enhance load stability developed by US-based Xtreme Power, which will store energy and provide 10MW of power for at least an hour during periods of low wind speeds. Xtreme Power and First Wind have also announced a collaboration for the development of both the proposed Kahuku project and the 30MW Kaheawa Wind Project on Maui. The Kaheawa wind project consists of 20 GE wind turbine generators, supported by a 1.5MW Xtreme PowerT energy storage and power management system.
Acciona wins €450m deal for Mexico wind facility
wind: DEAL News
Low Carbon Accelerator looks to cash in on UK incentives with Vigor For solar projects, the incentives are available for 25 years and 20 years for wind. Vigor managing director Oliver Hughes said the FIT has created a wealth of opportunity for renewable energy developers in the UK. ‘We are pleased that LCA, as a pioneer in cleantech investment, has recognised this opportunity and the return potential for investors and for property and land-owners,’ Hughes said. ‘We’ve seen a significant number of renewable energy opportunities across the UK. There’s no reason why farmers and commercial property owners can’t become small-scale power producers in their own right.’ Chris Simpson, chairman of small-
EU money supports wind connection
Iberdrola acquires rights to build 400MW offshore German wind farm
The European Commission has allocated more than €903m to electricity interconnection projects as part of its broader European Economic Recovery Plan, injecting new impetus into long standing electricity grid development plans within the EU. Nine projects received funding, including an interconnection between France and Spain. ‘Despite the importance of this connection, which will allow Spain to exchange more electricity with other European countries and ensure interconnectivity between continental Europe and the Iberian peninsula, the project has suffered continual setbacks since its conception in the 1980s,’ said Paul Wilczek, regulatory affairs advisor for renewable energy group the European Wind Energy Association. ‘This funding is a great boost for the integration of wind power in Europe and will improve the operation of Europe’s electricity markets and benefit consumers,’ he added.
scale wind manufacturer Proven Energy which is also part of LCA’s portfolio, has been appointed chairman of Vigor. The company said it is in negotiation on options for more than 15 sites including agricultural plots for smallscale wind projects and industrial sites for solar projects based on land and roof space. Its first project is scheduled to begin in mid-2010, Vigor said, with each project likely to take between three and six months to complete, from site identification to power generation. LCA CIO Dr Steve Mahon said Vigor should provide long-term stable income from each of its projects in a relatively short space of time.
AIM-listed investment firm Low Carbon Accelerator (LCA) has invested £500,000 in wind and solar power project developer Vigor Renewables in order to cashin on UK feed-in tariffs (FITs). Vigor is a new company formed to take advantage of changes to UK FITs, which aims to partner with land-owners, as well as commercial property owners and managers, to build and operate renewable power generating assets across the UK. Each of the solar and wind energy sites will be designed to qualify for the FITs which came into effect in the UK on 1 April 2010 and guarantee an inflation linked income for sub-5MW renewable energy projects.
Global wind company Iberdrola Renovables has bought 100 per cent of the rights to build the Ventotec Ost 2 offshore wind complex in the German zone of the Baltic Sea from a German joint venture between DEE Deutsche Erneuerbare Energien (Deutsche Bank Group) and Ventotec (GHF-Group). The Ventotec Ost 2 offshore wind complex is Each of the wind turbines will generate 1.2GWh currently an advanced stage of the authorisation procedure and is expected to be commissioned by 2014, said Iberdrola. Each of the wind farm’s 80 5MW wind turbines will generate 1.2GWh, the company added. Ventotec Ost 2 is located in the northern part of the priority wind area known as Westlich Adlergrund, 40km from the nearest coastline, the island of Rügen, where the average depth of the water is approximately 39 metres. The German government has set a target of obtaining at least 10,000MW from this technology by 2020, of which Iberdrola said it expects to obtain a significant market share. This year Iberdrola was awarded the rights to build the 7,200MW London Array offshore wind farm in the UK, with Vattenfall. The company said that it is currently developing projects amounting to 12,000MW all over the world.
wind: deal news
Financing for renewable energy projects will be available for well structured projects but will not recover to pre-credit crunch levels, RES UK and Ireland COO Gordon MacDougall said, as the company announced a £76m funding package through the European Investment Bank (EIB). Lloyds Banking Group and BNP Paribas have established a portfolio facility through the EIB Intermediated UK Onshore Wind Scheme for the 48MW Hill of Towie wind farm in Moray, Scotland, in the first large-scale project to receive funding under the programme. MacDougall said he hopes the transaction will bring renewed confidence to a still nervous market. ‘I think what we will see as developers is that the banks wont necessarily be throwing money at projects at the same levels as it was pre-credit crunch. I think we will all have to work harder and we will all have to structure our projects well,’ MacDougall said. ‘Funding will be available for the right projects that are properly developed. The banks will be looking for experienced and successful track records, which will need to be robustly demonstrated much more now than in the past when they were prepared to back companies with less experience.’
Wind investor UpWind Solutions raises $28.8m in second funding round Oregon, US-based wind asset management service provider UpWind Solutions, has raised $28.8m in a second round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), joined by return backer MissionPoint Capital Partners. Upwind said the financing provides it with additional growth capital that will enable the company to continue to build upon its technical capabilities and pursue compli-
mentary business lines to enhance its current service offering. ‘We are excited to bring KPCB on board as our new partner in UpWind. Their investment in UpWind is a strong endorsement of the company’s business model of focusing on top quality performance for UpWind’s customers,’ said Mark Lewis, partner at MissionPoint Capital and founding shareholder in UpWind.
Endesa, Enel reach deal to combine renewable assets European energy companies Endesa and Enel have agreed to pool their renewables businesses in Spain and Portugal under a single entity. Endesa currently carries out its renewable energies activities in Spain and Portugal through Endesa Cogeneración y Renovables, wholly-owned by its subsidiary Endesa Generación, while EGP through its wholly-owned subsidiary Enel Green Power International BV (EGPI BV) carries out its renewable energies projects in Spain and Portugal through its 50 per cent stake in Enel Unión Fenosa Renovables (EUFER), a joint controlled entity with Gas Natural. The transaction will allow both companies to manage and develop all their renewable assets in Spain and Portugal through a single platform, according to a statement. The deal includes the acquisition, by EGP of 30 per cent of ECYR from Endesa Generación for €326m. It also includes a capital increase at ECYR fully subscribed by EGP through the contribution in kind of its participation of 50 per cent of the ordinary shares of EUFER and a further cash contribution of €534m, EGP finally achieving 60 per cent of the new share capital of ECYR. The new company will have, once fully integrated, 1.4 GW of renewable energy. This comprises 88 per cent wind, four per cent mini hydro; one per cent photovoltaic; and seven per cent CHP and biomass.
Developers will work hard for financing in 2010, RES says
Elia to buy Vattenfall’s German grid for €810m, targets offshore wind Belgium transmission system operator Elia and infrastructure investor Industry Funds Management (IFM) have agreed to purchase Nordic electricity generator Vattenfall’s German transmission grid for €810m. The company said it will work to ensure reliability of supply as offshore wind installations get added to its energy network. Under the agreement, IFM will own 40 per cent of 50Hertz Transmission and Elia will have operational control with a 60 per cent stake. Elia CEO Daniel Dobbeni said both
networks are major links for the European power system, which will need to ensure constant supply as variable renewable energy supplies are added going forward. ‘For 50Hz transmission this translates into removing bottlenecks and integrating renewables as a major priority while Elia is focusing on managing transit flows and increasing capacity for future offshore wind energy,’ Dobbeni said at a press conference about the deal. ‘Working together, Elia and 50Hertz, towards regional reliability for networks
given the massive penetration of variable energy sources such as wind has become a major neccesity for our region,’ he said. Dobbeni also said transmission system operators need to remain attractive to both public and private investors and this deal should improve shareholder value. The transaction, which is expected to close in the second quarter of 2010, is subject to approval from the EU’s competition authorities and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.
wind: company news
Australian policy change puts wind projects back in picture Australia has set a target of 20 per cent of renewable energy generation by 2020 but its renewable energy target (RET) scheme, which rewards investors with renewable energy certificates (RECs), has been largely criticised. Problems have stemmed from there being too many RECs derived from small installations in the market, which has driven down their price and halted investment into larger renewable projects. These problems had led AGL to state in its interim results earlier today that it was putting its renewable projects, including the proposed AUD$800m ($712m) Macarthur wind farm, on the back-burner. ‘In light of current regulatory and market conditions in relation to RECs, AGL has put consideration of investments in the Macarthur wind farm in Victoria, and most of its wind farm development op-
NS Power seeks approval for $27.8m investment in RESL
Daewoo chooses Nova Scotia for wind turbine production plants
Canadian electricity generation and transmission company Nova Scotia Power has formally applied for approval of its agreement to partner with Canadian wind power developer Renewable Energy Services Limited (RESL) to ensure a wind farm planned for the Strait area in Cape Breton comes online as scheduled this year. Nova Scotia Power has requested that the Utility and Review Board approves a $27.8m investment in the company. Under an agreement announced last month, RESL will continue to build and operate the wind farm while Nova Scotia Power will purchase 49 per cent of a 22MW wind farm to be built at Point Tupper, following a long-term contract the company signed in February 2008 to buy energy from the wind power plant.
portunities, on hold,’ it said. But a move by Wong to split its RET scheme into two sections – the first covering small-scale renewable energy schemes and the latter now called the large-scale renewable energy target (LRET) – made AGL reverse its earlier announcement. ‘The LRET, covering large-scale renewable energy projects like wind farms, commercial solar and geothermal, will deliver the vast majority of the 2020 target. This will free these projects from uncertainties that may have been caused by strong demand for small-scale renewable technologies,’ a statement by Wong said. AGL’s revenue for 2009 was up 6.9 per cent on last year’s figures at AUD$3.2bn ($2.85bn) with its underlying earnings at 52.4 cents per share, up 21 per cent.
Australia’s largest electricity retailer AGL said that changes to the government’s renewable energy policy will mean a U-turn in its earlier announcement today that it was to put its wind development projects on hold. Australia’s minister for climate change Penny Wong recently announced that the government is looking to hit the majority of its renewable targets from power generated by large scale products, which will be freed from previous uncertainties due to new changes in the legislation. ‘The government has announced the forecasted changes to the legislation today and this has put a lot of investment back into the frame for us,’ a spokesperson for AGL said, as it announced 2009 profits of AUD$234.8m ($209m), up 22 per cent on the corresponding period for the previous year.
South Korea-based industrial group Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has chosen Nova Scotia, Canada, for its North American production centre for wind turbine towers and blades. The operation will be located in Trenton, Pictou County, and is expected to be operational by autumn 2010. DSME will contribute $20.4m and will hold a 51 Nova Scotia Premier Darrel Dexter with Nam Sang-Tae, CEO per cent stake in the new and president of DSME venture, while the Province will contribute $19.6m and will hold 49 per cent of the common shares. The Province of Nova Scotia is also providing start-up financing, a loan for new equipment, working capital, and a loan to acquire land and buildings. ‘Nova Scotia is the right location for DSME as we plot our strategy to diversify into the wind energy sector,’ added Nam Sang-Tae, CEO and president of DSME. ‘We were attracted by Nova Scotia’s skilled workforce, efficient transportation systems, competitive costs and multiple energy sources, including wind, tidal and offshore.
Schuff Steel to focus on wind tower construction
Iberdrola creates offshore wind division in Glasgow
US steel fabricator Schuff Steel Company, subsidiary of Pink Sheets-listed steel fabricator Schuff International, is pursuing the possible construction of a new wind tower manufacturing plant in North Dakota, US. ‘After researching the renewable energy business in general, and specifically wind energy, we are convinced that we are seeing the emergence of a new industry. Wind tower manufacturing appears to be very synergistic with our core business of steel fabrication and erection,’ said Dennis Randall, executive vice president of Schuff’s Midwest Division. ‘We also feel that this new venture would require construction of a dedicated plant in close proximity to developing markets.’ Schuff selected Bismarck, North Dakota as the location for the potential plant and said plans would call for construction of a 200,000 square foot facility on 70 acres, capable of producing hundreds of towers annually. The company said it hopes to begin construction of the facility within a year but that there are a number of significant issues yet to be resolved, including project financing and finalising customer orders. Schuff’s proposed plant in North Dakota was recently selected as one of 133 projects eligible to receive a federal tax credit as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Clean Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit.
Spanish wind company Iberdrola Renovables has created a designated offshore wind division in Glasgow, Scotland, UK to develop a portfolio of offshore wind projects that totals close to 10,000MW around the world. The new division will be headed by Keith Anderson and incorporated into the company’s UK business unit, ScottishPower Renewables, which is also headed by Anderson, said Iberdrola. The company added that the division will have three departments including an operations branch, a business development branch and a commercial branch. Iberdrola said it is to develop one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world in the UK with capacity of up to 7,200MW in addition to another 2,500 MW elsewhere in Europe. It plans to invest €9bn between 2010 and 2012 to accelerate its international expansion, including €4.9bn in the US, €1.9bn in the UK, €1bn in Spain and €1.2bn in the rest of the world. The company was recently awarded the rights together with Vattenfall to build one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms in the UK, The East Anglia Array located in the North Sea off the coast of Norfolk, which will have a capacity of up to 7,200MW and is projected to commence construction in 2015. In addition, Iberdrola has offshore wind projects in Europe in Germany, Spain and the UK comprising an additional 2,500MW, including 1,700MW in the UK. In Spain, the company has applied to place zones under reserve for feasibility studies as prior steps to seeking permits for six projects off the coasts of Cádiz, Castellón and Huelva. Iberdrola recorded a net profit of €371.1m in 2009 and a gross operating profit of €1.325bn, driven by the international area which made up 54 per cent of the total. The company said it expects to maintain its rhythm of investments and increase operating profit by 20 per cent as a result of an additional 1,750MW in installed capacity to reach a total of 12,500MW.
Development completed of 51MW Texan wind farm US community wind developers OwnEnergy and Horn Wind have completed development of a 51MW wind power project in Texas. The two companies developed the project as a joint venture and have subsequently sold a majority stake in the project to a global renewable energy company. The Windthorst-1 project is located near Windthorst, Texas, just outside of Greater Dallas, Texas in the ERCOT North Zone. ‘We are pleased to announce the completion of Windthorst-1’s development,’ said Jacob Susman, OwnEnergy’s CEO. ‘This project is a tremendous example of how OwnEnergy’s development platform can facilitate community involvement and local entrepreneurship to develop renewable power. We are fortunate to be working with terrific partners on the project.’ Jimmy Horn, president of Horn Wind, added, ‘This is the first of five regional wind projects Horn Wind is
Jacob Susman, CEO, OwnEnergy
developing. Moving this project to the next stage allows Horn Wind to continue to grow and to support our local landowners and communities.’ OwnEnergy and its partners have 24 projects under development across 12 US states. Horn Wind is a regional developer located near Dallas, Texas. The company is currently developing five wind projects in the ERCOT North Zone.
wind: company News
wind: company NEWS
Chinese wind turbine plant in US to be built by Energy Generation Systems
The first wind turbine plant to be set up by a Chinese firm in the US will be constructed by Chinese wind turbine manufacturer A-Power Energy Generation Systems in co-operation with US partners. A-Power will build the production and assembly line in the US state of Nevada, which will have an annual capacity of 1.1GW and employ 1,000 local staff, in partnership with real estate developer American Nevada Group (ANC) and US Renewable Energy Group. The move is in contrast to other Asian renewable technology firms such as Sun-
Tech Power and Solar Frontier, which have recently invested in manufacturing plants on home soil. A-Power said it will arrange the financing of the costs of the site acquisition, construction and operation of the assembly facility from its own funds. Nevada’s skilled workforce, the closeness to major wind farm operators and the commitment of US senate majority leader Harry Reid to renewable energy in his home state were key factors in the choice of location, according to chairman and CEO Jinxiang Lu. ‘Senate majority leader Reid’s vision
for the development of clean energy industries in his home state, Nevada’s position relative to the major wind corridors, and the strength and sophistication of Nevada skilled workforce made Nevada the best option for our headquarters and assembly plant for North and South America,’ Lu said. In addition to the production and assembly being US-based, the group said most of the key wind turbine components will be made by domestic US manufacturers. Potential sites for the 320,000 square foot facility will be identified shortly by ANC, the company said.
Turbine manufacturer Gamesa considers UK factory and create a joint venture firm to Spanish turbine manufacturer sell turnkey solutions and proGamesa will decide on whether vide services to the offshore wind to set up a factory in the UK in power market. the next three to four months, The move may create new jobs according to recent reports. in the sector and revive UK proThe company is being urged duction of wind turbines following by energy giant Iberdrola, the shutdown of the country’s mawhich owns Scottish Power, jor manufacturing plant in August to set up a facility to serve the on the Isle of Wight by Vestas, domestic market. Iberdrola is urging Gamesa to set up a facility which resulted in 593 employees Gamesa recently signed an to serve the UK market being made redundant. agreement with German offshore Iberdrola has a 14 per cent stake wind specialist Bard to jointly develop and market offshore wind turbines and services. The in Gamesa and yesterday announced it is to invest $9bn in renewable energy over the next three years. agreement will see Gamesa take a minority stake in Bard
Sweden’s 02 Vind withdraws plans for €118m IPO Swedish wind power company O2 Vind has withdrawn its proposed listing on NASDAQ OMX, citing lack of investor interest as the reason behind the change in strategy. O2 Vind was expected to list on 22 March and anticipated a share price of between SEK65 (€6.7) to SEK85 (€8.8). ‘As the interest has not proved satisfactory to provide O2 with a broad shareholder base and to ensure a successful trading in the share after listing, we will now continue as a privately held and profitable company,’ a statement said. O2 Vind had hoped to raise up to €118.6m from the listing and was also planning to divest parts of its wind power projects and installed wind turbines. It has 37 wind turbines in operation in operation, with a
capacity of 74MW, and has a pipeline portfolio of a further 2,000MW, O2 Vind said. It has previously stated plans to double the current level of wind power in Sweden by 2015, and has so far developed one-fifth of the existing wind energy in the country. John Ihrfelt, CEO of O2 Vind, said, ‘With support of our shareholders, we will continue the development of wind power in Sweden, perhaps at a slightly lower pace.’ O2 is owned by investors Proventus Capital Partners and Foundation Asset Management as well as its founders and management. The proceeds from the offering were due to allow the company to begin construction of wind turbines with a capacity totalling 150MW.
wind: company news
Danish wind turbine producer Skykon Offshore, a subsidiary of Skykon, has signed a lease for ten per cent of Denmark-based Lindø Industrial Park’s total available area. Skykon Offshore said it is due to take over the leased 100,000 square metre area this autumn, which includes parts of the original shipyard facilities and a number of buildings for administration, workshop and painting hall for production of foundations for offshore wind turbines. ‘Our facilities are an incredibly good match for Skykon Offshore, and we are very happy that we got this lease agreement in place. With this agreement we have taken another significant step for the industrial park, and ensured the continuation of the extensive production at Lindø which has been of the highest priority for us,’ said Michael Nymark Hansen, head of
Lindø Industrial Park. Skykon Offshore said it will invest hundreds of millions of Danish krone in expanding its operations at Lindø and establishing another base for its production of foundations for offshore wind turbines. ‘We have for a long time had our eyes on Lindø for production facilities for offshore wind turbines,’ said Skykon’s CEO Jesper Øhlenschlæger. ‘With the conclusion of this agreement, we expand our production significantly and thereby firmly establish ourselves in the market as a producer of foundations for offshore wind turbines. The central location of Lindø in relation to projects both in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea has also been a major factor in our decision.’ The agreement is long term and will run for a minimum of ten years, said the company.
Turbine manufacturer AAER lays off 28 staff to preserve cash Canadian wind turbine manufacturer AAER has announced the temporary layoff of 28 employees in order to preserve cash. The redundancies will be in the operational and administrative positions, AAER said. In February, AAER signed a financing agreement with asset-based financing firm Finexcorp which it said was to ensure service to existing customers and the installation of new wind turbines under contract. It also received a CAN$5m loan from Investissement Québec. AAER did not provide further financial details or give guidance to how long the positions would remain unfilled. The company said it will continue to serve existing customers while proceeding with planning for the manufacture and erection of new wind turbines under contract.
China to prioritise offshore wind as pilot project gears up to launch
Deere considers strategic options for wind farm business
China will give top priority to developing offshore wind farms with its first pilot project expected to be operational in April, top officials said. The Shanghai East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm has a total capacity of 100MW, compromising 34 sets of 3MW Sinovel turbines. The government said it will put large-scale offshore wind power concession projects out to tender, according to China’s state Xinhua news agency. Shi Lishan, deputy director of the new energy and renewable energy department of the National Energy Bureau (NEB) said basic ideas and formalities for the tenders had been decided. Chinese wind manufacturers are investing heavily in the sector, according to the news agency, with China National Offshore Oil Corporation beginning the construction of a 1.1GW offshore wind farm in Weihai, in east China’s Shandong Province. In addition, China Power Investment Corporation, Longyuan Electric and Huaneng New Energy have begun to study offshore farms east of the Jiangsu and Shandong provinces. Chinese wind turbine producer Goldwind is expected to complete the construction of a plant to manufacture offshore turbines later this year. Earlier this year, China stated its plan to produce 15 per cent of its power from renewables by 2020, with wind power playing a major part. According to research by Danish consultancy MAKE, five of the ten biggest wind turbine manufacturers in the world are Chinese, with Sinovel and Goldwind ranked third and fifth respectively.
US wind farm owner Deere & Co said it is reviewing its strategic options for its wind business and has retained Goldman Sachs as exclusive financial advisor. The world’s largest manufacturer of tractors and harvesters said no formal decision had been made over the sale or long-term agreements for its wind energy projects that are operational or in development across the US. The company has 34 wind energy projects in seven states with operational capacity of 706MW. It also has numerous wind energy projects in development, it said. ‘Deere has been involved in the financing, development and ownership of wind energy projects for the past five years and has become a leader in financing wind energy projects in rural US communities,’ a statement said.
Turbine producer Skykon leases Danish industrial park
Bioenergy: deal news
Future Fuels investment product acquires UK biofuel plant site
Future Fuels, an investment product focusing on renewable transport fuel from alternative investment boutique Future Capital Partners (FCP), has acquired a site and planning permission consent for its industrial scale plant in Grimsby, England. The plant will produce both renewable transport fuel and a high protein animal feed product. Since Future Fuels was launched at the end of February, it has raised a further £10m from UK high net worth individuals, the company said. Future Fuels has also announced a 15year off-take agreement for its CO2 byproduct with a major gas supplier to the food and drinks market. The agreement follows previous signings with an unnamed investment bank for the purchase of the first ten years of fuel production
Tim Levy, CEO, Future Capital Partners
and with an animal feeds business to purchase the animal feed by-product across the same period. All products for the first ten years of the plant’s operating life are under take-or-pay contracts before the plant has been built, netting
a combined forecast income of over £1.5bn, the company said. The Future Fuels partnership expects to provide its investors returns of over 30 per cent per annum over a five to seven year period. It will be raising £40m equity, of which it has already secured over £15m (including a £3m investment from Future Capital Partners itself), and there will be a minimum investment of £50,000. A trade sale or IPO is targeted within five years of commissioning of the plant, according to Future Fuels. Tim Levy, CEO at Future Capital Partners said, ‘The Future Fuels is gathering momentum. This is a well thought out investment proposition put together by proven partners who have built and operated commercially functioning plants using proven technologies.’
BC Bioenergy invests $1.5m in waste to energy
Imperial Petroleum agrees to purchase US-based e-biofuels
BC Bioenergy Network, the provinciallyfunded, industry-led network supporting the bioenergy sector in British Columbia, Canada has invested $1.5m in the British Columbia-based International Composting Corporation (ICC) for a $7.7m project to convert municipal source separated organic waste into vehicle and aviation biofuels. The company said the project will be the first demonstration of the technologies in the world and will help to develop and support the renewable bioenergy and biofuels industry within the region. ‘Companies like the ICC who are finding new ways to turn waste into fuel are demonstrating why British Columbia is a leader in clean technologies,’ said Blair Lekstrom, British Columbia’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. The project also received $2.5m in support from the provincial Liquid Fuels from Biomass programme in April 2009.
US oil and natural gas production company Imperial Petroleum has signed an agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the stock of e-biofuels, an Indiana, US-based biodiesel producer with a production capacity of 15 million gallons per year. Under the terms of the agreement, Imperial will pay two million shares of its common stock and issue promissory notes of $3.5m to the owners of e-biofuels for full control of the company. The principal management of e-biofuels will remain in place and it will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Imperial following the close of the deal. The company currently has around $15m in debt and reported revenues of approximately $19.9m in 2009, including biodiesel sales of about seven million gallons. The company recently reported a net loss of $1.9m. ‘Through our research and development efforts over the last four years in the biofuels arena, we have developed some ground-breaking patented and proprietary process technology for the manufacture of biodiesel from waste oils high in free fatty acids and for the manufacture of bio-based jet fuels,’ said Jeffrey T Wilson, president of Imperial. ‘We believe our processes will significantly improve the economics of the e-biofuels plant. In addition, we have developed processes to produce renewable fuels that reduce harmful emissions when burned in boilers and stationary power generation equipment and we plan to enhance the e-biofuels operations with the addition of these products at that plant.’ Imperial, which is based in Evansville, Indiana, said it has executed a term sheet in connection with the acquisition of the company to bring new financing of up to $15m to enhance and expand the existing operations of e-biofuels by adding multiple product streams.
bioenergy: deal news
A team of researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park and Bowie State University has received a $3.2m, four-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Project to find ways to turn poplar trees into high-yield crops for biofuels. Using the recently completed poplar genome, the researchers are focusing on ways to improve the tree’s nitrogen processing capability, which will enhance its growth rate and feasibility for use in fuel production as an alternative to corn. ‘We need to develop an alternative crop that we use exclusively for Researchers are looking at ways of improving biofuels and not food,’ said Ganesh poplar trees’ nitrogen processing capabilities Sriram, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Maryland’s A James Clark School of Engineering. ‘What we want are trees like poplar that grow fast and efficiently so they can become the raw material for cellulosic biofuel. The carbon found in poplar could be converted into fuels just like the sugars we extract from corn.’ Enter poplar, also known as cottonwood or aspen, is already commonly cultivated for the production of paper and timber. Lead researcher and associate professor Gary Coleman said, ‘Growing trees doesn’t eat into farmland and trees don’t require a lot of maintenance during their growth cycle. A dedicated energy crop like poplar would contribute to the development of a sustainable and renewable energy system.’
Mission NewEnergy completes AUD$9m private placement Australian biodiesel refiner Mission NewEnergy has completed a private placement of AUD$9m ($7.9m). The placement of 30 million shares, conducted under the company’s 15 per cent placement capacity, was completed at a 14 per cent discount to the last traded price or AUD$0.30 ($0.26) per share. The placement represents an increase of around 5.6 per cent of Mission’s issued ordinary shares on a fully diluted basis. Chardan Capital Markets acted as lead placement agent to Mission in the transaction and Euro Pacific Capital acted as co-placement agent. Mission said it intends to use the additional
capital to primarily plant a further 50,000 acres of jatropha. ‘The highest return on investment for Mission is the planting of Jatropha acreage and the timing of this placement allows Mission to further expand during the 2010 jatropha planting season,’ said James Garton, head of corporate finance, M&A. Mission NewEnergy is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and has operations in Malaysia and India – including owning and operating a biodiesel plant at Kuantan in Malaysia and two wind energy turbines of 1.65MW each in India, which sell electricity to a Western Indian utility under a 13-year power purchase agreement.
Euro Environmental Services set up by UK equity specialist UK private equity buy-and-build specialist Sovereign Capital has acquired certain trading assets of Future Environmental Services in the first transaction for the recently-backed Euro Environmental Group, creating a UK provider of drain and sewer cleaning, inspection, surveying and repair services. Overall, Sovereign has committed total funding of £20m to Euro Environmental Group and said it is actively working with other geographically complementary businesses to deliver its buy-and-build strategy. Rod Spinks, CEO of Euro Environmental Group said, ‘In less than one week since we were backed by Sovereign, we are delighted to have achieved immediate critical mass in our growing market. We very much look forward to working together to further develop our combined presence throughout the UK.’ RBS has also provided funding to support Sovereign within the sector. Alan McCaskie, director of structured finance at RBS, added, ‘RBS is delighted to be supporting Rod and his team, who have established an enviable reputation in delivering environmental solutions across the UK. In Sovereign Capital, Euro Environmental Group has a financial sponsor with a demonstrable track record in buy-and-build strategies and RBS looks forward to assisting the management team and Sovereign in delivering their growth plan.’ As well as augmenting Euro Environmental Group’s national reach, Future Environmental Services brings expertise in flow monitoring and pipe lining capability to the group. ‘Future and Euro Environmental Group now have the opportunity to cross sell their capabilities amongst their diverse customer base and benefit from the scale of the combined group,’ said Andrew Hayden, managing partner at Sovereign. ‘We will support management to further grow the business and take advantage of the imminent regulatory investment cycle.’
NSF grants $3.2m funding for poplar tree-to-biofuel research
Bioenergy: deal news
Green Plains proposes public offering it does not currently have any binding commitments or definitive agreements to enter into potential acquisitions, it may also use a portion of the net proceeds to acquire or invest in additional facilities, assets or technologies consistent with its growth strategy. Jefferies & Company and Piper Jaffray & Company will act as joint book runners for the deal, with Impe-
Aurora Biofuels secures additional $15m in funding
Bridges Ventures leads green venture in Aero Thermal Group
Aurora Biofuels has secured an additional $15m in a recent funding round led by US venture capital firm Oak Investment Partners, alongside Gabriel Venture Partners and Noventi Ventures, bringing the total amount of money raised by the company to more than $40m. Aurora said the new funding will be used to support the continued path to commercialisation for its advanced algae biofuel technology. The company has also hired Scott McDonald, a veteran Silicon Valley executive, as its CFO, who brings a 25year history in executive management and planning and executing corporate strategy to the company.
UK investment group Bridges Ventures has led an investment with green venture capital investor Carbon Trust Investments into AeroThermal Group, a Dorset, UKbased developer of an autoclave-based steam treatment technology for waste. The company said that the investment from Bridges Ventures and Carbon Trust Investments will be used to build a full-scale AeroThermal advanced anaerobic digestion (AAD) system which provides biogas from waste, including municipal solid waste otherwise destined for landfills. Mixed raw waste is processed in a steam filled autoclave at high pressure, breaking down the cell structure of the organics by hydrolysis. This increases the proportion of waste available for anaerobic digestion, from which a methane-rich biogas is produced, which is then harnessed to generate green electricity. Waste heat is utilised within the system and the remaining recyclable material is sterilised and cleaned, enhancing its appeal to the recycling market. The anaerobic digestion market is growing, according to the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), which suggested that more than 100 million tonnes of waste feedstock is available each year for biogas production, which could provide between ten and 20TWh of heat and power.
Approval given for $20m GreenHunter Energy bond
Waste management firm Biffa to landfill gas business for £350m
US Renewable energy company GreenHunter Energy has received approval for a $20m bond financing from Imperial County, California, for its 18.5MW biomass facility. Proceeds of the bond financing will be to fund the cost of construction, refurbishment, installation and equipping of its existing biomass power generation facility located near El Centro, California. GreenHuner’s Mesquite Lake subsidary originally acquires the dormant biomass facility in May of 2007 for approximately $7.5m.
rial Capital and Stephens acting as co-managers. Green Plains Renewable Energy operates a total of six ethanol plants in Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska and Tennessee with annual expected operating capacity totalling approximately 480 million gallons. The company owns 51 per cent of biofuel terminal operator Blendstar, which operates nine facilities in the US.
NASDAQ-listed Green Plains Renewable Energy has proposed a public offering of five million shares of its common stock and granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 750,000 shares of common stock to cover over-allotments. The company said it intends to use the net proceeds of the offering for general corporate purposes and while
UK waste management group Biffa has put its landfill gas business up for sale at a price of £350m, according to recent news reports. The capital raised will be used to fund the build of advanced recycling plants across the UK. The company said that its strategy is based on transforming Biffa from a landfill operator and waste collection business to an energyfrom-waste business. It said it will achieve this strategy by focusing on technology and energy production while remaining active in recycling. With a total capacity of 100MW, Biffa is the UK’s second-largest landfill
gas generator after Infinis. In December of last year, the company lodged a formal planning aplication for an energy recovery facility in Leicestershire, UK. The proposed facility could generate 21MW of electricity, as well as being able to deal with Leicestershire’s residual waste. The proposed facility will utilise technology provided by thermal technology company Von Roll Inova, which has built nearly 400 energy recovery plants across the world. The system reduces the volume of waste that would otherwise go to landfill by up to 95 per cent, according to the company.
bioenergy: company news
If the operator of the UK’s largest power plant Drax was to go ahead with its cofiring plans, which have been the topic of debate this week, the move may kill investment into other forms of renewable technology. Plans to convert part of the North Yorkshire plant to co-burn biofuels and coal are currently on hold but if they do go ahead it could quell investments into UK wind and solar projects, according to Andrew Horstead, senior risk analyst at energy consulting firm Utilyx. ‘If Drax goes ahead that could potentially cover the whole of the UK’s renewable obligation and completely destroy investment into any other kind of technology,’ Horstead said. Drax, which burns 30,000 tonnes of coal largely derived from South Africa and Siberia each day, said it will finish building the co-firing equipment but will
not use it until the UK government ups its incentives. ‘Drax urges the Department of Energy and Climate Change to amend the 2009 order to either remove the co-firing cap or increase the cap to 17.5 per cent in the interests of maintaining the momentum for the delivery of carbon emissions reduction from the use of renewable biomass materials in power generation,’ the company said in a statement. Due to the low price of carbon permits at the moment it is cheaper for Drax to burn coal and buy extra permits than switch to the biofuel model. Making the move more uncertain for Drax is the fact the incentives it would receive by using biomass could fluctuate. ‘Biomass is the only area where grandfathering is still an issue where subsidies can change at any time,’ Horstead said.
ClearFuels to develop biorefinery facility for renewable synthetic fuel US biofuels developer ClearFuels Technology and wood processor Hughes Hardwood International have agreed to develop a new, commercial scale biorefinery facility for the production of renewable jet or diesel fuel. The renewable energy facility will be co-located with Hughes Hardwood’s wood component manufacturing facility in Collinwood, Tennessee. The company will supply 1000 dry ton per day of wood product for conversion into approximately 16 million gallons of synthetic jet or diesel fuel and four million gallons of naphtha per year, as well as approximately 8MW of excess renewable power. The project is currently expected to be operational by early 2014. BNP Paribas will act as financial advisor in connection with assisting and supporting ClearFuels in securing financing arrangements for senior secured debt for the project. According to ClearFuels, this is the first public confirmation of the company’s plans for developing a number of commercial projects using its integrated thermo chemical technology for biomass-to-renewable fuel production. Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen said, ‘Tennessee’s nationally recognised business climate and our demonstrated commitment to the clean energy industry create fertile ground for partnerships like this one between ClearFuels and Hughes Hardwood.’ Warren Davis, vice president of commercial development for ClearFuels, added, ‘Our agreement with Hughes Hardwood is a vitally important step in our commercial development process. All projects start with a site, a technology and dedicated teamwork from both community and development organisations.’ ClearFuels and its partners are developing advanced sustainable biorefineries that convert multiple mixed cellulosic biomass feedstocks into sustainable energy products including renewable Fischer-Tropsch diesel, jet fuel and ethanol.
Pulp industry increases biomass usage, report says The global pulp and paper industry has witnessed a rapid worldwide expansion in the use of biomass for its energy generation, according to a report by forest industry consultancy Wood Resources International. It found the annual consumption of biomass used for energy generation by the global pulp industry in 2009 was an estimated 75 million tons, with the biggest increases occurring across Latin America and Asia. Wood Resources International said mills in North America and Europe are still the largest users of biomass material, but numerous locations around the world have made the strategic decision to invest in the equipment needed to make the switch. ‘Not surprisingly, the leading biomass-consuming countries by volume are regions with large areas of forests including Canada, the US, Brazil and Sweden,’ the report said. ‘Perhaps somewhat unexpectedly, pulp mills in Finland, New Zealand, Australia, France and Germany have consumed fairly small volumes of biomass up until now.’ Global consumption of biomass increased by 51 per cent between 2006 and 2009, according to an analysis carried out in co-operation with FisherSolve, and as a percentage of total energy usage it increased to 18 per cent, up two per cent on the 2006 figure.
Drax’s switch to co-firing will ‘hurt UK renewables’
ESE rebranded as Renaissance BioEnergy Listed US renewable energy company ESE Corp is to change its name to Renaissance BioEnergy. Renaissance BioEnergy is a development stage renewable energy company that intends to deliver liquid waste management solutions to handle the disposal and destruction of packaged and bulk sugar and alcohol waste streams and to produce and sell ethanol fuel.
Bioenergy: COMPANY news
BlueFire seeks loan guarantee for Mississippi biorefinery US biofuel company BlueFire Ethanol Fuels has submitted an application for a $250m loan guarantee for the company’s planned cellulosic ethanol biorefinery in Fulton, Mississippi, US. The facility is a recipient of an award of up to $88m from the US Department of Energy (DOE), under the Energy Policy Act and the American Recovery Act. If approved, the loan guarantee will secure the financing for the remainder of the costs to construct the facility, the company said. It will produce 19 million gallons of ethanol per year from woody biomass, mill residue, and other forms of cellulosic waste. ‘We are very optimistic that the DOE will consider the enormous benefits of BlueFire Ethanol’s technology to convert
Policy needs to change to support sustainable growth of biofuels An urgent review of global biofuel policies is needed, with current targets over ambitious or unsustainable, according to a report by the International Energy Forum (IEA). The report, titled Biofuels: Potential and Limitations, said there is potential for biofuels to contribute usefully to energy security and climate protection, but is critical of first generation biofuels. ‘Within the first generation of biofuels, there is a clear consensus that only one is acceptable… this is ethanol produced from sugarcane in Brazil,’ it said. The authors of the report, Claude Mandil, former executive director of the IEA and Adnan Shihab-Eldin, former acting secretary general of OPEC, said first generation biofuels and most seriously those that use corn as feedstock, offer only marginal benefits to energy security and greenhouse gas mitigation.
BlueFire’s plant in Lancaster , California
cellulosic waste products into useable biofuels during this selection process,’ said Arnold Klann, CEO of BlueFire Ethanol. ‘Programmes like the DOE loan guarantee enable first-of-its-kind technologies to come to fruiting and ultimately help ease the US dependence on fossil fuels like petroleum, which is often
imported from hostile nations.’ The fully-permitted and shovel-ready Lancaster, California facility is BlueFire’s first US commercial plant. The facility will use post-sorted ellulosic wastes diverted from southern California’s landfills to produce approximately 3.9 million gallons of fuel-grade ethanol per year. In the engineering phase, BlueFire said it expects to have all necessary permits for its second commercial plant by the summer and be on a path to commence construction by the end of 2010. BlueFire Ethanol Fuels was established to deploy a commercially patented and proven concentrated acid hydrolysis technology process for the profitable conversion of cellulosic waste materials to ethanol, a viable alternative to gasoline.
Urgent review of biofuel policies: IEF Waste to energy technologies present a very different challenge to other renewable energy or resource efficiency proposition, according to international law firm Denton Wilde Sapte. The law firm stressed the challenges and opportunities involved in the transition to a cleantech economy. ‘In bringing together the diversion from landfill and low carbon power agendas, waste to energy has the potential to address two major sustainability issues with one
solution,’ a spokesperson said. ‘The challenge though is in the interface between two previously very separate and established sectors.’ The UK’s recently announced feedin tariffs and the recent amendments to renewables obligation legislation has led Denton Wilde Sapte to be increasingly advising corporates on waste-toenergy projects and regulatory issues, corporate partner and co-head of the climate change and renewables group Matt Bonass said.
Ekiti to construct cassava biofuel plant The Nigerian state of Ekiti has launched the construction of a third biofuel refinery, at Ipao-Ekiti in the Ikole local government area, according to reports. Reports suggest that the $23.3m integrated cassava-ethanol refinery will produce around 30,000 metric tons of fuel per year. The project will be completed in three phases, over 22 months, producing biofuel, biodiesel and bio-jet fuel. The latest inauguration follows two biofuel projects in the Ilemeso and Iyemero in Oye and Ikole regions of Ekiti. Brazilian engineering firm Engevix secured the contract for the Ilemeso ethanol plant.
bioenergy: company news
Biodiesel supplier Renewable Energy Group (REG) told NewNet the biofuels industry in the US has almost entirely ground to a halt since the lapse of the government tax credits took effect at the beginning of the year. This week the biodiesel producer applauded the US Senate’s approval of the extension of the $1-a-gallon tax credit for biodiesel, which expires at the end of 2009, and said it is vital to a successful energy policy. The Senate approved the bill, which provides a credit for each gallon of biodiesel produced, but the differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation will need to be reconciled and there is no fixed timetable for when the credits will return. REG corporate affairs coordinator Alicia Clancy said that all its nine plants in its manufacturing network have been negatively impacted by the loss of the tax credit since 1 January 2010. Clancy said biodiesel demand has
dropped significantly resulting in production reductions. She said pay cuts have been made at all the facilities REG owns and at the company’s headquarters. In addition, the two plants it manages, Western Dubuque and Iowa Renewable Energy, made the decision to lay off staff in the latter half of January, resulting in more than 20 full-time job losses. ‘Fortunately, REG did not have to lay off staff. However, the boards of directors at facilities we manage will be carefully monitoring the tax credit reinstatement timing to determine the best way to operate the facilities after the tax credits have been reinstated,’ Clancy said. The incentive, which originally came into force in 2004, had previously been automatically extended at the end of each year and helped the industry grow to 700 million gallons in 2008. The US also pledged domestic commitments through the Energy Independence and Security Act.
Imperium Renewables resumes production following explosion US biodiesel producer Imperium Renewables has restarted production at its Grays Harbor facility. The plant, which had paused production after a glycerin tank ruptured in December, is producing biodiesel from regionally-grown canola to meet demand from British A glycerin tank ruptured at Imperium’s Columbia and Oregon. Grays Harbor facility in December ‘We are thrilled to be producing again,’ said John Plaza, founder and CEO of Imperium Renewables. ‘We have replaced the damaged equipment and re-designed the glycerin neutralisation system to ensure such a rupture won’t happen again.’ Demand for biodiesel is increasing both regionally and nationally according to the company. Regionally, biodiesel mandates took effect on 1 January 2010 in British Columbia and in 2009 in Oregon. In February of this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued its ruling on the federal Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandates the consumption of 1.15 billion gallons of biodiesel nationally in 2010. The US Senate also recently invoked cloture on Baucus Substitute amendment to HR 4213, which among other things would provide a one year, retroactive extension of the biodiesel tax incentive which expired in December 2009.
Virent and Shell start biogasoline production plant Biofuel technology company Virent Energy Systems and oil major Shell have started production at the world’s first demonstration plant converting plant sugars into gasoline. The demonstration plant, located at Virent’s facilities in Madison, Wisconsin, US, is the latest step in a joint biogasoline research and development effort, announced by both companies in March 2008. The demonstration plant has the capacity to produce up to 38,000 litres (10,000 US gallons) per year, which will be used for engine and fleet testing. This new biofuel can be blended with gasoline in high concentrations for use in standard gasoline engines. The new product has the potential to eliminate the need for specialised infrastructure, engine modifications, and blending equipment necessary for the use of gasoline containing more than ten per cent ethanol, a statement said Virent’s patented technology uses catalysts to convert plant sugars into hydrocarbon molecules like those produced at a petroleum refinery. Traditionally, sugars have been fermented into ethanol and distilled. Virent claims that its fuel molecules have higher energy content than ethanol and deliver better fuel economy. They can be blended seamlessly to make conventional gasoline or combined with gasoline containing ethanol. The sugars can be sourced from nonfood feedstocks such as corn stover, wheat straw and sugarcane pulp, in addition to conventional biofuel feedstocks such as wheat, corn and sugarcane. The demonstration plant is currently using beet sugar, Virent said. ‘Moving from lab-scale to a demonstration production plant is an important milestone for biogasoline,’ said Luis Scoffone, vice president of alternative energies at Shell. ‘There is some way to go on the route to commercialisation, but we have been delighted with the speed of progress achieved by our collaboration with Virent.’
Industry in jeopardy without incentives, says US supplier
energy efficiency: DEAL news
energy efficiency news
Navigation Capital Partners buys Specialized Technical Services
data management technology to enhance a utility’s ability to manage its assets, like the electric grid, and expects to make additional acquisitions to expand the breadth of its service offerings and broaden its geographic reach. ‘We are excited about combining Rob’s background of selling to utilities and managing a large, distributed, field services workforce, with STS, which has established itself within the meter-services niche,’ said Mock. ‘With the added breadth of several additional target acquisitions, we can offer utilities and meter manufacturers the opportunity to partner with a solutions provider with substantially greater scale and capabilities than many of its competitors.’
US private equity firm Navigation Capital Partners (NCP) has acquired smart grid infrastructure upgrade provider Specialized Technical Services (STS). Navigation Capital said the acquisition of STS is the first in a series of planned acquisitions in support of its initiative to build a provider of value-added field and data management services to electric, water and gas utilities. NCP also engaged US investment banking firm TM Capital Corp to support the initiative. STS, based in Richmond, Kentucky, US provides contract meter reading; Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)-meter change outs and project management for mass meter
deployments; Automated Meter Reading (AMR)-meter retrofits; meter calibration; testing and other lab services designed to enhance a utility’s ability to monitor and manage its assets. NCP recently appointed Robert E Shively, who previously served as the president of SM&P Utility Resources and is a member of its executive-inresidence programme, as chief executive officer of STS. Managing partner of NCP, Larry Mock, and Shively will join the STS board of directors, along with NCP partner Eerik Giles and NCP operating partner Craig Kirsch. NCP said that it would help STS expand into a one-stop shop of field and
GIM makes $10m investment into GreenRoad
Carbon Trusts joins investor line-up with £3m commitment to Oxsensis
Links forged during GreenRoad’s previous fundraising process initially sparked its recent $10m deal with long-term investor Generation Investment Management, the driving safety technology company revealed. GreenRoad senior vice president, worldwide marketing, Eric Weiss said that GreenRoad saw instant parallels with the fund manager, which was cofounded by former US Vice President Al Gore and CEO of Goldman Sachs Asset Management David Blood. ‘We saw a great fit between GreenRoad’s strategy and the investment philosophy of Generation, particularly related to the relationship between sustainability and performance,’ Weiss said. GreenRoad recently deployed the first 5,000 out of 9,000 FirstGroup UK buses to use its service within 90 days. ‘This financing helps support this kind of growth while accelerating the development of new features that further improve driving behavior, cut crash costs and reduce fuel consumption,’ Weiss said.
UK clean energy investor Carbon Trust Investment has invested £3m in Oxsensis, which develops high temperature sensors, joining a group of existing investors that include venture capital firms Albion Ventures and Frog Capital. Oxsensis temperature sensors can be used in gas turbines to measure heat and pressure in extreme conditions where temperatures can reach more than 1000°C. Other investors in the UK-based firm include Seven Spires, the Rainbow Seed Fund and several high-net-worth individuals. Oxsensis technology offers the chance to increase energy efficiency by running turbines at higher combustion temperatures, lowering operating costs and reducing carbon emissions, it said. The funding will support business development and help Oxsensis to further extend its sensor technology and help it progress from development to full scale commercialisation, according to the company. CT Investment Partners managing
Investor interest hotting up for Oxsensis
partner Peter Linthwaite said Oxsensis has significant commercial and carbonsaving potential. ‘Oxsensis’s technology has strong customer validation and the company has made significant technical progress under the leadership of an impressive management team,’ Linthwaite said. Oxsensis CEO David Gahan said Carbon Trust joins an already strong line-up of investors. ‘Oxsensis technology is supporting developments across three critical carbon intensive industries and has the potential for significant impact,’ he said.
Energy efficiency: DEAL news
Energy storage technology developer Prudent Energy has secured $22m in a Series C financing round led by Chinese investment firm Northern Light Venture Capital. The funding, which the company said was over-subscribed, included participation from venture capital firm Sequoia Capital China. Existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and DT Capital also participated. The firm said the financing will go towards Prudent’s battery manufacturing operations, which relocated from Vancouver, Canada to Beijing, China in 2009. Prudent Energy president Tim Hennessy told NewNet there will be a general pullback in the energy storage space but the slowdown will not be as bad as previously anticipated. ‘Wind and the photovoltaic sector are primary aims for us, we will be looking at these two areas as our major thrust,’ he said. The global economic downturn which has stalled many large-scale renewable energy projects has been felt downstream in the energy storage
sector, Hennessy said, and cited the reduction in the Spanish market as particularly significant. ‘I certainly see margins as being squeezed and there is a lot more competition that has made those margins tighter. Going vertically down to the ancillary support services such as storage and smart grids, I think there will be a general pullback but it will be slower than people had originally envisaged.’ Prudent’s recent fundraising was oversubscribed, however, and led by investors in China, a particular area of focus for the firm since it switched its manufacturing base to Beijing last year. ‘We are not only going to be focusing on Chinese funding but it is going to be a big piece of it. There is a lot of money available in China and it is looking for a home that it believes will give it a very good return,’ Hennessy said. Prudent Energy has offices in Vancouver Canada, and in Beijing, China and operates as an energy storage technology developer, manufacturer and systems integrator.
ITM Power signs deal with Ballast for pilot energy storage Energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power has signed an agreement with Dutch construction and infrastructure development company Ballast Nedam Sustainability Services for a pilot project showcasing the potential of hydrogen energy storage technology. The Autarc project is a technologically-advanced floating office that is self-sustaining in both its water and electrical requirements. It will be sited at a number of varying locations around the world to demonstrate how a green home or office environment works based on hydrogen technology. ITM Power CEO Dr Graham Cooley said the project provides an opportunity to highlight the potential of energy storage technology.
ITM’s project hopes to showcase the potential of hydrogen energy storage
‘The agreement with Ballast Nedam Sustainability Services provides ITM with an excellent opportunity to showcase its energy storage and clean fuel technology in an off-grid situation,’ he said.
Powerit Solutions completes Diana Solutions merger Seattle, US-based smart grid developer Powerit Solutions has completed its merger with Scandinavian counterpart, Sweden-based Diana Solutions. The companies legally merged operations in 2008 under the Powerit Solutions name, retaining headquarters in Seattle, and have been working for the last 12 months to further integrate operational and development activities. The merged company has two divisions including Powerit Solutions Northern Europe, led by general manager Fredrik Färjh, and Powerit Solutions North America, headed by president Bob Zak. ‘It’s also a moment to note how the two divisions are fusing into a stronger whole,’ said Claes Olsson, president and CEO of Powerit Solutions. ‘Each has expertise to share; it will be exciting to see Powerit Solutions gain steam and grow stronger as we leverage North America’s foothold in the industrial sector and the Swedish division’s depth in the commercial sector.’
energy efficiency news
Prudent Energy raises $22m led by Chinese investment
General Compression secures $17m to bring products to market US air energy storage system manufacturer General Compression (GC) has closed over $17m in commitments led by US Renewables Group (USRG) and Duke Energy to support the development of its first commercial scale unit and a future series of storage projects. The Series A round of funding will allow GC to build and install its first full-scale advanced energy storage (AES) unit in 2010, which will target the wind market, the company said. GC and its partners plan to develop both integrated wind storage projects and standalone storage projects to more effectively use existing transmission lines, including its first commercial project in 2010.
energy efficiency: DEAL news
energy efficiency news
Waste management company Shanks rejects Carlyle’s bid
Sales talks between US buy-out giant Carlyle and UK private waste treatment company Shanks have broken down after the private equity firm’s 120 pence per share bid was rejected. According to Shanks, Carlyle first approached it about a possible sale in October 2009, going on to give a final cash offer of 120 pence per share for all issued share capital. Shanks board members subsequently met and decided to reject the bid. Shanks said that it remains committed to its three principal growth areas of recycling, organic processing and UK PFIs, but admitted that European trading conditions for the waste management industry are difficult as a result of a weak macroeconomic environment. The company claimed, however, that improved operational balance sheet gearing and a strengthened management team positions the group for stronger medium-term growth. Adrian Auer, chairman of Shanks, said, ‘The board’s response to the
Shanks’ board felt Carlyle’s offer did not reflect the company’s true worth
approach from Carlyle has always been about price. Although the timing of their approach was not of our choosing, we have engaged fully and professionally, but Carlyle has failed to offer a price which – in the view of the board – properly reflects the value of the group. ‘Shanks is a well-managed group
with good strategic positioning in the evolving European waste markets and the board is confident that the group can deliver attractive growth in shareholder value over the medium term,’ he added. Shanks is Europe’s largest listed independent waste management company, with operations in the Netherlands, Belgium, UK and Canada.
TGI to obtain Ekoplaz energy technology
EBRD provides €90m financing for Slovakia energy facility
Pink Sheets-listed solar company TGI Solar has signed a deal with Ukrainian waste management company Ekoplaz, with technology based on using the effect of highfrequency disruption in electromagnetic microwave fields. TGI will have the exclusive right to use Ekoplaz technology in North America, South America, and European Union under the $3m agreement, which it said it plans to cover by issuing $3m worth of short term convertible notes. The company said that it plans to build its first facility in the Ukraine and plans to identify location and apply for necessary permits before the summer.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is making €90m in funding available under the existing Slovakia Sustainable Energy Finance Facility (SLOVSEFF) to ensure continuous implementation of energy efficiency and small renewable energy projects. The Bank’s SLOVSEFF was launched in 2007, when the EBRD provided €60m to encourage Slovak enterprises and housing associations to make better use of energy resources. The funds were distributed via four local partner banks, including Slovenska Sporitelna of Erste Bank Group, VUB Banka of Intesa Sanpaolo Group, Tatra Banka of Raiffeisen International and Dexia Banka Slovensko.
The €90m funds will be on lend to the four participating banks, as well as to new partner institutions in Slovakia and the proceeds of the EBRD funds will be used to finance efficiency and renewable energy projects implemented in the industrial and residential sectors. Sub-borrowers undertaking sustainable energy investments will be reimbursed by up to 15 per cent of the amount of the loan upon the completion of the works and will benefit from free technical assistance in assessing energy saving potential and project implementation, said the Bank. Grant financing of €15m from the Bohunice International Decommissioning Support Fund has been secured for this purpose.
Energy efficiency: DEAL news
Global energy efficiency company Eltek Valere has signed a $12m frame agreement with an international mobile operator for deliveries of hybrid power solutions, under which Eltek will provide turnkey upgrades to power solutions on at least 460 existing sites. The agreement covers six countries in Africa, one country in Central America and includes an option for similar upgrades in six other countries. ‘We are very pleased to see that our focus on hybrid solutions is paying off and that our customers can achieve operational savings, fast return on investment while saving the environment,’ said Rune Finne, CEO at Eltek Valere.
Eltek’s CEO Finne said that no more information about the mobile operator or the start date for the upgrades can be released at this time. Eltek said the majority of the sites, all of which will be prepared for solar upgrades, will be upgraded to cyclic operation and be prepared for upgrades to solar panels as an additional source of energy. The company also said it will also provide high efficiency rectifiers and advanced generator control to the sites to cut diesel consumption by more than 50 per cent. The most inaccessible sites will be equipped with Eltek Valere high efficiency solar chargers and solar panels.
Charger developer ECOtality gains access to $300 financing facility China-based cleantech investment holding firm Shenzhen Goch Investment, a partner of US clean energy storage and electric vehicle company ECOtality’s joint venture in China, ECOtality China, has obtained a credit facility agreement with China Construction Bank for a credit line of RMB10bn ($1.5bn). Shenzhen Goch Investment has committed to providing up to $300m of the credit facility to ECOtality China, for product financing of ECOtality’s networked electric vehicle charging systems to utilities, governments, and major commercial and retail clients in global markets. Jonathan Read, president and CEO of ECOtality, said, ‘The facility will provide ECOtality China with the ability to offer advanced networked electric vehicle charging systems at a low cost to its customers. This credit facility positions ECOtality to immediately capitalise upon substantial opportunities with international governments, utilities and vehicle customers and will benefit consumers by reducing the initial cost of charging
equipment ownership, which, in turn, will accelerate electric vehicle adoption worldwide.’ ECOtality China has access to – subject to approval on a project-by-project basis – the credit facility controlled by Shenzhen Goch and held by China Construction Bank. ECOtality said it will offer credit facilities of between three and nine years to governments, utilities and vehicle manufacturers globally to defray the initial costs of electric vehicle charging systems and encourage widespread use of ECOtality charging systems and the associated network. Shenzhen Goch Investments was selected by China Construction Bank as one of its 15 strategic clients in China to receive the $1.5bn credit facility. Dr Dongsheng Gong, chairman of Shenzhen Goch Investments, said, ‘This credit facility is earmarked primarily for new energy and infrastructure projects and will support our various financing activities including export finance. ECOtality China, one of our key strategic investments, will be given priority access to this credit facility for up to $300m.’
GreenAngel Energy companies raise $6m Two of Canadian green energy developer GreenAngel Energy’s investee companies, Delaware Power Systems and Light-Based Technologies, have closed financing rounds totalling $6m. DPS closed a series A round of $4m, led by Morningside Technology Venture based in Boston, US alongside four other groups of institutional and private investors. To date, DPS, in which GreenAngel holds 965,000 shares, has raised over $7m since inception. The company said the funding will allow DPS to continue with commercialising its integrated battery platform that enables electric vehicle power train components to interconnect and be intelligently managed as a single system. LBT closed a Series A round of $2 million at 25 cents per share. Vancouver-based venture capital firm, Chrysalix Energy, led a $2m Series A round followed by GreenAngel and other angel investors for LBT that closed at 25 cents per share. The $2m in funding allows LBT, in which GreenAngel holds 1,560,000 shares, to launch its new LB4 family of integrated circuit chips for the control of solid state lighting products, said the company.
energy efficiency news
Eltek Valere signs $12m hybrid power agreement
LDC injects £10m into Matrix system Lloyds Banking Group private equity subsidiary Lloyds TSB Development Capital (LDC) has made a £10m (€11.1m) investment to take a minority stake in building energy management business Matrix. HSBC provided bank funding for the deal. Based in Manchester, England Matrix is an independently-owned integrator of building energy management systems with particular expertise in remote monitoring and energy optimisation services, with a turnover of £25m. In December 2009, LDC invested £17m in Aberdeen, Scotland-based marine installation contractor Subocean Group.
energy efficiency: DEAL news
Listed manufacturing group SPX acquires technology company Gerstenberg Schroder
energy efficiency news
NYSE-listed manufacturer SPX Corporation, whose product portfolio contains energy efficient products including cooling systems for power plants, has completed the acquisition of processing systems manufacturer Gerstenberg Schroder. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed. ‘The addition of Gerstenberg Schroder strengthens our growing process equipment business by expanding our global
food processing technology, equipment offerings and systems capabilities,’ said SPX chairman, president and CEO Christopher J Kearney. SPX first entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Gerstenberg Schroder in January 2010. Following the close of the deal, Gerstenberg Schroder will operate within SPX’s flow technology segment. Based in Denmark, privately-held Gerstenberg Schroder had fiscal 2009
revenues of approximately $70m. With headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, SPX Corporation develops products and technologies in the solar and geothermal fields. Its product portfolio contains cooling systems for power plants, handheld diagnostic tools, power transformers and process equipment that assists flow processes in geothermal, oil and gas exploration, distribution and refinement and power generation.
CalStar funding round Titan Energy Worldwide secures $1m in closes at $15m power generation orders from the US California-based green buildings materials business CalStar Products has closed a $15m equity investment led by venture capital firm Nth Power, which included new investors The Westly Group and Clearpoint Capital and also existing investors Foundation Capital and EnerTech Capital. The company said the equity investment will fund the growth and expansion of its green building materials business. CalStar’s facing brick and hardscape pavers, which compete with clay and concrete products, require 85 per cent less energy and generate 85 per cent less CO2 in their manufacturing as a result of CalStar’s proprietary recipe and process, the company said in a statement. ‘CalStar has all the elements that we look for in a growth company. They have an experienced leadership team, a long-term competitive advantage, great channel partners, and a solid pipeline of projects for 2010 and 2011,’ said Gary Dillabough, general partner of The Westly Group. ‘This investment provides the fuel to grow the business to the next level,’ added Bill Kingsley, managing director of Enertech Capital, who led the previous round of financing. Based in Silicon Valley with a manufacturing plant in Wisconsin, CalStar Products develops and manufactures sustainable building products.
US power generation company Titan Energy Worldwide has sold more than $1m of power generation equipment to the US government and military since the beginning of 2010, accompanied by one to three year service agreements for Titan Energy to provide maintenance and repair services for the equipment. ‘Titan Energy is proud to have developed strong relationships with key areas of our government as this had led to repeat orders for equipment and long term service contracts. Overall, bookings for new equipment sales in January were the highest in our company’s history for the month. This is a solid start to what we believe will be a good strong year for Titan Energy,’ said Thomas Vagts, general manager, Titan Energy Systems. Most of the equipment related to these sales were industrial generators manufactured by Generac Power Systems based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, for which Titan Energy is an exclusive US industrial dealer. Titan Energy provides back-up, emergency and ancillary power systems to support a wide range of critical operations in both the government and private sectors, which provide distributed energy during emergencies, natural disasters or during times when power from the electrical grid is suboptimal or unavailable.
WI Harper Group invests in Testar LED lighting technology company has agreed to become an independent entity and to receive an investment from China-focused venture capital firm WI Harper Group. This infusion of capital allows the company to expand its operations in providing testing services for LED chip manufacturers across Asia, Testar said. Industry analyst iSuppli projects shipments of LEDs to nearly triple over the next three years, from 63 billion in 2010 to 166 billion in 2013. ‘LEDs are now used in street light-
ing, consumer electronics such as backlit TVs, vehicles and numerous unique applications,’ said Leo Huang, founder, CEO and chairman of Chroma and founder of Testar Electronics Corporation. ‘We recognised early on that LED chip manufacturers have limited testing capability and must comply with evolving standards. By outsourcing LED testing, customers benefit from increased efficiency and improved quality, ensuring that manufacturers can achieve competitive prices for their high-grade chips.’
Energy efficiency: DEAL news
Energy major Siemens has won a €30m contract from the Dubai-based Federal Electricity and Water Authority to carry out the build and modernisation of substations in its northern emirates to improve the power supply network. The order from the UAE covers the supply of a turnkey substation in the emirate of Fujeirah and the modernisation of four substations over a period of 15 months. The new substation will be erected in the town of Qidfa and will strengthen the power supply network to the north of the UAE, Siemens said. The modernisation work will be carried out in the in the neighboring emirates of Ras-al-Kaimah and Ajman. Siemens Energy general manager, power transmission and power distribution divisions, said, ‘We’re pleased that our proven technology will be deployed to stabilise the power transmission net-
Siemen’s substation in Qidfa, UAE will strengthen the region’s power supply network
work in the northern emirates.’ In recent months, the electricity generator and distributor has focused heavily on energy efficiency, winning a
LED manufacturer TerraLUX closes $5.6m investment round US-based LED lighting company TerraLUX has closed its $5.6m Series A financing round led by clean technology venture capital firm Emerald Technology Ventures. The financing round by LED module manufacturer TerraLUX also included existing investor Access Venture Partners. Colorado-based TerraLUX was founded in 2003 and targets the portable device market. Jim Miller, TerraLUX president and CEO, said the company is pleased to partner with Emerald given its understanding of the sector, strong track record and international network. Miller joined TerraLUX in 2009 and at the Whitney Rockley, Emerald time the company emphasised the importance of his background in building high technology companies from early stage to market place leadership in just a few years. As part of this financing, Whitney Rockley, partner with Emerald, has joined the TerraLUX board of directors. ‘TerraLUX has all the elements we look for in an excellent investment opportunity. It is a capital efficient business, has a superior product platform and demonstrated product performance,’ Rockley said.
supply contract in Brazil for an energy management system and expressed its desire to win €6bn of smart grid orders by 2014.
ETI to invest £25m in carbon storage demo project
energy efficiency news
Siemens wins €30m energy contract to improve transmission in Middle East
The UK Energy Technologies Institute will invest £25m in a carbon capture and storage (CCS) next generation capture technology demonstrator. The ETI said it has started the search for organisations or consortia to bid for a major project which could establish an advanced CO2 capture technology demonstration project. The proposed project will see the development of next generation capture technology to a stage where it has completed full scale demonstration by 2015 and ready for adoption into full scale commercial power applications by 2020. Bidders will need to demonstrate and justify how their approach would enable their technology to reach a state of development that would allow future investors to start engineering the design of a power station.
energy efficiency: COMPANY news
energy efficiency news
AEG launches new technology for power supply Energy efficiency company AEG Power Solutions has launched a new range of energy efficient standby power solutions for mission-critical facilities called Combination Architecture. Combination Architecture incorporates alternative and renewable energy supply and storage technologies to enhance power system efficiency and reduce carbon footprint, said AEG. The new solutions will utilise technologies as sources of power or energy storage in order to increase system efficiency and reduce carbon footprint, which include ultra capacitors, fuel cells, solar cell and wind power energy. ‘Balancing continuing demands for greater and more reliable computing capacity in a world facing ever-tightening regulation of carbon emissions and the challenge of controlling power costs is now a major concern for everyone involved in the data centre industry,’ said Michael Adams, global vice president for Data & IT, AEG Power Solutions. Typical IT applications for Combination Architecture include data centres and networks, said AEG.
Smart grid technology to be leading wealth driver
The smart grid and appliance technology market is set to grow
The deployment of smart grid technology could easily be one of the leading drivers of wealth well into the next 15 years, with the smart appliance market expected be five times larger than it is today, according to a new report. China is leading the way in smart grid stimulus funding with $7.3bn, while the US tops per capita stimulus spend with $23.09, followed by Spain with $19.90 and South Korea with $17, according to research and consulting firm Zpryme. The global market for global household smart appliances is projected to grow to $15.12bn from $3.06bn, with the US predicted to dominate the market. Zpryme said smart grid technology could be a key driver of investment going forward. ‘Consequently, even in its infancy stage, countless companies are chomping at the bit to figure out the best way to enter this moving-at-the-speed-of-broadband industry,’ the report said.
Waste electronics recycler environCom opens UK’s largest processing facility UK waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) recycling company environCom has opened the UK’s largest processing facility with the capacity to treat over 100,000 tonnes each year. The £10m plant, located in Grantham, England, will process just under ten per cent of the total household WEEE waste collected in the country. Using four separate plants, each specifically designed for different waste streams and treatment processes, the ten acre site can process all forms of WEEE waste including up to 100 plus fridges, 100 televisions and 180 large domestic appliances every hour.
EnvironCom CEO Joe Quigley said the plant’s equipment has been chosen to take into account current and future requirements. ‘Our recycling capacity is competitive with the biggest facilities in Europe and we intend to maintain our leading position as we roll out our expansion plans, which include the establishment of a footprint across the UK and then into Europe,’ Quigley said. In addition, environCom recently signed a five year rolling contract with DSG International, a European specialist electrical goods retail groups. ‘It supports our own environmental
policy as well as enhancing our customer’s green credentials. We are now approaching other large retail groups to follow suit,’ Quigley said. Electrical and electronic equipment is the fastest growing waste stream in the UK, increasing by five per cent each year, with more than 1.2 million tonnes of electrical and electronic waste produced by UK households annually. ‘We now intend to expand our operations across the country and to increase our partnerships with other retailers and producers so we can help tackle even more of the problem,’ Quigley said.
energy efficiency: COMPANY NEWS
Half of US businesses say lack of climate change legislation is harming economy and create green collar jobs. Respondents agreed that the responsibility for tackling climate change does not just lie with the government and business should take a greater role in climate change policy. NTR CEO Jim Barry said the results clearly show the business community considers the climate change challenge to be real and is responding, irrespective of government action. ‘The business leaders surveyed do
Areva and Siemens head alliance for renewable European grid
Siemens is one of the ten founding members of the Friends of the Supergrid
An offshore infrastructure network in the North Sea called the Friends of the Supergrid (FOSG) has been established, with founding members including Areva T&D, Mainstream Renewable Power and Siemens. The FOSG has been established to progress policy towards the construction of a pan-European offshore grid to bring power generated at wind installations in the North Sea back to the UK, Germany and Norway at a low cost. Other founding members include 3E engineering firm, marine dredging company DEME Blue Energy, Belgian transmission operator Elia and engineering giant Parsons Brinckerhoff. In addition, Italian cabling firm Prysmian and Visser & Smit Marine Contracting are also involved. In December 2009, nine EU member states, including the UK and Germany,
signed a political declaration, titled the North Seas Countries Offshore Grid Initiative. Last month Norway signed the declaration, whose aim is to develop policy to advance offshore interconnection in Europe. Mainstream Renewable Power’s CEO Dr Eddie O’Connor said the UK government has recently shown its commitment to large-scale offshore wind by announcing the development of up to 50GW by 2020. ‘We now need to integrate this huge resource into Europe to enable the open trade of electricity between member states,’ he said. ‘The Friends of the Supergrid is uniquely placed to influence policy-makers towards creating the supergrid and ultimately changing how we generate, transmit and consume electricity for generations to come.’
believe, however, that the US needs more cohesive and effective legislation to ensure the country is not at a serious disadvantage in a global competitive context,’ Barry said. More than two-thirds of the 130 respondents said climate change will have an important role to play in their commercial decisions but security of energy supply is a more pressing issue for almost three-quarters of senior business leaders.
NES targets renewable energy markets Publically-traded energy production company National Energy Services Company (NES), has agreed to expand its operations to sell and install microturbines in California and the southwestern US to residential and commercial structures. The installations consist of a microturbine power generator powered by natural gas with only one moving part. ‘Our goal is to install at 2,000 sites in our first year and expand that market substantially each year thereafter. These systems are not new to the market and we have other opportunities for partnerships that will increase our sales, but not our costs for marketing.
energy efficiency news
One in two business leaders in the US think a lack of clarity on climate change legislation is negatively impacting the ability of the US to compete in a global market, according to a new survey of Fortune 500 companies. But the report, conducted by Brunswick Group for international renewable energy group NTR Foundation, found only a third of senior business leaders in the US think that a legal framework is required to commit to specific climate change actions
Disenco up for sale following appointments Following the appointment of joint administrators, UK energy technology company Disenco has been put up for sale by property and asset consultants with a view to sell within a week. Disenco has developed a micro-CHP (combined heat and power) appliance, which is intended as an alternative to conventional boilers for domestic and small business premises. The technology generates mechanical, electrical and thermal energy simultaneously, allowing it to recover much of the energy normally lost through separate power generation.
energy efficiency: company news
energy efficiency news
CarbonRisk not fully incorporated into funding decisions, says S&P The cost of complying with carbon legislation has been minimal for the majority of European companies to date and has not significantly affected their ability to raise finance, according to a recently released survey of corporate issuers rated by Standard & Poor’s (S&P) Ratings Services. Respondents believe that carbon exposure could have a real impact on industry from 2012, when the more stringent Phase III of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) comes into force. S&P also said that it is to launch a risk assessment tool for carbon projects after signing an agreement with data analytics firm Point Carbon. The carbon offset project risk assessment product will be targeting the compliance market and will be similar to credit risk analysis tools, Standard & Poor’s head of global credit markets Mike Wilkins said. ‘The market is looking for independent, credible benchmarks on carbon
US DOE selects NRG for Texas carbon capture demonstration project NRG Energy has been selected by the US Department of Energy (DOE) to receive up to $154m, including funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), to build a post-combustion carbon capture demonstration unit in Houston, Texas. The proposed project was submitted under the Clean Coal Power Initiative Program (CCPI), a cost-shared collaboration between the federal government and private industry to demonstrate low-emission carbon capture and storage
Carbon exposure could have a real impact on industry from 2012
project risk,’ Wilkins said. There is no confirmed roll-out date for the tool which is still in development but Wilkins Said that is likely to be launched before the close of 2010. Under the memorandum of understanding, the companies will aim to leverage their combined skills to serve the global carbon credit markets which will be worth an estimated €121bn in 2010, according to Point Carbon. Although similar to credit ratings tools on offer by S&P, this model will
technologies in coal-based power generation. ‘The DOE recognises the need to put a high priority on funding clean coal projects in order to substantially reduce the carbon intensity of existing fossil fueled electricity production,’ said David Crane, president and CEO of NRG Energy. ‘Development and deployment of these carbon capture technologies at scale, not only in the US but also worldwide as well, is essential if we are to meet successfully the challenge of global climate change.’
differ as most of the offset projects under development are not, in the majority, funded by debt. Wilkins said development will be carried out over the next few months as well as further market research to determine the exact needs of the industry. ‘They are looking to minimise risk exposure and optimise pricing,’ Wilkins said. ‘Over the next few months we will be working intensely on product development, on product testing and carrying out more market research.’
Japan car giants team up to promote global electric vehicle adoption A group of Japanese vehicle manufacturers have joined forces with a major utility to standardise how electric vehicles are charged to speed-up the adoption of the clean energy cars around the world. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi Motors, Fuji Heavy Industries and The Tokyo Electric Power Company have each become executive members of the CHAdeMO Association to aid the further diffusion of electric vehicles, the companies said in a joint statement. More than 150 companies and government bodies, including 20 foreign companies, are expected to join CHAdeMO, an abbreviation for ‘charge for moving’. The companies expected to join include automakers, electric utilities, charger manufacturers, charging service providers and other supporting groups, the group said. Electric cars are viewed by many governments as a way to reduce emissions but they have to date faced obstacles such as the high cost of batteries and a lack of recharging infrastructure. Mitsubishi Motors and Fuji Heavy are the only two manufacturers of mass-volume battery-run vehicles.
energy efficiency: COMPANY news
Climate change is a problem private equity must address, according to the British Private Equity & Venture Capital Association (BVCA) as it welcomed a new report published by a collaboration of European investors into how to accelerate investment in a low-carbon economy. The BVCA said the report by the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), titled A Guide on Climate Change for Private Equity Investors, is not intended to be a set of rules but a way to inform and spur action into this important and emerging sector. BVCA CEO Simon Walker said the growing problem of climate change is something the private equity sector must help in tackling.
‘As governments across the world step up their efforts to combat growing environmental challenges, it is essential that private equity investors are equipped with the right tools to adequately assess the impact new policy initiatives, and the wider economic effects of climate change, could have on their investments,’ Walker said. The IIGCC is a forum for collaboration on climate change for European investors and has the objective of accelerating investment in a low-carbon economy. The group has more than 50 members, representing assets of around €4tn. The guide was produced with the aim of creating a greater understanding of the risks and opportunities posed both
Majority of European investors see listed markets as feasible exit for clean energy An IPO is still a feasible exit for at least one investment held by European venture capital and private equity investors in the clean technology space during this year or next, according to a new survey. The study, conducted by consultancy group Carbon International, found that 90 per cent of UK and continental European environmental or clean technology venture capital and private equity investors expect to see a significant increase in listings within the next 18 months. Of the 90 investors that took part, 87 per cent said their environmental investments are either outperforming, or performing as well as, the general market. Due to the severe lack of IPO activity over the past 18 months, however, 87 per cent see a trade sale as a more likely exit in today’s market. In addition, the lack of funding available to early stage companies today means some investors foresee a ‘development hiatus’ or shortage of investable companies in 2012 and 2013. Other perceived risks to the environmental sector range from lack of political momentum, lack of capital and low oil prices. Carbon International CEO Tom Whitehouse said the survey shows the environmental sector is performing well and there is a strong expectation that the IPO markets will re-open. ‘But the survey also raises concerns. The majority of investors fear that early stage sectors, particularly capital-intensive ones such as wave and tidal power, energy storage and bio-sequestration, will fail to secure sufficient funding to grow from either private or public markets. If so, it’s difficult to see renewable energy targets being met,’ he said. Energy efficiency and resource recovery were seen as the most attractive subsectors for future investment by respondents with biofuels and fuel cells found to be the least attractive. The survey, which was carried out between December 2009 and February 2010, found the increasing cost of energy to be the most important driver for investment decisions, followed by national legislation and then international policy.
by climate change and related policy developments. It sets out a series of questions either that LPs and their investors should ask their existing or potential GPs, or what GPs should ask of their portfolio companies and target investments. These cover four aspects of climate change and private equity investment including what awareness GPs have of climate change regulatory issues and how they assess their climate change exposure. Guidance questions have also been included on what GPs and their portfolio companies are doing to change their business models to adapt to climate change and how they are assessing new opportunities.
Clean technology investors favour mature companies Clean technology investments have evolved from focusing on start-ups to those companies further along the development chain, a technology-focused corporate finance boutique said. Clipperton Finance partner Stephane Valorge said financing has moved towards firms already generating revenues instead of focusing on early deals required in the initial stages of a clean energy firm’s start-up. ‘It has changed over the past three years. It has followed the trend of the regular technology space in that it has moved from pure early stage investment to more mature later stage investment.’ He also said that Europe has developed a natural lead in developing renewable energy and environmental technologies. ‘Cleantech is one of the major segments where European companies are way ahead of the US. It is a nice sector to be active in because there good technologies coming from Germany, France and the UK that are very fitted to the cleantech sector,’ Valorge said.
energy efficiency news
British private equity industry welcomes role in accelerating low carbon economy
waternews news Solar
BioPower Systems gains access to Australian wave energy site tralian private company that Australian ocean energy develops accredited renewable company BioPower energy projects, as well as sellSystems has secured land ing clean electricity. access, onshore developTony Sennitt, managing ment rights and project director of Diamond intellectual property for Energy, said ‘Port Fairy is an a commercial-scale wave ideal location for establishenergy site located near the ing a wave energy farm.’ ‘Not town of Port Fairy, Victoria. only does this region have the ‘This stretch of coasthighest wave energy levels in line is well-known around the State of Victoria, developthe world as a premiere ment of the project supports location for wave energy BioPower Systems aims to produce energy using its 250KW the local community by creatdevelopment,’ the CEO ocean wave energy system ing up to 200 new jobs through of BioPower Systems, Dr the development, commercialiusing its 250KW ocean wave energy Timothy Finnigan, said. sation and production stages.’ system. A commercial wave farm using ‘The strength and consistency of the Last year, BioPower entered into an an array of larger 1MW units would folswell here is phenomenal.’ agreement with the city of San Franlow, the company said. BioPower Systems expects to comcisco to investigate the generation of Pre-development work at the site was mence works at the site by the end of wave energy from the Pacific Ocean. conducted by Diamond Energy, an Austhis year and to initially produce energy
Ocean Power Marine Current Turbines raises receives €2.2m $4.8m in funding round: Siemens electronic and engineering firm Siemens has invested into British tidal grant for project Global energy company Marine Current Turbines (MCT) alongside the Carbon Trust, High Listed marine energy company Ocean Power Technologies has received an award of €2.2m under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), by the EC Directorate responsible for new and renewable sources of energy, energy efficiency and innovation. The grant to OPT is part of a total award of €4.5m to a consortium of companies, including OPT, to deliver a wave energy device under a project entitled WavePort. It is anticipated that the device will be deployed at the Santoña site in Spain, where OPT has worked on a wave energy project under contract from Iberdrola, the major Spanish utility company. As well as OPT, the consortium members include the Wave Energy Centre, Fugro Oceanor, DeGima, the University of Exeter, and ISRI.
Tide and other private investors in a £4.8m funding round. Following an investment round led by the Carbon Trust in 2009, the latest funding brings the total investment in Marine Current Turbines over the past two months to £8.5m. Investors in the first round included Bank Invest, Carbon Trust, EDF Energy and High Tide. ‘Siemens’ investment in MCT underlines the significant commercial potential that exists for tidal energy across the globe, and enables us to draw upon the company’s extensive knowledge and experience in turbine generation technology,’ said Martin Wright, managing director of Marine Current Turbines.
SSE Renewables and Aquamarine Power granted Orkney wind farm rights by Crown Scottish renewable power generator SSE Renewables and technology developer Aquamarine Power have been granted exclusive development rights in the latest leasing round by The Crown Estate for a 200MW Brough Head wave farm off the coast of Orkney.
The rights form part of the world’s first commercial leasing programme for wave and tidal energy generation projects and will constitute the first commercial farm of Aquamarine Power’s Oyster hydroelectric wave power devices in 2013.
FourWinds Capital Management’s authorised closed-ended investment scheme Aqua Resources Fund Limited, established to invest in global water opportunities, has entered into an agreement to subscribe for five-year convertible bonds of Waterleau Group for a total cash consideration of €20m. FourWinds said the formal approval of Waterleau’s shareholders is expected to be obtained in March 2010 and Indufin Capital Partners will retain its investment in Waterleau as part of the transaction. The proceeds of the subscription for the bonds will provide Waterleau
with growth capital to invest alongside its clients in build own operate transfer (BOOT) wastewater projects, make selective add-on acquisitions, and further expand into new markets, the company revealed. ‘This capital injection will accelerate Waterleau’s ambitious growth strategy, for which the fundamentals have been laid in recent years,’ said Luc Vriens, founder and CEO of Waterleau. ‘Waterleau will continue to invest in its existing Design and Build business, now complemented with recurring revenues from Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) activities.
European hydropower market to be driven by refurbishment projects
F&S research suggests that hydropower has major growth potential
Large hydropower capacity in Europe will grow by eight per cent until 2015, as growing electricity demand will drive refurbishment of existing plants, according to research by Frost & Sullivan (F&S). Ageing European infrastructure means the value of the refurbishment market will be €6bn by 2016, the analyst firm said. In 2008, large hydro capacity amounted to 16 per cent across Europe, but this will increase steadily until 2015 before the growth rate slows slightly to five per cent until 2020.
The leading countries in this sector, which F&S has classified as projects that produce over 10MW, in Europe are Norway with 14.8 per cent of installed capacity, France with 12.8 per cent and Italy with 11 per cent, its research shows. F&S said, however, that investment is often hard for operators to secure for new projects because of the high start-up costs that amount to €2-€7m per megawatt hour. ‘This is higher than any other renewable technology behind solar photovoltaic,’ F&S research analyst Zeinegul Hassan said.
UK water utilities offer upside for investors: SAM UK water utilities will offer further upside potential in the short-term, according to an independent asset management group. Sustainable Asset Management (SAM), based in Zurich, Switzerland, said the business performance of utilities can be fairly accurately mapped over the next five years and they offer untapped potential. SAM senior analyst Urs Schön said the share prices of UK water utilities could continue to climb. ‘Given the growing interest from infrastructure funds in making acquisitions, UK water utilities are suitable as defensive shares to complement any water portfolio,’ Schön said. In its latest forecast, SAM said investors were well-advised to steer clear of UK utilities despite the crisis because the economy slumped in the same year the new five-year tariff plan was agreed. As such, most market players assumed a negative impact from stricter regulation. SAM said it took advantage of an opportune entry point at the end of the year, when the market had prices in what is describes as an unduly pessimistic scenario.
€20m invested in Waterleau by Aqua Resources Fund
UK to map offshore potential of coast The UK is to map the offshore renewable energy potential around its south west coast to assess the potential of wave, tidal and offshore wind installations up to 2030. The £100,000 study will be carried out by renewable energy consultancy PMSS for the South West Regional Development Agency (RDA) and will shape future investment decisions, the organisation said. South West RDA director of sustainable resources Claire Gibson said the ability to deploy commercial installations is crucial to the development of the marine energy industry in the south-west of England and the study will map its potential over the next 20 years.
Crump Geyser and Pumpernickel projects ready for development
under a separate cost-shared drilling programme with the DOE. This includes exploration drilling outward from the core area around Crump Geyser, which NGP said will help expand the understanding of the reservoir configuration and guide future drilling. Following that, eight thermal gradient holes will be drilled in the first half 2010, followed closely by two deeper holes designed to penetrate and test the reservoir. NGP currently owns a 100 per cent leasehold interest in four properties: Blue Mountain, Pumpernickel, Black Warrior, all of which are situated in Nevada, and Crump Geyser, Oregon.
The Crump Geyser and Pumpernickel Valley geothermal projects belonging to US energy developer Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP) are ready for development drilling in 2010, the company has announced. NGP said it plans to maintain a schedule so that new power plants can be constructed and placed in service by the end of 2013, or within the time required to qualify for generous federal tax grants available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Ongoing geothermal resource evaluation and characterisation of the Crump Geyser property has led to the
selection of initial production test well targets and three development wells are planned in 2010 along with other work. An airborne magnetic survey, jointly funded by NGP and the US Department of Energy (DOE), began in March of this year, to be followed with a seismic reflection survey, supplemental ground magnetic surveys and precision gravity surveys. This data will provide structural, thermal, and geochemical detail of the reservoir, which will enhance targeting precision, and accelerate future drilling and development operations at the Crump Geyser Geothermal Project. NGP said that it plans further work
Sierra Geothermal drill deep at Alum
Ormat completes acquisition of interest in Tuscarora project
Canadian geothermal company Sierra Geothermal Power has started drilling a second deep observation well at its 100 per cent owned Alum project, which is part of the designated Paymaster District geothermal area. The 26-19 well follows last year’s drilling of deep observation well 25-29 and is designed to show the temperature and permeability of the Alum geothermal resource at depths of several thousand feet. Sierra said that well 26-19 will utilise cutting-edge coiled-tube drilling technology, never before used at a geothermal well, in an effort to make deep drilling faster and more cost-effective. The company has contracted Xtreme Coil Drilling to drill the well and the geological information gathered will be integrated into Sierra’s 3D geologic model for Alum. A secondary objective of the well is to compare coil-tube drilling rates to conventional and core drilling rates in a geothermal field, in addition to testing temperature and permeability in the subsurface of the geothermal site.
Ormat Nevada, a subsidiary of renewable energy company Ormat Technologies has completed the acquisition of membership interests in Hot Sulphur Springs II in the US state of Nevada, which includes the Tuscarora geothermal project. No financial terms of the deal have been released. Ormat Nevada, will construct and operate the project, which is expected
to become operational in 2012. Up to 40MW of electricity from the project has been contracted under a 20year power purchase agreement with Nevada Power Company, a subsidiary of NV Energy. The Tuscarora project is in an advanced stage of development, located on approximately 9,800 acres of land in Elko County, Nevada, the company said.
ThermaSource signs drilling contact with Polaris Energy Nicaragua Geothermal services company ThermaSource and Nevada, US-based renewable energy company Ram Power, through its subsidiary Polaris Energy Nicaragua, have announced a drilling contract for the geothermal development of the San JacintoTizate Project in Nicaragua. ThermaSource was awarded the drilling contract from Polaris following a competitive bidding process. With 56MW drilled and available at the production well heads, and the two most recently drilled production wells tested at 16MW and 22.8MW respectively, Polaris is expecting to drill only two additional production wells to reach the full 72MW net capacity. Louis Capuano Jr, CEO, ThermaSource, said, ‘We are excited to be a part of the expansion of geothermal power in Nicaragua and look forward to working with Ram Power and Polaris on a successful drilling project.
US Geothermal reports $8.6m private placement financing
Tata Power and Chevron bid for Indonesian project
completion of future financing. U.S. Geothermal has raised $8.6m as U.S. Geothermal owns operating the result of a private placement of geothermal power projects at Raft stock. The proceeds of the offering River, Idaho and San Emidio, Nevada. will be used by the company to further The company recently announced signdevelop its Neal Hot Springs geothering of a power mal project, purchase it said. agreement The comand is in the pany entered final stages of into a securinegotiations ties purchase for a project agreement loan as part of with several its developinstitutional ment acinvestors to istivities at Neal sue 8,209,519 Hot Springs shares of U.S. Geothermal’s latest offering will further in eastern common stock develop its Neal Hot Springs project Oregon. at a price of In February of this year, U.S. $1.05 per share for gross proceeds of Geothermal began work at its Raft approximately $8.6m. River Project in Idaho on a $10m Initiating a planned capital project for Raft River Unit I and a well drilling Enhanced Geothermal System grant programme for a planned future expan- programme funded by the US Department of Energy. sion at San Emidio may be subject to
The Indonesian unit of Tata Power and Chevron has submitted bids to build a geothermal power plant in Sorik Merapi, North Sumatra, according to reports. The capacity of the geothermal plant is planned to increase incrementally from an initial capacity of 55MW to 200MW as part of a wider programme to add up to 10,000MW of capacity from 25 coal-fired Indonesian plants currently being constructed. A second 10,000MW phase incorporating coal, geothermal and renewable energy resources is awaiting finalization from the Indonesian government. Tata is a member of a consortium including Indonesian energy firm PT Supraco Energy. Indonesian company PT Medco Energi Internasional and Ormat Technologies have also submitted bids for the geothermal project. Tata Power has an installed power generation capacity of about 3,000MW Mega Watts, including thermal and hydro power, generated at the Thermal Power Station, Trombay, and the Hydro Electric Power Stations at Bhira, Bhivpuri.
G4G Resources’ Despoblados prospect takes next steps Canada-based mineral exploration and development company G4G Resources’ Despoblados geothermal prospect in San Juan, Argentina, has had its independent technical report completed by geothermal consulting company GeothermEx. Despoblados is one of the geothermal properties in the Valle del Cura region. G4G also previously announced that it had entered into an exploration contract with an option to purchase with Group Minero Aconcagua and Andean Geothermal Power Corporation. Using the temperature of the geothermal system estimated from chemical geothermometry and certain standard assumptions regarding area and thickness, the technical report estimates a resource range at Despoblados of about 8 to 17MWe for 20 years of production.The technical report also states the Valle de Cura geothermal concessions collectively have a possible total resource capacity of 35 to 85MWe, perhaps several tens of megawatts or more,according to G4G. The company said it intends to carry out planned work that would include structural mapping, geochemistry, geophysics and drilling, with the goal of defining geothermal resources which will support the commercial generation of electricity. The amount of the work commitment by G4G for the exploration and drilling activities is $1.9m over a period of two years. In addition, an application has been made to change the name of the company to more effectively reflect the nature of the business with which it is involved. Subject to TSX-V approval, G4G will become Americas Geothermal.
Urex acquires Nevada geothermal leases Mining group Urex Energy Corporation has completed the purchase of three geothermal leases totalling 6,582 acres located in Nevada, US, from Enco Explorations. The deal provides for the Company to pay Enco Explorations Inc. 100 million shares of the company’s common stock per an agreement. As a part of an on-going reorganization of the company’s business activity, the decision to diversify into the geothermal energy field is aligned with the company’s long-term strategy to add shareholder value, Urex said. Urex also owns a 100 per cent interest in the La Jara Mesa Extension uranium property consisting of 137 unpatented mining claims in the Grants Mining District, Cibola County, New Mexico.
Battery Ventures closes ninth venture fund on $750m target Battery Ventures, a multi-stage investment firm focused on technology and innovation, has closed its ninth fund, BV IX, on its $750m target. This brings total committed capital in Battery’s nine funds to nearly $4bn. Key investment sectors for the firm include internet and digital media, financial and information services, clean technology, software, enterprise IT, communication services, semiconductors, and industrial technologies. The firm invests at all stages, from seed and early and late stage venture capital financings, as well as buy-outs, takeprivates, PIPEs and roll-ups ‘In a highly selective investment environment where limited partners are winnowing their managers, Battery continues to garner strong support from
US Renewables Group forms wind development arm US private equity firm US Renewables Group (USRG) has formed Westerly Wind to provide development capital to wind developers. Leading Westerly as CEO is Joe Cofelice whose experience includes serving as president of Catamount Energy Corporation and as CEO of American National Power. With almost 10,000MW of new capacity added in 2009, the US wind industry had a record year as installed US wind capacity increased by 39 per cent to over 35,000MW. ‘The recent financial crisis has led to a shortage of development capital and, as a result, many promising wind development projects are not being adequately funded,’ said Lee Bailey, managing director of USRG. ‘Joe Cofelice and his team possess the expertise and capital necessary to take advantage of these development opportunities.’
Battery has seen strong support from investors, said Michael Taylor of HarbourVest Partners
investors,’ said Michael W Taylor, managing director at HarbourVest Partners. ‘They have provided consistent returns, in both up markets and down, and are true partners with their LPs. Battery clearly laid out their fund raising timeline and worked collaboratively and
transparently with investors to bring the fund to a close right on time. We have the utmost confidence in the investment team and look forward to continuing this relationship.’ The capital base for BV IX is composed of 85 per cent repeat investors and 15 per cent new investors. Limited partners consist of private and public pensions, endowments and foundations, fund of funds managers, and financial services firms including banks and insurance companies, Battery said. ‘We’re proud to have closed this fund in what is certainly one of the most challenging times for our asset class,” said Battery managing partner Tom Crotty. ‘We could not have done it without strong support from our existing investor base.’
Spring Capital Asia raises $184m Spring Capital Asia, a private equity firm investing exclusively in China and Hong Kong, has held a second closing of its debut fund on $184m and tied up an investment in Qingdao Wuxiao Group, a wind and electricity tower manufacturer based in the Shandong Province of mainland China. The fund held a first closing in November 2009 on $151m and is targeting a final close of $200m and $250m. Spring Capital works with Chinese companies in the lower mid-market that are seeking early growth capital to expand their business. The firm’s focus includes clean technology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, the consumer sector, and professional and business services.
Asian Development Bank in initial stages of evaluating clean energy venture fund The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is in the early stages of evaluating the potential of a clean technology-focused venture capital fund, a spokesperson said. The ADB has created a task force to investigate the possible establishment of a fund, having already raised $363m across four funds. ‘The ADB has indeed created a task force to evaluate the merits of a venture capital fund to invest in developers of
clean energy technologies in the region,’ the ADB spokesperson said. ‘But the task force is still in the early stages of its deliberations.’ The new venture capital fund was first announced in February and is expected to follow the ADB’s strategy of investing in renewable energy projects through catalysing private sector investments and maximising the use of market-based mechanisms.
China and Israel-focused technology investor fund Infinity I-China has established six joint venture private equity funds to invest in Chinese growth companies. The sectors of focus include clean technology, water and agriculture as well as medical device and healthcare services, managing partner Amir Gal-Or said. Its first renminbi (RMB) fund in China was set up in 2004 and the fund management company Infinity Group manages $700m through nine funds. It has a portfolio of 45 companies, with 20 successful exits and Infinity I-China acts as a bridge for Chinese companies to integrate technology to compete internationally. ‘Israel-US investments have been happening at Infinity for the past 17 years. We shifted to Israel-China
Amir Gal-Or, Infinity I-China
about six years ago and gradually we have carried out more and more investments,’ Gal-Or said. ‘The idea is to take innovations and enter not only the US, but commericalise them through partnership investments in
China, he added. The new funds range in size from RMB200m ($29.3m) to RMB500m ($73.2m) and will be developed in partnership with six metropolises in China; Beijing, Suzhou, Harbon, Shijiazhuang, Changzhou, Ningbo and Tianjin. ‘The goal of the six funds is to create investments in Chinese growth companies that can upgrade themselves through the infusion of improved technology. We are bringing outside technology into China,’ Gal-Or said. Gal-Or said its state backers do not have influence on the details of the investments but do provide information and contacts. He said investors Infinity’s investors are from China, Israel and other international regions such as the US.
Infinity-I China establishes six funds for growth technology investments
China Everbright launches $439m fund to invest in clean energy projects Hong Kong-based China Everbright has established a RMB3bn ($439) fund to invest in new energy projects, resources and affiliated enterprises. The Everbright Jiangyun New Energy Fund’s investment period is planned to be four years and its first phase of fund closing exercise reached RMB1bn ($147.5), Everbright said. Everbright has established two previous venture capital funds of RMB500m ($73m) with the cities of Wuxi and Jiangyin in the Jiangsu Province which invested in projects with significant growth potential, including the technology industry. The company said the larger scale of fund over its predecessors demonstrates its increasingly confidence in both of the cities’ economic potential. ‘The Everbright Jiangyin New Energy Fund will capitalise on our extensive market network and competitive edges in asset management to generate rewarding returns for investors and it will open even more capital channels for local enterprises in order to accommodate their rapid growth,’ Everbright CEO Chen Shuang said. Everbright already has commitments to a variety of fund management businesses under its 3+2 macro asset management philosophy. Its direct investment division has estab-
lished offshore private equity funds under its China Special Opportunities Fund series. Its China real estate fund finished its first phase of fundraising last year and it also has an infrastructure fund established with Macquarie.
Emerald Technology Ventures to launch third fund: reports Clean energy venture capital fund Emerald Technology Ventures expects to hold its first close for a €150m fund midway through the year, according to reports. Emerald already has the €90m Emerald Cleantech I and the €135m Emerald Cleantech II funds and has assisted a number of companies to launch to market on various global stock exchanges such as NASDAQ, Toronto Stock Exchange, Frankfurt Stock Exchange and the London AIM. Existing investors such as Dow Chemical, Credit Suisse and Unilever are expected to invest in the third fund, according to recent reports.
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
listed company results
Centrica reports revenue growth as wind projects pushed ahead Energy utility giant, and owner of British Gas, Centrica has said it continued to strengthen its leadership position in offshore wind in 2009, as it reported revenue of £21.96bn, up five per cent on the previous year’s total. Centrica chairman Roger Carr said 2009 was a ‘transformational’ year that marked the successful culmination of a three-year strategic development, but the government now has a key role to play in moving forward the renewables sector, in which it generated almost 50 per cent more power from this year than in 2008. ‘The industry as a whole is entering a significant investment phase as the UK moves towards a low carbon future while maintaining security of supply,’ he said in a presentation announcing the results. ‘The government has a vital role to play in providing the stable investment climate, planning regime and appropriate market support mechanisms that will be required to enable these investment to be made.’
Fluor’s renewable profits lag behind oil and gas sectors NYSE-listed US energy project developer Fluor Corporation’s profit growth in its government & power and oil & gas segments, which matched or exceeded 2008 results, were offset by declines in its global services and industrial & infrastructure segments. The company said it expects capital investment levels to gradually rebound as the global economy improves and is beginning to see positive signs of a recovery as evidenced by the amount of new front-end activity. Fluor’s industrial and infrastructure group reported segment profit of $140m, compared with $208m in 2008, which included a pre-tax gain of $79m from the sale of its interest in the Greater Gabbard offshore wind farm project.
Centrica chairman Roger Carr: 2009 a transformational year
The company reported operating profit of £1.86bn, down seven per cent on 2008’s figure of £2bn and cited the sharp decline in UK gas and electricity prices as the reasons for this drop. Centrica CEO Sam Laidlaw said the year saw the company reaffirm its foothold in the UK offshore wind market, with key investments decisions made. Its renewables sector accounted for 821GW hours compared to 548GW
hours in 2008, equalling 3.26 per cent of its overall generation. ‘We have further strengthened our leadership in offshore wind. In October, we gave our final investment approval for the 270MW Lincs offshore wind development and we are pleased to have been awarded exclusive rights over the Irish Sea zone in round three of The Crown Estate’s offshore wind licensing,’ Laidlaw said at the results presentation.
Northland Power ‘s additional renewable energy plant sales bump profits up Canadian renewable energy developer Northland Power Income Fund reported consolidated sales in the fourth quarter of 2009 of $59.8m. In addition, Northland Power’s income from operations was $19.6m, which it said reflected additional sales revenue from its management services, the Beaver Cove chipping facility and the 128MW Jardin d’Eole wind farm that became operational in November 2009. The fund is a Canadian income trust that has ownership or economic interests in ten power projects totalling more than 1,100MW. Gross profit in 2009 was $9m higher than in 2008, which the fund said was due mostly to additional sales revenue from Northland Power’s management services, the chipping facility and the Jardin d’Eole wind farm. Net income was $3.2m higher than the fourth quarter of 2008 after taking account of an $11.6m recovery of taxes, mostly future and non-cash. A $22.3m drop in income before taxes was due in part to the fund’s loan to a subsidiary of Panda Energy Corporation, and US and euro foreign exchange contracts not designated as part of a hedging relationship, said the fund. Distributable cash was $1.3m higher than cash distributions declared to unitholders in the quarter, despite being $0.7m lower than last year, said the Fund. During the quarter, cash and cash equivalents increased by $86.2m as cash generated from operations combined with the $153.8m net proceeds from the trust unit and convertible debenture offerings in October.
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
‘They are Danish electricity guiding for major Dong Energy significant said it increased its improvements in renewable power earnings and that production by is quite a credible eight per cent in guidance. They 2009, to 2,810GW had some achours, and invested counting policies DKK18bn (£2.2bn) that impacted its during the year in results negatively clean energy, dein 2009 and these spite its profit being Dong is stil investing in energy production despite losses will reverse in slashed by more than 2010 and actually three-quarters. contribute positively.’ The company reported a drop in Higher power prices and cost cutting profit of 77 per cent to DKK8.8bn initiatives are also expected to pull-up (£1.07bn) in 2009 from DKK4.8bn revenues in 2010. ($568m) the year before. During the year it brought five new Danske Bank senior analyst Jakob wind farms - Horns Rev 2, Gunfleet Magnussen revealed that Dong had Sands, Karnice 1, Storrun and Avedøre issued prior warnings that earnings – on-stream as it aims to generate 50 would be down in 2009 but its guidper cent of its power from renewable ance that this would rebound during sources by 2020, an increase from 2010 is realistic. today’s level of 15 per cent. ‘They have been guiding throughout Dong also cancelled plans to invest in the year for a very bad result so there coal-fired power plants during the year. was no big surprise,’ Magnussen said.
Ludgate fund predicts IPO opportunities Renewables-focused asset manager Ludgate Environmental Fund’s share price continued to rise in 2009 to 95.5p in the fourth quarter of fiscal year, up from 94.5p in the third quarter and 93.8p in the second quarter. The firm’s highlights for the final quarter of 2009 include £3.8m of new investment across four companies and investing €3m into electronic waste recycling company. At the end of December 2009, Ludgate had completed combined investments totalling £30m across ten companies, representing 62.6 per cent of total net assets, since it was established. Recipient companies include biogas company agri.capital, recycling company Hydrodec Group Oil, waste treatment company New Earth Solutions, food packager Rapid Action Packaging, STX Services environmental broker, waste recycler Terra Nova Electronic, water treatment company Phoslock Water Solutions, turbine manufacturer Emergya Wind Technologies, wind developer Renewable Energy Generation Wind and Azure Dynamics hybrid electric vehicle developer.
listed company results
Renewables targeted by Dong as profits drop steeply
EDP Renováveis shows steep curve in 2009 profits Euronext-listed renewable energy developer EDP Renováveis’ yearly net profits increased ten per cent in 2009 to €114m, up from €104m in 2008. The company’s gross profits also increased 25 per cent to €725m, and EBITDA rose 24 per cent to €543m, with an EBITDA margin of 75 per cent. Total production of electricity rose by 40 per cent to 10.907GWh, of which 54 per cent was derived from the US, 30 per cent from Spain and 16 per cent from Portugal. The company said its installed gross capacity increased 26 per cent by 1.2GW to 6,227MW, giving a compounded annual growth rate of more than 40 per cent since 2006. Its project pipeline grew by 3.9GW to 32.1GW, of which 739MW is under construction.
per cent or €826m was allocated to the US and 55 per cent or €1.02bn to Europe. In the US, the company said it monetised $687m of tax incentives. EDPR said it is working hard to secure long-term contracts to stabilise prices and recently signed a 20-year power purchase agreement to supply the Tennessee Valley Authority from the 115MW Pioneer Wind Farm in Iowa. Total production of EPDR’s electricity rose by 40 per cent With operations in Europe, Brazil, the US and headquarters This year, EDPR has also comin Oviedo, Spain, EDP Renováveis demitted to projects in Italy and in the signs, develops, manages and operates UK, where it was awarded 1.3GW in power plants that generate electricpartnership with SeaEnergy in a highly ity using renewable energy sources. contested wind project bidding round. Lisbon-based utility company Energias EDPR’s total investment value in de Portugal is its majority shareholder. 2009 amounted to €1.85bn, of which 45
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
listed company results
Solar Capital shares hold strong after 2009 results The share price of investment company Solar Capital recovered after an initial drop yesterday after it said it had $863.1m under management at the end of 2009, a month after it raised $109m in an initial public offering (IPO). The debt-investor saw its share price dip in initial trading of its market debut last month as the market for IPOs remained tough. During the final quarter of 2009, Solar invested about $65.3m across one new and one existing portfolio and received proceeds of about $5.6m from principal repayments in seven portfolio companies and $21m from sales of securities. On 9 February, it sold five million shares through the IPO at $18.50 and a further 600,000 through a private placement agreement. In addition, on 2 March its underwriters exercised their over-allotment option and purchased a further 680,945 shares.
Canadian Solar gives optimistic 2010 outlook Solar cell manufacturer Canadian Solar said it remains optimistic about its prospects in 2010 with an increasing customer base in emerging markets and the ability to leverage Canadian feed-in tariffs, as it posted a 2009 revenue decrease of about $40m. Faulty equipment caused the company to cut its margin estimates in previous weeks but Canadian Solar chairman and CEO Dr Shawn Qu said its revenues had rebounded from first quarter figures towards the end of the year. ‘2009 was an important year for Canadian Solar. We made considerable progress in the growth of our company and built out our global customer base,’ Qu said in an earnings call today. Revenues for the year totalled $663.8m, compared with $705m for 2008 with fourth quarter income increasing to $14.9m against a net loss of $49.2m for the fourth quarter of 2008.
Iberdrola to increase US portfolio as 2009’s profits reach €371m
José Ignacio Sanchez Galán, CEO, Iberdrola
Spanish wind energy giant Iberdrola Renovables countered a decline in domestic power profits with strong US growth to post a net profit of €371.1m in 2009. The figure is a decline of 4.9 per cent over the previous year, but thanks to the start up of 1,311MW in operating capacity in the US, the firm expects to increase operating profits by 20 per cent in 2010. Parent-firm Iberdrola said it will also invest $9bn in renewable energy over the next three years, half of its total investment strategy, as it also aims to slash costs by €300m a year by 2012.
Gross operating profit for the Renovables business rose 11.8 per cent to €1.36.bn, driven by its international projects which contributed an additional €216m in EBITDA compared to the previous year and made up 54 per cent of the total. The company increased its installed capacity in the US last year to 3,591MW, in 23 states, and has another 446MW currently under construction. ‘US Treasury grants approved by the US administration underpin further growth in this market at least until 2012, allowing accelerated reinvestments and helping economic recovery in the country,’ Iberdrola said.
Applied Materials raises dividend and launches share buy-back programme Semiconductor equipment maker for the solar industry Applied Materials has increased its dividend by 17 per cent and approved a new stock buyback programme authorising up to $2bn in repurchases over the next three years. The dividend has been increased to seven cents per share, payable on 16 June 2010, up from six pence. Applied Materials chairman and CEO Mike Splinter said the company’s strong financial position and operating cash flow enables it to invest in growth opportunities throughout its business and return cash to its stockholders. ‘Today’s dividend increase reflects our confidence in the company’s near- and long-term prospects for growth and profitability. The buyback programme provides a flexible means to return excess cash to shareholders.’ Applied Materials last raised its dividend in March 2007. As of 31 January 2010, it had about 1.34 billion shares of common stock outstanding. The company manufactures nanotechnology solutions and software products used in solar photovoltaic cells, flat panel displays and semiconductor chips. Last month, it reported net sales in the quarter ended 31 January of $1.85bn and operating profit of $116m.
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
Renewable energy firm China WindPower Group posted a 55 per cent increase in nine-month profit, with income rising to HK$181.2m ($23.24m) from HK$116.8m ($15m), as it announced its 2010 expansion plans. The company also said it plans to invest and construct new wind power projects with total capacity of 700MW in 2010. During the nine months, the group also increased its cash reserves and equivalents to HK$1.11bn ($143m) from HK$745m ($96m). During the reporting period, it signed exclusive development agreements with local governments for wind power resources of 2,250MW, which brought its total reserves of wind power resources to 9,510MW, it said in a statement. China WindPower said 12 of its wind power plants with a capacity of 566MW have begun to generate electricity on-grid and a further four with a capacity of 349MW are under construction. It has also taken over the operation and maintenance service contracts for 12 wind power plants in the Chinese provinces of Liaoning, Jilin and Inner Mongolia. Two of its wind power plants have also secured Clean Development Mechanism registration from the United Nations.
Gamesa predicts tough 2010 as revenue drops to 16 per cent
E.ON investment continues despite drop in 2009 sales Energy group E.ON said it continued to invest in renewables through largescale wind-farm projects in the US and its first solar projects during 2009 despite recording a six per cent drop in sales. E.ON’s adjusted EBITDA of €13.5bn was about one per cent up on the prior-year figure, while its adjusted EBIT of €9.6bn was down by just over two per cent. Sales were down by six per cent to slightly less than €82bn, due to lower prices in the gas wholesale business, foreign exchange rates and lower generation from its nuclear and hydro assets. It said it dropped its overall investments during the year from 2007 and 2008 levels, to €9.2bn, but continued its strong investments in renewables sector. The company said its 2010 forecast is subject to uncertainties similar to those that hampered its 2009 predictions.
Mass Megawatts reports net losses in third quarter Gamesea’ s wind turbine division reported an improved an EBIT margin of 140 basis points
Spanish wind energy generator Gamesa said it predicts a slow first half to the year as it posts a revenue drop of 16 per cent, down to €3.2bn. Not even an efficiency programme which saved the firm €150m stopped it posting a drop of 24 per cent in its EBIT when compared to last year’s figure, down to €177m. Both domestic and worldwide challenges hampered its growth, it said, and entering new markets will be a priority in 2010. It said the drop in consolidation revenues was ‘a result of the weak macroeconomic situation worldwide, which slowed developers’ plans, and the deceleration in the industry in Spain, as well as the company’s focus on aligning
production with customer orders and deliveries.’ Its wind turbine division, however, reported an improved EBIT margin of 140 basis points to 7.2 per cent and over the course of the year it identified 130 cost-saving measures. Gamesa said it expects growth to accelerate in 2011, with a strong growth in sales and margins in excess of 2009 levels but the following year will remain challenging. ‘The volume of installations approved in Spain for 2010 coupled with difficult access to finance worldwide in 2009 suggest that activity will remain sluggish in the first half of 2010, recovering slightly in the second half,’ it said.
listed company results
China WindPower reports profit jump, sets out expansion plans
Massachusetts-based wind company Mass Megawatts Wind Power reported a net loss of one cent per share or $96,935 in its third quarter ending January 2010. In the same period last year, the company reported a net loss of three cents per share or $147,865 for the equivalent quarter. The Mass Megawatts wind power plant, also known as the Multiaxis Turbosystem, recently constructed an improved augmenter, to increase wind velocity. An augmenter increases the harnessed wind velocity in order to increase the power output and the company said the new augmenter technology reduces the cost for heavy and expensive components required by earlier versions of an augmenter.
listed company results
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
Climate Exchange to review dwindling CCX as profits double
Growth of Modern Water’s revenues with China focus
Profits more than doubled in 2009 for trading emissions and environmental products exchange Climate Exchange, jumping to £6.8m from £2.8m in 2008, despite falling volumes on its subsidiary Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), according to its annual fiscal results. The results also show the company’s revenues increased by 48 per cent to £33.6m from £22.7m in 2008. The exchange reported a core business operating profit of £11.5m, nearly twice the value of its recorded 2008 operating profit of £6.3m.Its cash balances including short term investments stood at £19.2 m at the end of the fiscal year compared with £12.4m at the end of 2008, with no external borrowings. While it reported increased profits and revenues in 2009, its chairman Richard Sandor said it will continue to review the performance of CCX, which operates a voluntary but contractually binding cap and trade system for US greenhouse gas emissions, after its volumes continued to dwindle as trading interests migrated on to its environmental product exchange, Chicago Climate Futures Exchange.
AIM-listed Modern Water said its entrance into the Chinese market and the deployment of its technology in Gibraltar and Oman were key factors in the company moving towards commercialisation during 2009, its executive chairman Neil McDougall revealed. The company reported £23.1m cash reserves and no debt at year-end and generated its first revenues from sales of its Cymtox CTM toxicity monitoring unit in China, totalling a full-year profit of £100,000. ‘The Chinese market is looking very exciting for us. These are the first sales we have had of this Nick McDougall, chairman, technology and the Chinese are increasingly taking Modern Water the lead in solving their environmental issues,’ McDougall said. ‘We are now looking to develop further markets for this in the US and Europe but China is taking up a lot of our capacity at the moment so we are very encouraged.’ The company said its Gibraltar plant continues to perform well and its experience in the region has been essential to the success of its larger plant in Oman. McDougall said the global economic crisis, which brought down the profits of many in the clean technology space during 2009, did not adversely affect Modern Water. ‘Our core business has not been that affected by the economic downturn because a lot of what we do is focused on cost reduction and improving the environmental aspects. Those two aspects remain key to most people’s way of thinking at the moment,’ he said.
Enel to merge power assets in Spain Italian power utility Enel may merge its Spanish renewable energy assets and those of Endesa into its Enel Green Power subsidiary ahead of a possible sale this year, according to reports. Endesa, in which it owns 92 per cent after having bought Acciona’s stake in the company in 2008, said it was in talks with Enel about bringing the assets together. Endesa holds 2.7GW of capacity in Spain and Enel has a further 50 per cent stake in its Eufer joint venture with Gas Natural, which amounts to a further 1.2GW. European rivals to the combined entity include Acciona, Iberdrola and EDP Renovaveis.
Phoenix Solar shares jumps as Q4 revenues reaches record high German solar-system integrator Phoenix Solar saw its share price jump today as it recorded its best results yet with revenues for the final quarter of the year totaling €230.8m, almost half of the full-year’s result. Revenues climbed by 127 per cent against the previous year’s quarter with the volume of modules sold raised by almost 70 per cent. Initial trading of its shares climbed to touch €30 in initial trading following the announcement, up nearly €2, before dropping to just below €29 later that day. The company said 2009 was dominated by sales to the German market accompanied by extremely volatile demand and an unexpected downturn in the selling price of
photovoltaic systems. Phoenix Solar CEO Dr Andreas Hänel said the company not only boosted revenues but also succeeded in closing the year profitably. ‘Our flexible business model, which is built on our two segments of components and systems and power plants, enabled us to respond to the difficult situation in the market and to win additional market share,’ he said. He added that the international markets in which it operates were generally slow to develop during the year, disappointing expectations and generating only 5.8 per cent of its revenues. The company has also proposed to pay a dividend of €0.20 per share for the 2009 financial year.
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
UK solar wafer and ingot manufacturer PV Crystalox Solar revelaed it has cut its dividend to reinvest back into the business as it reported an EBIT slide of 53 per cent in 2009. PV Crystalox CEO Dr Iain Dorrity said its performance in 2009 was ‘very credible’ in the face of challenging market conditions that began with the drop-off in the Spain solar market. The company reported an EBIT drop of more than half to €50m from €106.5m and a revenue drop of 13 per cent to €237m. ‘We started the year with the main photovoltaic market in Spain being cut right back. This coupled with the financial crisis, meant demand was very weak in the first half of the year and that led to pricing pressure,’ Dorrity said. ‘But the one benefit of the lower module prices was that it really stimulated the market in Germany.’ He said that Germany is still expected to be the biggest market in 2010 ahead of the cuts to its feed-in tariffs that are expected in July. ‘That is pulling forward a lot of demand that would have been in the second half of the year through to the first. Demand for wafers is still very strong and we have indicated today that we are expecting to shift around 150MWs in the first half of 2010, compared with 100MW for the same period last year,’ Dorrity said. Shares in PV Crystalox were down just over 1.5 per cent on the results announcement and the news that the company was to cut its annual dividend from six to four cents. ‘We have got programmes internally to cut production costs production costs by ten to 15 per cent this year compared to last,’ Dorrity said. ‘We have a strong customer base there. Last year, 56 per cent of our sales were in Japan so we try to operate close to our customers,’ Dorrity said.
Nordex shares rise in face of adverse sales The shares of German wind turbine developer Nordex rose slightly, on news that its sales climbed marginally in the final quarter of 2009, despite a €40m drop in earnings. Nordex achieved an increase in sales in 2009 to €1.18bn from €1.14bn the year before, against what it describes as ‘generally weak market conditions’. The company’s earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) plunged to €40m, down €23m in 2008 and consolidated net profit for fiscal year 2009 totalled €24.2m, against €49.5m the year before. Nordex’s share’s remained stable on 5 March initially after the release as the company recently said it had increased its market share in Italy to 15 per cent and is also working on building itsUS presence. Nordex faced ‘weak market conditions’ Nordex’s liquidity climbed by 43 per cent to around €160m and the company said it was able to achieve a net cash inflow of €9.6m from operating activities primarily as a result of destocking.
Acciona to invest €3.8bn in R&D US renewable energy company Acciona plans to invest around €3.8bn in energy, waste management, R&D and infrastructure between 2010 and 2013, according to its latest strategic plan. The company said it intends to broaden its objectives in the sphere of innovation by investing €400m in R&D and innovation until 2013, implement a sustainability master plan and allocate the equivalent of 5 per cent of dividends a year to social action projects. It added that it will invest around €1bn in energy, increasing installed capacity by 2,745MW in the period, in addition to investing €2bn in infrastructure. An additional €400m will be invested in water treatment and management, said Acciona, predicting that its water treatment and management company Acciona Agua’s revenue will double in the next four years. Overall the company plans to invest €6.5bn between 2010 and 2013 and to bring its debt ratio down to 40 per cent, according to the strategic plan.
Yingli Green Energy posts 4Q loss of $6.6m
listed company results
Solar wafer company PV Crystalox cuts dividend as profits slide
Chinese solar energy company Yingli Green Energy reported a fourth quarter loss of $6.6m due to operating expenses and foreign exchange losses but said it remained confident in its ability to achieve its full-year shipment guidance of up to 1GW. For 2009, its net revenues totaled $1.06bn with photovoltaic (PV) shipments increasing 87 per cent to 525.3MW. It reported gross profit for the year of $251.2m, with a gross margin of 23.6 per cent. NYSE-listed Yingli’s shares dropped on the news from a high of $12.82 to close at $12.12 on the day of the company’s results. Yingli Green Energy CEO and chairman Liansheng Miao said 2009 was a challenging year for the company and the solar industry as a whole, but it was able to emerge as a stronger player with increased shipments.
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
listed company results
BTU forecasts $16m Q1 sales Thermal processing equipment supplier BTU International said it expects first quarter net sales to reach between $15.5m and $16.5m, as it reports a sales drop of more than a third in 2009 against the previous year’s figures. Net sales for the year totaled $45.1m, down 37.6 per cent compared to $72.3m in 2008. Shares of NASDAQ-listed BTU dropped on the news from a high of $5.86 earlier that day to a low of $5.15, settling at $5.34 at close of trading. BTU, which supplies thermal processing equipment and processes to the alternative energy sector, said its fourth quarter net sales were $12.1m, down 2.4 per cent compared to $12.4m in the preceding quarter. Net loss for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $3.9m. BTU chairman and CEO Paul J van der Wansem said the results were in line with the company’s recent expectations. ‘During 2009, we saw our electronics business decline by over 50 per cent compared to 2008 and our solar business did not grow as compared to the prior year,’ van der Wansem said.
Silver Spring Networks tipped for $3bn IPO US smart grid network provider Silver Spring Networks has been tipped as the next cleantech company to list publicly through an IPO, according to reports. A report by Dow Jones has suggested that the company will look to fetch around $3bn from a public sale in July 2010, after recently raising around $300m in capital. Reports also said the company has enlisted Morgan Stanley and Jeffries & Co to underwrite the deal. In the latter half of 2009, Silver Spring Networks entered into agreements with energy supply company OG&E and General Electric Energy (GE) to handle its Positive Energy smart grid programme, which is due to be deployed in Norman, Oklahoma, later this year.
REH moves to full-year profit on sale of CETO Wave Technology
The sale of CETO Wave Technology to Carnegie Wave Energy boosted REH’s profits
AIM-listed Renewable Energy Holdings (REH) is to focus on the wind sector of its business after divesting non-core assets in 2009 as it looks to progress projects in the UK and Poland, the company’s CEO Mike Proffitt said. REH moved to a full-year profit in 2009 after selling its CETO Wave Technology arm to Carnegie Wave Energy in exchange for a 30 per cent stake in the firm and its landfill gas business, Bryn Posteg. Proffitt said the focus will be on developing onshore wind projects going forward as the company moves ahead with projects slowed by the global economic crisis. ‘We were affected by the economic turbulence in so much as quite a few of our pipeline projects have been slowed down,’ he said. REH, which recorded a 2009 profit of £11.2m before tax against a loss of £2.11m the year before, will aim to diversify out of its German wind portfolio by progressing projects in Wales and Poland this year.
Ormat’s reports record revenues for 2009 in contrast to global economy US geothermal company Ormat Technologies’ revenues increased 20.4 per cent for the year 2009 to $415.2m, remaining consistent with the fourth quarter of 2008. Revenues from the company’s product segment for the year shot up by 72.2 per cent to $159.4m, compared to $92.6m in 2008. The company said the increase in product sales was primarily attributable to engineering, procurement and construction contracts for the construction of three large binary geothermal projects in Nevada, New Zealand and Costa Rica. During 2009, the company’s total generation increased by
14 per cent to 3.4 million MWh and the company has a product segment backlog of $90m. The company’s annual net income increased to $68.6m and fourth quarter net income also increased to $16.1m, which Ormat attributed to its product segment and a $13.3m gain from the extinguishment of a liability associated with the sale of equity interests in OPC, as a result of the company’s acquisition of membership units from Lehman Brothers. Earnings per share also increased to $1.51 per share of common stock for 2009 and to $0.35 per share of common stock in the latest quarter.
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
Wind energy developer Clipper Windpower said its president and CEO Doug Pertz has resigned, as it expects to report a loss in the second half of 2009 due to customer order deferrals and increased costs. Mauricio Quintana has been appointed as the new president and CEO, joining from US industrial company United Technologies Corporation (UTC), which in December 2009 took a 49.5 per cent stake in the company. Clipper said its 2009 revenue is expected to total $740m from the sale of 259 turbines, with a cash balance at the end of the year of $62m. Its loss in the second half of 2009 is attributable to customer order deferrals and delayed commissioning of turbines, as well as increased warranty provisions and costs related to the blade remediation programme, it said. Pertz was first appointed as CEO in September 2008, after serving as
COO for five months. Jim Dehlsen, chairman, Clipper Windpower, said, ‘From the time Doug assumed the CEO role, he has faced challenging economic and industry conditions. We recognise his contribution to Clipper’s success and wish him the best in all his future activities,’ Dehlsen said. Pertz guided Clipper through a transitional period in the company’s growth and through the financiallychallenging period of economic and industry downturn during late 2008 and 2009, the company said. Quintana most recently served as director, corporate strategy and development at UTC for the prior two years. Michael Keane, the Clipper’s current CFO has also been appointed to join the board of directors. The investment in Clipper by UTC allowed it to expand its power generation portfolio and enter the wind power segment, it said at the time.
Solar module manufacturer Suntech reports revenue, profit increase in 2009 Solar module manufacturer Suntech Power reported an increase in both revenue and profit for the fourth quarter of 2009, and expects first quarter 2010 shipments to increase by five to ten per cent. The company said it outperformed its guidance with the highest quarterly shipments volume in Suntech’s history Suntech made progress on its cost and continued to extend its market share. reduction initiatives Total revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009 were $583.6m, an increase of 23.4 per cent against the previous quarter with gross margin for its core wafer to module business up 26.33 per cent in the quarter. It also recorded a five per cent gross margin increase of five per cent, which it principally allocated to a decrease in both the cost of silicon wafers and processing cost for the period. Suntech chairman and CEO Dr Zhengrong Shi said the company continued to progress on its cost-reduction initiatives, which enabled it to considerably improve profitability during the quarter. ‘Over the past 12 months, our investment in expanding our deeply experienced European management team helped to enhance our position as a global company with truly localised service capabilities,’ Shi said.
Tainergy Tech to list on Taiwan Stock Exchange Chinese solar cell manufacturer Tainergy Tech will list on the Taiwan Stock Exchange this year and enter loan arrangements to boost its domestic production capacity, according to reports. Tainergy will issue between 20 million and 30 million shares in an initial public offering as it looks to increase production capacity to 1GW by 2014, according to The China Post. It may also sell bonds convertible to stocks and borrow from banks after the listing to supplement the expansion, Daniel Yang, special assistant to the company chairman, said. It will increase its annual capacity in Taiwan to 240MW by the end of the year from today’s capacity of 60MW, the report said.
GT Solar shares fall as it prices secondary offering Solar technology manufacturer GT Solar saw its share price fall initially, as it priced a secondary offering of 25 million shares of common stock at $4.85 each. All shares are being sold by GT Solar Holdings and are at a 5.8 per cent discount to the closing price on 9 March. Its share price dropped more than two per cent shortly after the pricing, to hover just above $5, down from $5.95 before the offering was announced. GT Solar Holdings has granted the underwriters an option to purchase up to an additional 3.75 million shares at the same price. UBS and Credit Suisse are the joint book-running managers for the offering with Thomas Weisel Partners the lead manager. GT Solar went public in July 2008 and last month announced orders totaling more than $200m. The orders included a $137m follow-on order from a large Chinese customer, as well as orders from Tianwei New Energy Holdings and Phoenix Photovoltaic Technology, Yingli Green Energy Holding Company.
listed company results
Clipper Windpower CEO resigns as company posts 2009 second-half loss
listed company results
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
Altagas predicts earnings increase after 2009 dip
Biofuel developer Evogene’s revenues triple in fiscal 2009
US power generation company AltaGas said the addition of the 102MW Bear Mountain Wind Park in October supported mean that it is expected to add to earnings in 2010, which will be its first full year in service. The company’s power segment reported solid results, despite the weakness in Alberta spot power prices. ‘In 2009, we significantly advanced our growth strategy with the completion of two major capital projects – the 102MW Bear Mountain Wind Park in north-east British Columbia and the 5.3 Bcf Sarnia natural gas storage facility in southern Ontario – as well as the acquisition of the natural gas distribution assets,’ said Cornhill. ‘We remain committed to growing our gas and power segments, with approximately $2bn of organic growth projects over the next five years.’ AltaGas completed several financing initiatives in 2009, including a $100m equity issuance, a new $250m credit facility and $300m in medium term notes. The company recently acquired assets such as the Bear Mountain Wind Park and natural gas distribution assets, as well as credit rating upgrades from both Standard and Poors and Dominion Bond Rating Services. The company’s power segment reported lower results primarily, it said, due to higher volumes sold at low spot power prices, but benefited from lower transmission and environmental costs, as well as contributions from Bear Mountain Wind Park which commenced commercial operations in fourth quarter 2009. The company’s power segment comprises 392MW of total power generation capacity in Alberta through a 50 per cent ownership interest in the Sundance B power purchase agreements, a 25 per cent interest in a 7MW run-of-river hydroelectric generation facility in British Columbia, and a 102MW wind park in British Columbia. Operating income in the Power Segment in fourth quarter 2009 was $22.9m compared to $32.5m for the same period in 2008.
Israel-based biofuel developer Evogene’s revenues for fiscal 2009 nearly tripled to $10m at the end of the year, compared to $3.4m for the same period in 2008. The company’s revenues for the fourth quarter of 2009 were $2.6m, compared to $2.3m for the same period in 2008. Evogene said revenues for the year and the fourth quarters of 2008 and 2009 included funds generated mainly under the collaboration with Monsanto. The company develops plant traits for the agriculture and biofuel industries through plant genomics, with a technology platform based on its Athlete computational core technology for gene discovery and high throughput systems for gene validation. Its development programmes focus improved yield, biotic and a-biotic stresses tolerance, and the improvement of plants specifically for biofuel uses. Its profit from ordinary operations for the year was $266,000, compared to a loss from ordinary operations of $4.1m in the same period in 2008. Loss from ordinary operations for the fourth quarter of 2009 was $481,000, compared to a profit from ordinary operations of $836,000 in the same period of 2008. In 2009, Evogene also expanded field trials in Texas and Brazil for its castor bean lines developed as a feedstock for biodiesel production. Ofer Haviv, Evogene’s president and CEO, said, ‘We are extremely pleased to see the continuing rapid growth and development of our company. During the past year, we continued to advance under our current collaborations, entered into new collaborations with world leading seed companies, substantially increased our infrastructure and capacity and furthered the evaluation of our castor bean lines being developed for biodiesel uses.’
Ocean Power Technologies reduces losses on back of last year’s increased profit Wave energy developer Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) reduced its net loss in the last nine months of 2009, as it increased profits despite a drop in revenues. OPT’s reduced its net loss for the nine months ended 31 January to $12.9m, compared with $13.6m the corresponding period the year before. The company said this was primarily due to an increase in gross profit, up to $500,000 profit from a loss of the same amount the year previously and an increase in foreign exchange gains. These positives, the company said, were offset with an increase in development costs and a decrease in interest income as a result of lower interest rates and a decline in cash equivalents and marketable securities, which totalled $71.3m at the end of the period. During the year, Charles Dunleavy was elected as CEO having served with the company for the past 15 years, OPT said. It has also been awarded with a €2.2m contract from the European Commission to deliver its proprietary PowerBuoy wave energy device and a wave-by-wave tuning system. In the past three months the company increased its revenues by 47 per cent to $900,000 compared with $600,000, a drop of 11 per cent on the previous year’s figure. The decrease, it said, was largely a decline in work at its project for the US Navy in Hawaii. Dunleavy said the company strengthened its global presence during the period and remained focused on its flagship projects. ‘We are delighted that we have received several significant funding awards and have been given the opportunity to use our expertise and technology to help the world’s authorities achieve their renewable energy goals,’ Dunleavy said. ‘We believe that OPT is well-positioned to continue to benefit from the growing interest in.’
LISTED COMPANY RESULTS
NASDAQ-listed renewable oil company Neste Oil’s operating profit in 2009 increased to €318m in 2009 from €183m in 2008, though the company’s revenue decreased in 2009 to €7.63bn from €12.64bn, according to its recent annual report. The company said it focused on implementing a cost-cutting programme designed to save €60m, enhancing management of its working capital and improving internal efficiency. It added that Sweden, Canada and the US were its most important gasoline export markets, accounting for 82 per cent of gasoline exports. In a letter to its shareholders, the company’s president and CEO Matti Lievonen said the company has restructured the organisation and operating model to improve cost-efficiency as 2010 looks set to be a challenging year. He added that its most important short-term goals are the success of the
Neste said that its cost-cutting programme helped improve its eternal efficiency
company’s strategic growth projects in Singapore, Rotterdam and Bahrain. Neste Oil’s total refining margin in 2009 stood at $7.35 bbl compared to $13.39 bbl in 2008. The company imported 14.7m tons of crude oil and other feedstocks into Finland in 2009, about 84 per cent
of which originated from Russia and other former Soviet Union countries. Jarmo Honkamaa, head of oil refining at Neste Oil, said, ‘The successful start-up of the second NExBTL plant at Porvoo had a positive impact on sales volumes at Renewable Fuels in the second half of 2009.’
Abengoa’s enjoys favourable 2009 SolarWorld posts Madrid Stock Exchange-listed Abengoa has achieved a profitable double-digit growth rate, which it said is a product of concentrating its efforts on high-growth businesses that offer innovate solutions for sustainability and our focus on geographical diversification. The company’s consolidated sales increase by ten per cent in the latest fiscal year and reached €4.147bn, generating an EBITDA figure of €750m, a 39 per cent increase on the last year. The earnings after tax attributable to the parent company reached €170m, which is a 21 per cent increase on the previous year’s figure of €140m. Sales by the company’s solar business group increased by 78 per cent to €116m compared to €65m the year before, and included the start up of the 20MW PS 20 solar plant using tower technology. The bioenergy business group recorded sales of €1.010bn compared to €830m in the previous period, an incline of 22 per cent. The company said the improvement is basically the result of higher sales volumes in Europe, due to the start of year-round operations at both the Lacq, France, and Salamanca, Spain, plants and the higher sugar prices in Brazil. The environmental services business unit’s sales were €722m in 2009, compared to €873m for the same period the previous year, with a 17 per cent decrease, which the company said is mainly the result of a reduction in the volume of waste treated across all areas of the group due to lower levels of industrial activity in Europe. At 31 December 2009, Abengoa’s engineering and projects order book was worth €7.655bn, an 86 per cent increase compared to December 2008 and equivalent to 26 months of sales in contract activities.
2009 revenue of more than €1bn
listed company results
Neste Oil increases profits despite drop in revenue, annual fiscal report shows
Solar installation manufacturer SolarWorld has beat forecasts and sustained itself against the market downturn which has hit competitors in 2009 by posting revenues of more than €1bn. The German company, which started as a solar trading house and is now the country’s largest solar company by revenue, posted an increase in revenues to €1.013bn, up from €900.3m in 2008 and said it predicts building on this figure in 2010. ‘We plan to continuously exceed the previous year’s revenue level of €1bn in 2010,’ it said in a statement. SolarWorld, which makes components for a variety of solar installations, said the full utilisation of the group’s production capacities meant it was possible for it to outperform its revenue target, in spite of an industry-wide decline of prices by one-third.
Clipperton Finance appoints Callow
Avantium appoints former Shell CTO to supervisory board
Technology-focused corporate finance boutique Clipperton Finance has appointed Mike Callow to its London office where he joins from European and North American technology growth equity investor Kennet Partners. Callow has eight years experience in the European M&A and technology fields, including as a strategy consultant at PwC Strategy Group. Callow said he is excited to be joining the firm at this stage of its growth. ‘The partners have an exceptional track record in helping companies find the right investors to accelerate their growth and the best acquirers to realise the value they have built,’ he said.
Dutch energy technology company Avantium has appointed Dr Jan van der Eijk to its supervisory board. Van der Eijk was the first CTO of Royal Dutch Shell and his 30-year career with the company covered a wide range of research, technology and business management positions in the Netherlands, the UK and the US. ‘Adding an industry expert like Jan van der Eijk is empowering our supervisory board. He has been actively involved in a broad range of chemical and cleantech innovations at Shell,’ said Tom van Aken, CEO of Avantium, said. ‘He has impressive firsthand experience in bringing new technologies from the laboratory into today’s industrial environment.’ With headquarters in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Avantium develops
Bandukwala joins Stifel’s cleantech banking group Brokerage and banking firm Stifel, Nicolaus & Company has appointed Shez Bandukwala as head of its cleantech investment banking team as two other former ThinkEquity bankers also join the company. Banukwala was previously group head of the greentech and alternative energy practice ThinkEquity and before that worked as investment banker at William Blair & Company.
Tolhurst elected to SwissINSO board Solar technology company SwissINSO Holding has added Timothy Tolhurst to its board of directors. Tolhurst is currently executive vice president for Dutch life sciences company DSM, and was previously global vice president, global supply for Firmenich, the largest privately-held specialty flavours and fragrances company in the world.
Jan van der Eijk joins Avantium
products and processes in the area of biofuels, bio-based chemicals and novel crystal forms of existing drugs by applying its proprietary R&D technology. The company’s customer base includes BP, Shell, Sasol, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.
United Nations selects advisory group to mobilise climate change funds The United National has selected members for a new international advisory group focused on climate change financing that will work towards mobilising funds that were discussed at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen last December. The group will consist of 19 members and will aim to study the potential sources of revenue for finance mitigation and adaptation activities in developing countries. The High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing will be co-chaired by UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Additional members include Brazil’s under-secretary general for economic and technological affairs, ministry of external relations ambassador Pedro Luiz Carneiro de Mendonça, Mexico’s minister of finance Ernesto Cordero Arroyo and Deutsche Bank Group vice-chairman Caio Koch-Weser.
Entech announces management change US renewable energy technology developer Entech Solar CFO Sandra J Martin has resigned. She also held the position of chief accounting officer. ‘I am thankful to have had the opportunity to work with the Company and want to express my sin-
cere wishes for continued success to the entire Entech Solar team,’ said Martin. Entech recently entered into a preferred stock purchase agreement with Socius Capital Group, a Delaware-based limited liability company doing business.
Foresight names solar investment director
Federico Giannandrea, Foresight
pertise will help us optimise the execution of these transactions,’ said Jamie Richards, CEO of Foresight Solar. ‘His legal background adds a new dimension to the team and we are very pleased to have him on board,’ Richards added.
Princeton Power appoints Morgan to board of directors US clean power conversion and microgrid company Princeton Power Systems has appointed electrical utility veteran Stephen Morgan to its board of directors. With 33 years of experience in electrical utilities under his belt, Morgan served as president, CEO and chairman of the board of US electric utility Jersey Central Power and Light Company (JCP&L), a FirstEnergy subsidiary, until retiring at the start of September 2009. Dr Ed Zschau, chairman of the board, said, ‘As Princeton Power Systems plays an increasingly significant role in deploying advanced alternative energy systems, Steve Morgan will provide the company and our customers with the insight, guidance, and understanding of energy markets to enable Princeton Power to deliver the best value to our customers and users of those systems.’
RenewableUK appoints Senergy’s Nicholson as head of grid Strategy and business development director for Senergy Econnect, Guy Nicholson, has been appointed head of grid for UK renewable energy industry body RenewableUK. ‘We see the position of head of grid as crucial in both the strategic advisory
Solar micro-inverter company Enecsys has appointed Bernd Kohlstruck as vice president of sales and marketing, Europe. He will also take up the position of managing director of newly launched division, Enecsys Europe, located near Frankfurt, Germany. Kohlstruck joins Enecsys after nine years with Xantrex Technology, where he was vice president of the wind and European solar business and managing director in Berlin, Germany. Prior to that, he was managing director at Alstom/Ballard, a joint venture between fuel cell company Ballard Power Systems and Alstom.
role when it comes to government and industry consultations and also in terms of raising public and media awareness on the currently topical issues of renewable energy grid integration,’ said Gordon Edge, RenewableUK director of economics and markets.
NEA hires Ron Bernal as venture partner Technology-focused venture capital firm New Enterprise Associates (NEA) has appointed industry veteran Ron Bernal has joined the firm as a venture partner. In this new role, Bernal, a former entrepreneurin-residence with NEA will work with the firm’s enterprise infrastructure and services, electronics and energy technology teams. Bernal was most recently a partner at Sequel Venture Partners where he focused on clean technology, enterprise infrastructure and enterprise software investments. While at Sequel he led the firm’s investment in HelioVolt and serves on the board.
UK-based alternative asset manager Foresight Group has appointed Federico Giannandrea as investment director, where he will be responsible for originating, structuring and executing solar photovoltaic (PV) transactions. Giannandrea joined Foresight from Deutsche Bank spin-off Absolute Energy Capital where he was COO and head of legal. In this role he controlled the budget and the compliance function, and as head of legal, he was involved in the development of the renewable energy pipeline, negotiations of the strategic partnerships and the construction of an 8MW solar plant in southern Italy. ‘Federico joins us at a time when the size of projects we are executing has increased significantly and so his ex-
Enecsys appoints Kohlstruck to head European operations
XcelPlus Global appoints CFO XcelPlus Global Holdings, a Pink Sheetslisted manufacturer and distributor of industrial biofuels, has engaged Beringer Financial Services Group to provide financial consulting and appointed Beringer’s Charles Blackmon as its CFO. Blackmon previously served as the CFO for NYSE-listed Interline Brands, a marketer and distributor of maintenance, repair and operations products, and for American Buildings Company during the five years it was a public company from 1994 to 1999. He has also served in various financial positions for several private companies.
Recurrent names head of engineering
Recurrent Energy, an independent power producer and developer of distributed solar power projects, has hired Patrick Caramante as the company’s new vice president of engineering & construction. In this role, Caramante will be responsible for the design, installation, commissioning, and operation of Recurrent Energy’s portfolio of distributed-scale solar projects. ‘Pat adds to the team’s depth of experience in energy project engineering, construction, and operations,’ said Arno Harris, CEO of Recurrent Energy.
Patrick Caramante, Recurrent Energy
‘Through his experience managing more than 750MW of power assets throughout his career, he strengthens
our leadership team in key functional areas as we transition into building significant volumes from our pipeline.’ Caramante has over 30 years experience in the power generation industry, including ten years in renewable energy technologies. He was most recently vice president of Engineering for FirstWind, where he was responsible for technical support to FirstWind’s development, construction, and operations groups. Previously, he was vice president of independent engineering and consulting firm Garrad Hassan America.
Kirsch joins Cliffs Natural Resources as director
CEO Milner resigns after Q-Cells suffers €1.4 bn loss
Mining and natural resources company Cliffs Natural Resources has appointed James F Kirsch as a director. Kirsch also currently serves as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ferro Corporation. Kirsch joined Ferro in 2004 as president and COO. He became president and CEO in 2005 and added responsibilities as chairman in 2006. He began his career with The Dow Chemical Company, where he spent 19 years including positions as global business director of propylene oxide and derivatives and global vice president of electrochemicals.
The co-founder and CEO of German solar power company Q-Cells Anton Milner has resigned with immediate effect, after the company posted a 2009 loss of €1.4bn. Milner will be replaced by the current CFO, Nedim Cen, who will serve in both positions going forward and will ensure a swift transformation of the business, Q-Cells said in a statement. In February, the company announced losses of €1.4bn in 2009, with a full year operating loss of €481m, compared to a profit of €205.1m in 2008. Cen began as CFO in June 2009,
Executive decision: Anton Miller
joining from restructuring consultants Alvarez&Marsal (A&M), but will now remain in office until the foundation for the transformation of the business is established, the company said.
Soliant Energy adds Jamison to exec team
Duoyuan appoints Nickols as director
Soliant Energy, a US provider of concentrated solar energy systems, has appointed Ben Jamison as vice president of marketing, reporting to Terry Bailey, chairman and CEO. In his new role, Jamison will take on responsibility for all marketing related activities at Soliant, including product management and field applications. ‘Soliant presents one of those rare combinations of right company with the right product at just the right time,’ said Jamison.
Chinese domestic water treatment equipment supplier Duoyuan Global Water has appointed engineering and construction specialist David Nickols to its board of directors. Until recently, Nickols was the Europe, Middle East, Africa and India president for wet infrastructure engineering firm MWH Global. Prior to MWH, he served as the president of water, Europe, for global power and construction firm Black & Vetch. Duoyuan chairman and CEO Wenhua Goa said Nickols will contribute to the company’s vision of becoming a leading player in China’s fast-growing water treatment market. ‘His proven leadership in executing all aspects of international water infrastructure projects will further strengthen our ability to compete with local as well as international competitors,’ Goa said.
Future Capital Partners, a £6bn alternative investment boutique, has appointed Esther Lewis as business development manager. The latest in a string of new additions to an enhanced business development team over the last quarter, Lewis will report to Piers Denne, recently hired to take on an expanded head of sales and marketing role. The firm said the strengthened team will drive the marketing campaign for its range of investment products, including the recently launched Future Fuels, an investment partnership that will fund and build a renewable transport fuel plant in the North of England that the firm expects to yield returns of over 30 per cent per annum over a five to sevenyear period. Head of sales and marketing at Future
Esther Lewis, Future Capital Partners
Capital Partners, Piers Denne, said, ‘Bringing Esther in to join our rapidly growing business development team is further indication of Future Capital Partner’s expansive growth plan.
Harrison joins Plane Tree Capital Clean energy investment management firm Plane Tree Capital has appointed David Harrison as its non-executive chairman where he joins from Macquarie Infrastructure Group. Harrison has 20 years experience in buy-side investments in the financial services and during his 11 years at Macquarie he built out the infrastructure funds group from an initial team of eight people. Over that period Harrison acquired, managed or divested infrastructure investments on behalf of Macquarie managed funds with an enterprise value in excess of $25bn. Plane Tree CEO Francisco Roque de Pinho said Harrison’s experience in helping to build an asset management business is a key area of focus for the company.
Impax expands marketing team
Wilhelm elected as president of EPIA
Specialist environmental investment company Impax Asset Management Group has appointed Dean Palin and Natalie Over to its marketing team. The company has appointed Palin as head of trading, who formerly worked in foreign exchange at Westpac Institutional Bank, Barclays Bank International and Fidelity Investments, and in fixed income at Lehman Brothers. Over joins from Osmosis Investments where she was investor relations executive. Prior to that, Natalie spent two years in marketing at New Star Asset Management.
Enel Green Power executive vicepresident Ingmar Wilhelm has been elected as new president of renewable energy industry group European Photovoltaic Industry Association (EPIA). He arrived in Enel in 2003 and was responsible for the origination and trading of power in Europe. From 2006 onwards, he managed sales, marketing and supply of power and gas in the liberalised Italian energy market. Prior to his time at Enel, he worked for over twelve years with utilities in Germany and France.
Siemens Wind Power CEO leaves to head REpower The head of Siemens’ wind power division, Andreas Nauen, has left to become chief executive of rival wind company REpower. Jens-Peter Saul has been appointed as the replacement CEO of the Siemens Wind Power Business Unit headquartered in Brande, Denmark, to succeed Nauen who is leaving through his own decision, Siemens said. Nauen, who will resign by 1 October from the management of Siemens’ wind business, valued at €3bn, said REpower has a well deserved reputation for engineering, innovation, quality and customer experience. ‘It has an impressive order book and my task is to now take that success and grow it, sustainably, further and faster, together with securing our place in the market as a technology leader,’ he said.
Solar Millennium CEO resigns after three months
Future Capital Partners appoints business development manager
The chief executive of solar-thermal power plant operator Solar Millennium Dr Utz Claassen has resigned after just three months in the job, sending shares of the German company sliding. Claassen’s resignation came as a surprise to the company, according to Solar Millenium chairman of the supervisory board Helmut Pflaumer. ‘The resignation came unexpectedly for the supervisory board. We respect the decision and welcome his intention to remain on friendly terms with the company,’ Pflaumer said. Solar Millennium said the resignation refers is based on a contractual rights to step down from his office. Trading activity spiked on Deutsche Börse’s Xetra trading platform but its share price slumped to €23.28 on 16 March from €28.78 the previous day. The company, which specialises in parabolic trough power plants, first announced Claassen’s appointment in December 2009.
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Bosnia and Herzegovina
Funding Opportunity: €2m ($2.7m) Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 12 months
Email: Deals@EnvirotechInvestor.com Phone: +44 (0)20 7845 7576
Company Profile: Founded in 2006, Bosnia and Herzegovina-based Turbina develops and manufactures small-scale vertical-axis wind turbine technologies. In 2009, the German holding company Turbina ecoTech was founded, and is responsible for sales and finance. The management team has a technical focus, with over 20 years’ experience working with renewable energy engineering. The company has received approximately €500,000 investment to date, with its current shareholders being Munich-based AV Ventures as well as the Turbina management. The company received an innovation award from the World Bank in 2006 worth $35,000 and has an existing revenue stream, with orders received from across Europe, Africa, India and the US. The company is currently working with Slovenian telecom operator Sitel to use its technologies to power off-grid communications towers, and in December 2009 signed an agreement with strategic marketing partner Ogilvy.
Funding Opportunity: Turbina is planning to raise €2m in equity investment over the next 12 months, divided into two tranches of €1m. The company plans to raise the first €1m within the next three months, with the second tranche likely to be targeted 12 months later. Technology: Turbina’s technology has been in development since 1997, and the company claims to have developed a design for small-scale vertical-axis turbines with low production costs and several features that make it suitable for a wide range of applications. The design is compact, durable, silent, indifferent to wind direction and can operate at lower wind speeds (1.5 mps) than competitor designs, according to CEO Miroslav Tesic. Turbina holds European and international patents on its wind technologies. Business Plan: Having successfully completed its prototyping phase, Turbina is planning to use new funds raised to start mass production, according to CEO Tesic. The company claims to have signed a distribution agreement with a Gulf state that will result in sales of at least €2.7m over the first three years. Further R&D activities, particularly looking at the use of lightweight composite materials in turbine production, will also be undertaken, while the product portfolio will be expanded to incorporate turbines with different output capacities. Additions will be made to the management team in order to support commercial rollout and growth, while this investment will also fund marketing and public relations activities. The company is particularly focused on pursuing urban markets. Source: Interview with management Contact: Miroslav Tesic, CEO Email: email@example.com Tel: +387 (0)51 542 250
DEAL RADAR Greece
Funding Opportunity: €1.5m ($2m) Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 9-12 months
Company Profile: Founded in 2005, Greece-based Geomorph Instruments develops renewable energy and water treatment technologies. The management team embodies a range of experience within both the science and business sectors. Geomorph received €4m in A-round financing in March 2010, with investors including a Greek Bank and Saudi Arabian venture capital firm. The company is currently collaborating with several research institutions, including MIT and Rice University in the US.
Funding Opportunity: Geomorph is planning to raise €1.5m in equity investment in 9-12 months. Technology: Geomorph has developed a low-cost, low-energy and chemical-free technology that utilises ultrasound and UV technology to remove both pollutants and bacteria from water, according to managing director Micahel Arvanitis. The technology can be used on both a small and large scale, and the company envisage applicability across a wide range of industries, including agriculture, food and pharmaceutical production and domestic water supply. The company is planning to apply for IP protection within the next six months. Business Plan: With the prototype already working, Geomorph will continue to refine its technology over the next six months. The bulk of the €4m recently received will be used to build production facilities, with the further €1.5m sought primarily to undertake promotion and marketing activities. Source: Interview with management
Funding Opportunity: £2.5m (3.8m) Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 3 months
Company Profile: Established in 2007 through the merger of Alternative Fuel Systems and Fuel Cell Control, UK-based Diverse Energy develops fuel cell systems for off-grid applications. To date the company has been funded by two angel investors, including a co-founder of Celtel, a pioneer of low-cost telecommunications in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, the company has been awarded approximately £900,000 in grants, including a £650,000 award from the UK Technology Strategy Board. The management team has over 30 years experience in business development within the computer industry and over 50 years in the alternative energy industry. The company has recently completed testing with a major international telecommunications equipment manufacturer and are pursuing projects in partnership with various installers and maintainers. Diverse Energy recently won a UK government innovation award.
Contact: Michael Arvanitis, Managing Director Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +30 210 422 6855
Funding Opportunity: Diverse Energy is planning to raise £2.5m in Series A investment, and would be particularly interested in talking with investors who are familiar with telecoms, cleantech and/or African markets. The company believes that this investment will enable it to reach profitability within 18 months and estimates delivering a 5x return to investors over the next three years. Technology: Diverse Energy’s PowerCube systems use its ammonia cracker technology to create a reliable and inexpensive power system. In comparison to diesel generators, the company claims that its PowerCube offers an 80 per cent C02 emission reduction and 25 per cent reduction in total cost of operation over a five year period (with a two year pay back). These systems also have lower maintenance requirements and benefit from faster installation, according to operations director Dr Alastair Livesey. Moreover, the PowerCube produces around 10 litre of water per day and 100kg of fertiliser per annum as by-products. The company claim that its technology offers a faster pay-back than solar/wind alternatives and are more secure than solar panels, which are vulnerable to theft. The company’s initial focus will be on deploying the PowerCube to power off-grid communication towers, but it may also be applicable for other distributed power requirements, for example in remote clinics, internet kiosks and roadside/railway-side signals. The ammonia cracker may potentially be applicable to other hydrogen-production activities. Business Plan: Diverse Energy plans to use new funds raised to process its sales pipeline, complete an assembly facility in Slinfold, UK and expand its sales and marketing activities. Africa and Asia (especially the Indian sub-continent and Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia) are the main target markets, while Latin America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe are also seen as important. The company plans to reinvest initial profits in order to scale-up its production facilities and fund further aggressive growth. Source: Interview with management Contact: Dr Alastair Livesey, Operations Director Email: email@example.com Tel: +44 (0) 1403 792 012 www.EnvirotechInvestor.com
DEAL RADAR UK
Funding Opportunity: £1.3m ($2m) Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 6-18 months
Company Profile: Established in 1996, UK-based Earthcare Products develops refrigerant technologies and provides consulting to the construction industry on green cooling technologies. The management team embodies more than 25 years of experience within the refrigerant industry, as well as almost 30 years experience within corporate finance and business development. The company has an existing revenue stream, according to CEO Nicholas Cox, with previous clients including pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline and Heathrow Terminal 5. Orders worth approximately £300,000 are currently being processed, and should be completed by April. In October 2006, the company received £375,000 from E-Synergy’s Sustainable Technology Fund, comprising a £175,000 loan repayable in 2012 and a £200,000 equity investment. The company has received a further £100,000 in equity investment from private investors.
Funding Opportunity: Earthcare Products is planning to raise a total of £1.3m, comprising an initial tranche of £300,000 over the next six months, and a further £1m by mid 2011. This would ideally be sourced from a strategic partner.
Technology: Earthcare Products has developed high pressure alternatives to the low pressure refrigerants prevalent throughout the refrigeration industry. This enables the company’s technologies to be more efficient and compact, according to CEO Nicholas Cox. The technology is applicable within car air conditioning units and commercial supermarket refrigeration. In addition, Earthcare has signed an agreement with the Odessa State Academy of Refrigeration in Ukraine, which gives the company the exclusive right to commercialise research into low-impact refrigerants and associated systems. Earthcare holds several patents over its technologies, with a further three pending. Business Plan: Earthcare plans to use new funding raised to restructure its business, appoint new management personnel and complete the commercial testing of its refrigerants designed for retail applications. The investment will also be used as working capital to fund pipeline construction and consultancy projects, as well as secure comprehensive international patent protection. The company estimates that it will take around 12 months to get to commercialisation after the initial £300,000 investment, at which point it will look to raise around £1m to fund expansion. Earthcare envisages exiting through a trade sale within two to four years. The company plans to focus on the European market, although China is a longer-term target. Source: Interview with management
Contact: Nicholas Cox, CEO Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sweden
Funding Opportunity: €2m ($2.7m) Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 9 months
Tel: +44 (0)1920 444 082 Energy Efficiency
Company Profile: Founded in 2005, Sweden-based Heliospectra develops energy-saving technologies for crop-growing applications. To date the company has received around €2m of funding, with previous investors including Wood & Hill Investment. With a research background in biology, the scientific team brings expertise in plant development, while CEO Staffan Hillberg brings over ten years of experience in developing international start-ups.
Funding Opportunity: Heliospectra is planning to raise $2m in equity investment by the end of 2010. The company is particularly interested in speaking with investors that can help with international expansion, and is likely to seek further expansion capital within the next two years. Technology: According to CEO Staffan Hillberg, the company’s intelligent High Brightness Light Emitting Diode System is more powerful, durable and versatile than currently available High Intensity Discharge lamps. The company claim that their technology, in combination with its proprietary smart control system, will reduce energy consumption by 50 per cent in comparison to current technologies, while concurrently improving crop yields and quality. Target markets include greenhouse installations, the aquaculture industry and tree nurseries. This technology can also be adapted to meet specific customer needs. Heliospectra has PCT patents pending over its technology. Business Plan: Heliospectra will use new funding raised to hire production and design engineers and complete the development of its next generation lamp system. Sales staff will also be recruited and the order pipeline processed. Customers are currently lined up in Sweden, Brazil and Singapore, and include Santa Maria International and Research Biotron. Source: Interview with management Contact: Staffan Hillberg, CEO Email: email@example.com
Tel: +46 (0)708 36 59 44
DEAL RADAR UK
Funding Opportunity: £1.35m ($2m) Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 3-12 months
Company Profile: Established in late 2009, IPSOL Energy offers business and technical solutions to the solar photovoltaic market with a focus on testing and certification. IPSO Ventures invested £150,000 in the company last year, helping to establish the business. IPSOL secured its first contract within two months in December 2009, with leading UKbased solar PV company Solarcentury. The management team has significant experience with developing start-up ventures, as well as working within the renewable energy sector, and includes the former CEO of San Francisco-based solar thermal developer BridgeTech Industries. The company has a strategic partnership with Loughborough University’s Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology (CREST) in the UK, which has invested more than £1m in the development of solar testing technologies to date.
Funding Opportunity: IPSOL is planning to raise a total of £1.35m in equity investment. An immediate initial investment of £350,000 is required, with an additional £1m in one year. Technology: IPSOL’s focus is on providing third-party validation through its testing, measurement and certification services. The company is developing the UK’s first independent accredited commercial PV testing facility, addressing a perceived market shortage, and claims to offer particular expertise in new PV technologies such as thin-film.
Contact: Peter Khoury, CEO Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Israel
Funding Opportunity: $8m Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 6-36 months
Tel: +44 (0)20 7921 2998 Bioenergy
Company Profile: Founded in 2008, Israel-based TransAlgae develops transgenic algae biotechnologies to produce liquid fuel, protein and other co-products. The company has a research centre located at the Weizmann Science Park in Rehovot, Israel and a business development office in Ohio. TransAlgae has fully developed the first generation of its transgenic algae and has established a field research site at a 400MW gas-fired power station in a joint venture with the Israeli Electric Company. The company’s scientific team is led by Professor Jonathan Gressel, winner of the 2010 Israel Prize in Agriculture, and includes six PhD holders from a range of disciplines including genetic engineering and marine agriculture. The executive team also includes president Brent Clapacs, who brings over 20 years of experience from the financial sector, and a CEO with more than 20 years’ experience in strategic project development for the Israeli government. TransAlgae is currently developing joint ventures with a harvesting technology supplier and a fish feed producer. TransAlgae has also signed an MoU with Endicott Biofuels of Houston, which is researching the use of algae as a biofuel feedstock. To date the company has been funded by angel investors, including Daniel Gressel, founder of Teleos Management.
Business Plan: The initial tranche of investment will be used as working capital to develop the business, with the second investment to fund the construction of a new testing facility. IPSOL plans ultimately to further develop its portfolio of services by offering consulting and installation services. The company anticipates generating profits of more than £1m by 2012 and envisages a trade sale to an industry leader within three years. Source: Interview with management
Funding Opportunity: TransAlgae is planning to raise $10m-15m in equity investment over the next three years. Technology: Transalgae focuses on enhancing the genetic traits of algae in order to increase its harvest reliability. The company’s scientific team has developed a unique platform for genentic transformations in algae, according to president Brent Clapacs. In addition to higher productivity, the genetic approach enables production of multiple high-quality products, bio-safety mechanisms and contamination resistance. The company has submitted eight core patents, relating to its production technologies, harvesting processes and gene modification, in the US, PCT and non-PCT countries (Argentina, Chile and Peru). Business Plan: The company plans to use new funding raised to further develop its technology in order to reach price-parity with other feedstocks over the next three to five years. In the medium term, the company will work with organisations operating within the chemical industry as well as academic and research institutions to investigate application of its technologies to the synthesis of mid and high value products such as lubricants, supplements and industrial precursors. In the short term, TransAlgae will continue to work with its joint venture partner in the fish feed industry to complete the development of its algae strains as a fish feed supplement. Source: Interview with management Contact (USA): Brent Clapacs, President Email: email@example.com Tel: +1 440 423 0520 Contact (Israel): Nellya Litae, Head of Business Development Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: +972 893 66 167 www.EnvirotechInvestor.com
DEAL RADAR Canada
Funding Opportunity: CAN$5m ($4.9m) Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 24 months
Mantra Venture Group
Company Profile: Headquartered in Vancouver, Mantra Venture Group was established in 2007 as a diversified cleantech company that acquires promising technologies to bring to commercialisation. The company’s current focus is on renewable energy and the capture/recycling of CO2. The management team embodies more than 35 years of business financing and development experience, more than 40 years of chemical industry experience and more than 30 years of technology evaluation. To date, Mantra has received $2.5m funding from angel investors. The company has established collaborative partnerships with 3M, KC Cottrell, Granit and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, as well as a research partnership with Kemetco Research. Mantra floated in 2008 and is quoted on the OTC BB and Frankfurt stock exchanges.
Funding Opportunity: Mantra is planning to raise CAN$5m over the next two years. The company expects that this will be supplemented by a further CAN$2m of revenue generated through early licensing, cost sharing and grant programmes.
Technology: Mantra uses a process called Electroduction of Carbon Dioxide (ERC) to combine CO2 with water in order to produce high-value products traditionally obtained from thermochemical processing of fossil fuels. Examples include formic acid, formate salts, oxalic acid and methanol. This chemical processing technology was wholly acquired by Mantra in November 2008 from the University of British Columbia’s Clean Energy Research Centre. Target markets include coal-fired power plants, the chemicals industry, steel industry, pulp processing facilities as well as further applications currently under development. Mantra’s process is less expensive and carries fewer risks than carbon capture and storage, according to the company, and will generate revenue through the sale of end products, as well as carbon credits. The company currently has patent protection pending over its ERC technology. Business Plan: Mantra will use new funding gained to further develop its technology to the point of commercialisation. The company is currently in talks with a Korean and American company over future licensing of its technology, and will be looking to enter the European market. Source: Interview with management Contact: Kol Henrikson, Head of Investor Relations Email: email@example.com Tel: +1 877 609 2898 Canada
Funding Opportunity: $8m Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 3-6 months
Company Profile: Montreal-based Novo Energies develops technologies designed to generate electricity from plastic waste and used tyres. The executive board brings experience from the petro-chemical and financial industries, and incorporates over 25 years of experience in the chemical and biotechnological sector, as well as over 30 years in the energy sector. To date the company has received around $2.5m from individual and institutional investors, the majority of which has been spent on R&D activities. In February 2010 the company received $500,000 from Trafalgar Capital, which has been used to fund further R&D activities and to identify suitable locations for its first tyre to energy facility. The company has secured a series of long-term feedstock supplies in North America.
Funding Opportunity: Novo Energies is planning to raise $8m in equity investment by the end of Q2 2010. This investment may secure a percentage of the company itself, or alternatively a share of profits generated from the company’s planned full-scale pilot plant. The company is particularly interested in attracting European investors. Technology: Novo Energies utilises pyrolysis technology to recycle plastics and tyres into synthetic oil and chemical components including carbon black, while also extracting and recycling steel. This fuel is then used in efficient ogeneration applications. The company claims that this technology is one of the only methods currently able to use tyre feedstocks to generate electricity efficiently, economically and profitably while minimising environmental impacts. The company plans to develop small-capacity, mobile plants capable of processing between 40 and 60 metric tonnes of feedstock per day, and plans to apply for patent protection of its technologies once its full-scale plant is operational. Novo estimates that each tyre recycling plant will produce more than 87kWh annually, as well as more than7,500 metric tonnes of carbon black and 900 tonnes of steel. Business Plan: Novo plans to use new funds gained to construct and commence operation of its first full-scale (60-tonne per day) plant in Denver, Colorado. It is envisaged that this plant will be operational before the end of 2010. The company is very interested in entering the European – and especially UK – markets, and is also is planning to float on AIM in the next four to five months. Source: Interview with management Contact: Faisal Butt, CEO Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +1 514 840 3698
DEAL RADAR Canada
Funding Opportunity: $15m Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 3-6 months
Company Profile: Founded in 2006, Canada-based HeatWave Solar develops and manufactures solar heater technologies. Heatwave’s parent company, Envron Environmental, has been developing environmental-products, including ozone-assisted bio filters, since 1986. The company’s management team has expertise in environmental engineering. Funded privately and from its parent company to date, Heatwave currently conducts its manufacturing activities in China and markets its products within Canada. The company is conducting talks with a global distributor.
Funding Opportunity: Heatwave is planning to raise $15m in equity investment over the next three to six months. The company may seek further investment to fund global expansion at a later date, and is looking to partner with an organisation with an established distribution system.
Business Plan: Approximately $2m will be used to complete the development of a second generation solar heater, establish IP protection, test and obtain certification and move into the US market. Heatwave plans to use $7m-$8m to build a manufacturing and distribution plant in North America, and will use $5m to fund international expansion, either by licensing, partnering or through joint ventures. The company estimates that this process will take five years to complete. Source: Interview with management
Contact: Allan Finney, CEO Email: email@example.com
Tel: +1 306 924 3040
Funding Opportunity: $26-33m Funding Type: Debt/Equity Timescale: 12 months
Clean Coal Briquette Inc
Technology: Heatwave Solar has developed an easy-to-install, durable, affordable (currently CAN$1500 per unit) solarheater capable of directly heating air within buildings, according to CEO Allan Finney. The design therefore does not require components traditionally required by solar water heaters, such as heat exchangers and pumps. A second generation device is in development, and is easier to manufacture, thinner and lighter, as well as easier to adapt to large installations, according to Finney. The company also claims that its heaters function in ‘marginal’ conditions, and in temperatures as low as -60 degrees Celsius. The company also estimates that the operating efficiency of its next generation heaters will be 67 per cent, compared to efficiencies of around 50 per cent for conventional designs. The solar heaters are designed for installation in both residential and commercial buildings.
Company Profile: Founded in 2005, Colorado-based Clean Coal Briquette Inc (CCBI) develops solutions that allow operators of coal-based energy infrastructure to meet emission-reduction targets. The management team has significant experience with developing business start-ups, as well as within the energy industry. The company successfully established a commercial pilot plant in 2008 at Aquila’s coal-fired power plant in Canon City, Colorado. To date, CCBI has received approximately $500,000 in grant funding, part of which came from the US Department of Energy, as well as $300,000 private equity from angel investors over the past year.
Funding Opportunity: CCBI requires an initial $1m-$2m equity investment within three months, followed by $25m-$30m in debt/equity by the end of Q3 2010. The company may require further access to project finance as it expands. Technology: CCBI’s technology involves briquetting biomass using unutilised coal as a binder and is designed to enable utilities to meet renewable portfolio standards using existing coal-burning infrastructure. Use of the technology can lead to reductions in emissions including CO2, NOx and SOx and reduces the need for costly refitting or even decommisioning of existing plants. CCBI’s pellets are also cheaper and provide a higher energy content than typical biomass pellets, while the use of no additional chemicals reduces production costs, permit requirements and environmental impacts, according to founder Ravi Malhotra. CCBI currently has patents pending over its technology. Business Plan: CCBI intends to use the first tranche of newly acquired funding for business development and finalisation of its technology design, with a second round of investment required to build a larger (200,000 tonne per year) capacity pilotplant. This initial plant will be built using finance with an estimated 50 per cent debt-to-equity structure, a ratio that will likely increase for subsequent plants. The company estimates that it will take approximately a year to establish this plant and start generating revenues. The biomass/coal briquettes are targeted mainly at the US and European markets, although CCBI may also look to develop wholly biomass-based briquettes for these. The company is currently in talks with six US-based utilities about licensing the technology and foresees exiting through an M&A or IPO in around five years. Source: Interview with management
Contact: Chris Jedd Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.EnvirotechInvestor.com
Tel: +1 720 833 592
DEAL RADAR USA
Funding Opportunity: $6m Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 24 months
Company Profile: Founded in 2006, Colorado-based Eetrex develops energy efficient transportation technologies and products for the automotive industry. The company has utilised its relationships with utilities such as PG&E, research institutions and municipalities to demonstrate its technologies. Consequently, Eetrex has an existing funding stream, which totalled $1.5m over the past year. This is projected to rise to $3m-$4m over the next year, according to Executive Vice President of Corporate Development Matt Foster. Eetrex has self-funded product development activities to date and is currently in the process of securing a $1m equity investment from manufacturing partner Methode Electronics.
The management team embodies over 40 years of experience within the alternative transportation technologies sector, with members previously working to develop software and electronics systems with Toyota, BMW and Lexus. EVP of Corporate Development Matthew Foster was previously president and CEO of Ascent Solar, guiding the company through two public offerings, including the IPO in 2006. The company is currently in talks with a ‘big three’ Detroit car company, as well as trucking and bus companies, with regards to customising its technologies and products for use in their vehicles.
Funding Opportunity: Eetrex is planning to raise $6m within the next six months. The company is currently in talks with investors in both Europe and the US, and may seek to raise further capital within the next five years in order to expand its battery system integration and manufacturing activities. Technology: Eetrex develops integrated electronics technologies and software designed to manage power systems within hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles. The company claims that its Inverger charger is an industry first inverter-charger that enables two-way flow of electricity between electric vehicles and the grid and for additional mobile applications, with 90% charge efficiency and 98 per cent vehicle-to-grid efficiency. Eetrex provides cheaper and more compact solutions than its competitors, according to Foster. Eetrex has also developed proprietary battery management software, which enables remote monitoring of individual power modules, allowing vehicle performance optimisation and real time control of charging/discharging. This enables grid stabilisation and improved efficiency in the use of electricity. The company has multiple patents pending over its technology, with more in the pipeline. Business Plan: The majority of new funds raised will be used to complete the development, testing and certification of the company’s battery management systems to meet the requirement specifications of its customers. Eetrex is hoping to begin manufacturing this year, with market roll-out planned for 2011. Approximately $2m will also be used for the design, development and rapid prototyping of new power devices. The company is ultimately planning to expand the battery manufacturing side of its business, which would require further capital. Depending on the growth and market penetration rates, Eetrex would either self-fund this or look to conduct an IPO. Source: Interview with management Contact: Matt Foster, Executive Vice President of Corporate Development Email: email@example.com Tel: +1 303 653 5077 USA
Funding Opportunity: $16m Funding Type: Equity investment Timescale: 3 months
Company Profile: Established in 2003, California-based Redwood Renewables develops, manufactures and markets solar roofing technologies. To date the company has received a total of $3.2m in funding from a combination of angel investors, strategic partners as well as Federal and State grants. The management team has more than 20 years of experience working within the solar industry. The company has also recently secured a contract with Malarkey roofing company, which it estimates will generate a revenue stream of $30m per year.
Funding Opportunity: Redwood is planning to raise $16m of B-round equity investment within the next three months. The company envisages this being sourced from a syndicate of investors, or strategic investors with experience working within the energy and/or construction industries. The company believes that this will be sufficient for it to reach profitability within 18 months. The company may also seek to raise further investment to allow international expansion. Technology: Redwood’s high efficiency solar roofing designs are visually unobtrusive and cheaper, easier to install and more efficient than competitor designs, according to CEO Tom Faust. The products are designed to be installed by any roofing companies using existing equipment. The company holds several patents over its technology in both the US and EU. Business Plan: The company plans to leverage new funds raised with $25m of debt capital to construct a production plant in California. The company’s products are targeted at the residential market, while European markets are seen as important. Contact: Tom Faust, CEO Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +1 (415) 924 8140
Source: Interview with management
DEAL RADAR USA
Funding Opportunity: $3.5m Funding Type: Equity Investment
Company Profile: Founded in 2007, Miracle Straw develops hand-held point-of-use water purification products. The management team has experience with developing SME companies, as well as in product commercialisation, and is supplemented by a number of business, legal and technical advisors. To date the company has raised approximately $600,000, which has been spent on R&D and product development, from angel investors.
Timescale: 12 months Funding Opportunity: Miracle Straw is planning to raise $3.5m in equity investment over the next six months. The company believes that this will be sufficient for it to reach sustained profitability within 12 months. Technology: Miracle Straw produces compact devices to filter, sterilise and purify water quickly and cost-effectively. According to the company, the combination of microfiltration with a safe chemical process make Miracle Strawâ€™s devices more effective than competitor designs. The technology enables purification of half a litre of water in less than one minute, and can purify up to 150 litres without requiring a change of filtration components. The company has multiple patents pending in the US, as well as one in China.
Contact: Charles Nalbantian, CEO Email: email@example.com USA
Funding Opportunity: $5m Funding Type: Equity Investment Timescale: 6 months
Company Profile: Founded in 2008, VolcanAire develops cooling solutions and applications that does not require use of traditional coolants. The management team embodies more than 15 years of venture capital experience, as well as expertise in fluid-dynamics and low-cost, low-power computer applications. To date the company has primarily relied on angel capital, and is currently in discussions with leading companies in the computing and defence industries. For the past two years, Volcanaire has been working with the US military to develop cooling solutions for armoured vehicles.
Business Plan: With the technology no longer at development stage, Miracle Straw has three main products ready for manufacture. The majority of the funding will be used to cover operating costs in early months and to fund working capital. Miracle Straw plan to outsource manufacturing, and so foresees little capital expenditure other than around $500,000 to produce proprietary production moulds and tools. The company will target the consumer/retail, military, and disaster relief/humanitarian aid markets, and claims to have received a strong response from potential customers amongst retail chains and the US military. Source: Interview with management
Funding Opportunity: VolcanAire is planning to raise $5m in equity investment over the next six months, and is also looking to develop strategic partnerships. With $5m, the company believes it can reach cash-flow positive status. Technology: VolcanAire has developed technologies that enable cooling without the need for toxic coolants. These technologies can be deployed more efficiently and at lower cost than traditional solutions and can be used in either large-scale or micro-environments, according to CEO Mike Harris. The company also claims that its solution is relatively simple, is not capital-intensive and can be retrofitted into existing cooling systems. To date, VolcanAire has obtained two US patents (in July 2009 and January 2010), with further applications pending both domestically and internationally. Business Plan: VolcanAire will initially use new funding gained to develop its technologies for use in electronic thermo management (ETM) applications. The company is currently in discussions with potential partners in this area, as well as with several developers and distributors of commercial cooling applications. VolcanAire believes that this investment would allow it to fully develop its technology for ETM, commercial cooling and military applications. This investment will also be used to increase the commercial capabilities of the company, with expertise sought in application development, sales and marketing in order to develop opportunities in other markets such as food processing, automotive and residential cooling. The company envisage exiting through a trade sale. Source: Interview with management Contact: Mike Harris, CEO Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: +1 612 845 8919
VolcanAire: CleanTech Cooling
DEAL TRACKER A round-up of deals publically announced in the past month from around the world, including venture capital investments, private equity transactions, flotations, refinancing, rights issues, mergers, acquisitions, project financings and major contracts.
ASIA China Deal Type: Debt Amount: RMB28bn ($4.1bn) Debt Provider: China Construction Bank
Deal Type: Equity Investment Amount: $22m Investors: Northern Light Venture Capital, Sequoia Capital China, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DT Capital
China Deal Type: Acquisition Total Amount: $47m Acquirer: China Sunergy Seller: China Electric Equipment Group Co
China Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Essco Wholesale Electric
A subsidiary of biomass power plant operator Dragon Power, National BioEnergy, will receive up to RMB28bn in debt funding from the China Construction Bank for the construction of 100 facilities across China over the next five years. Source: Company announcement
Energy storage technology developer Prudent Energy has secured $22m in a Series C financing round led by Chinese investment firm Northern Light Venture Capital. New investor Sequoia Capital China and existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson and DT Capital also participated. Source: Company announcement
CEEG Solar Science & Technology/CEEG New Energy
Chinese solar-cell manufacturer China Sunergy has announced an agreement to purchase all outstanding shares of CEEG Solar Science & Technology and CEEG New Energy for $47m. Both the acquired companies were controlled by China Electric Equipment Group Co, a company controlled by China Sunergy’s Chairman Tingxiu Lu. Source: Company announcement
Changzhou Trina Solar Energy
NYSE-listed solar photovoltaic manufacturer Trina Solar’s subisidary, Changzhou Trina Solar Energy, has signed a sales agreement with Essco Wholesale Electric, the south-west US subsidiary of electric distributor Sonepar USA, to provide up to 29MW of PV modules during 2010. Source: Company announcement
China Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Fortune Electric
China Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: ENERQOS
China Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Gehrlicher Solar
Suntech Power Holdings
Chinese crystalline silicon photovoltaic module-producer Suntech Power Holdings is set to supply solar panels for the new 4.7MW solar plant in Young’an, Kaohsiung, Taiwan developed by Fortune Electric. Source: Company announcement
Trina Solar is to increase its shipment to Italian turnkey solar plant provider ENERQOS to 23MW of PV modules in 2010 from 2MW in 2009. Source: Company announcement
Yingli Green Energy
NYSE-listed Chinese solar manufacturer Yingli Green Energy Holding Company has signed a three-year framework agreement with European photovoltaic system integrator Gehrlicher Solar to supply 285MW of PV modules over a three-year period. Source: Company announcement
ASIA (Continued) China Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: RMB1.75bn ($256m) Investor: Bank of Communications Co, Hebei Branch
China Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: Undisclosed Investor: Spring Capital Asia
Yingli Green Energy
Yingli Green Energy Holding Company has secured a project loan of RMB1.5bn and a working capital credit facility of RMB250m for the expansion of manufacturing capacity at its headquarters. The Bank of Communications Co, Hebei Branch, granted both the loan and the credit facility. Source: Company announcement
Qingdao Wuxiao Group
Spring Capital Asia, a private equity firm investing exclusively in China and Hong Kong, has tied up an investment in Qingdao Wuxiao Group, a wind and electricity tower manufacturer based in the Shandong Province of mainland China. Source: Company announcement
India Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: Undisclosed Investor: Intel Capital
Indian smart grid and energy efficiency company KLG Systel is one of three Indian technology companies set to benefit from a $23m investment round, designed to foster Indian entrepreneurship by global computer chip manufacturer Intel’s venture and growth investment division Intel Capital. Source: Company announcement
Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: Undisclosed Investors: Helion Advisors, Foundation Capital, IFC
India Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Gujarat State Petronet
Japan Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: $130m Investor: UK Government
Azure Power, the developer and owner of India’s first privately operated utility-scale solar power plant, has closed its Series B funding round. Previous backers Helion Advisors and Foundation Capital, who provided Azure’s Series A funding in September 2008, were joined by World Bank Group member IFC in the round. Source: Company announcement
India’s wind developer Suzlon Energy has signed an agreement with Gujarat State Petronet to set up, operate and maintain a 52.5MW wind energy project in the Rajkot and Porbandar districts of Gujarat.
Source: Company announcement
Japanese engineering firm Mitsubishi is to enter the UK offshore wind market with a £100m investment agreement signed with the government. An additional sum of up to £30m will also be supplied by the UK Government to fund research and development wind turbine project near the New and Renewable Energy Centre in Blyth. Source: Company announcement
Singapore Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $425m Investors: General Atlantic, Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, Goldman Sachs, Norwest Venture Partners, Everstone Capital, PTC India Financial Services
South Korea Deal Type: Joint Venture Total Amount: CAN$40m ($39.2m) Partner: Government of Nova Scotia
Growth equity firm General Atlantic has backed Asian Genco, an Singapore-based holding company with investments in Indian power generation assets and engineering services businesses, in a $425m deal. The investment was made by a consortium that also included Morgan Stanley Infrastructure Partners, Goldman Sachs, Norwest Venture Partners, Everstone Capital and PTC India Financial Services. Source: Company announcement
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering (DSME) has announced the formation of a CAN$40m joint venture with the Canadian province of Nova Scotia to construct a manufacturing plant for wind turbine towers and blades in the province. DSME will contribute CAN$20.4m and will hold a 51 per cent stake in the new venture, while the government will contribute CAN$19.6m for the remaining 49 per cent stake. Source: Company announcement
ASIA (Continued) Taiwan Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: Undisclosed Investor: WI Harper Group
Taiwanese LED lighting technology company Testar Electronics has agreed to become an independent entity and to receive an investment from China-focused venture capital firm WI Harper Group. Source: Company announcement
EUROPE Belgium Deal Type: Debt Total Amount: €20m ($26.7m) Debt Provider: Aqua Resources Fund
Deal Type: Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirer: SPX Corporation
Denmark Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: We Energies
FourWinds Capital Management’s authorised closed-ended investment scheme Aqua Resources Fund has entered into an agreement to subscribe for five-year convertible bonds of Belgian wastewater treatment company Waterleau Group for a total cash consideration of €20m. Source: Company announcement
NYSE-listed, North Carolina-based cooling system manufacturer SPX Corporation has completed the acquisition of Danish processing systems manufacturer Gerstenberg Schroder. Source: Company announcement
Danish wind turbine developer Vestas has received an order from US energy distributor We Energies for 81 1.8MW V90 wind turbines for the Glacier Hills Wind Park in Wisconsin, US, including a two-year service agreement. Source: Company announcement
Denmark Deal Type: Debt Total Amount: €600m ($800.9m)
Finland Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: €6.6m ($8.8m) Investor: Finnish Industry Investment
France Deal Type: Joint Venture Total Amount: €6.6m ($8.8m) Partner: E.ON Climate & Renewables
France Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: €100m ($133.4m)
Vestas has successfully placed its first debt issuance with a €600m corporate Eurobond placement. Source: Company announcement
Government-owned investment company Finnish Industry Investment has made a €6.6m investment in energy efficient glass technology company Glaston, which supplies the solar industry. Source: Company announcement
French landfill gas specialist Bionersis and German energy developer E.ON Climate & Renewables will invest €6.6m to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the Nam Son landfill site near Hanoi, Vietnam. Source: Company announcement
French solar company Solaire Durance, a joint venture between state-owned financial institution Caisse des Dépôts and French solar operator Solairedirect, has closed the financing of the Les Mées 1 and 2 photovoltaic solar parks in Provence for more than €100m. Natixis Energéco and Crédit Agricole Leasing Group Auxifip-Unifergie acted as joint lead arrangers for the €83m senior debt facility. Source: Company announcement
EUROPE (Continued) Deal Type: Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirer: Bruker Energy & Supercon Technologies
Germany Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: €30m ($40m) Purchaser: Federal Electricity and Water Authority
Germany Deal Type: Partial Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirer: SPX Corporation
Germany Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Chevron Technology Ventures
Germany Deal Type: Acquisition Total Amount: €240m ($320.4m) Acquirer: Solutia Seller: Alpha Gruppe
Germany Deal Type: Joint Venture Total Amount: $500m Partners: Qatar Foundation, Qatar Development Bank
German superconducting materials developer Bruker Energy & Supercon Technologies has acquired the assets of Aachen, Germany-based AIXUV, which develops extreme ultraviolet XUV and EUV systems for thin-film applications. Source: Company announcement
Energy major Siemens has won a €30m contract from the Dubai-based Federal Electricity and Water Authority to carry out the build and modernisation of substations in its northern emirates. Source: Company announcement
Industrial power electronics company AEG Power Solutions has taken a majority stake in skytron energy, a Berlin-based provider of metering, monitoring and supervision solutions. Source: Company announcement
German solar system supplier Concentrix Solar has signed a contract with Chevron Technology Ventures for the deployment of a 1MW concentrated solar photovoltaic power plant to be installed at a Chevron Mining facility in Questa, New Mexico, US. Source: Company announcement
NYSE-listed specialty chemical company Solutia has reached a definitive agreement to purchase Etimex Solar for €240m. Etimex Solar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Etimex Holding, which is controlled by funds affiliated with Alpha Gruppe.
Source: Company announcement
SolarWorld has acquired a 29 per cent stake in the newly formed joint venture Qatar Solar Technologies, which will invest $500m to establish the first production facility for polysilicon on the Arabian Peninsula. Additional partners in the project are the Qatar Foundation, which takes a 70 per cent stake, and the Qatar Development Bank with the remaining one per cent. Source: Company announcement
Germany Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: entrason
German solar module manufacturer Solon has closed a framework agreement for the supply of solar modules over several years with the solar distributor entrason. The total volume of the contract amounts to approximately 20MW, or 90,000 modules, for the first year. Source: Company announcement
Germany Deal Type: Joint Venture Total Amount: Undisclosed Partner: Energ Servis
Solon has signed an agreement establishing a partnership with the Czech company Energ Servis. The collaboration will see Solon supply Energ Servis with photovoltaic modules with a total capacity of 5MW in 2010. Source: Company announcement
Germany Deal Type: Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirer: Ventizz Capital Fund IV Sellers: Evergreen Solar, Q-Cells, REC
Ventizz Capital Fund IV has signed a contract to acquire 100 per cent of German solar wafer, cell and module producer Sovello. Until now, the shareholders Evergreen Solar, Q-Cells and REC each held a third of the total interest in Sovello. Source: Company announcement
EUROPE (Continued) Germany Deal Type: Partial Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirer: Iberdrola Renovables
DEE Deutsche Erneuerbare Energien/Ventotec
Iberdrola Renovables has bought 100 per cent of the rights to build the Ventotec Ost 2 offshore wind complex in the German zone of the Baltic Sea, originally awarded to a German joint venture between Deutsche Bank Group’s DEE Deutsche Erneuerbare Energien and GHF-Group’s Ventotec in 2007. Source: Company announcement
Italy Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: €17m ($22.7m) Investors: Ambienta I Rinnovabili, Macquarie Group, Matsa Group
Diversified energy savings project developer ICQ Holding has approved a paid capital increase reserved to shareholder Ambienta I Rinnovabili (A1R), a subsidiary of Ambienta managed private equity firm Ambienta I, for €17m. To subscribe to the capital increase in ICQ, A1R has opened its capital to the Macquarie Group, Matsa Group and a pool of private investors. Source: Company announcement
Norway Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: $22m Purchasers: Undisclosed
Norwegian energy efficiency company Eltek Valere has signed a $12m frame agreement with an international mobile operator for the delivery of turnkey upgrades and hybrid power solutions on at least 460 existing sites. Eltek has also signed a $10m contract with a Brazilian mobile operator for delivery of power systems to base stations and network installations. Source: Company announcement
Norway Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $13m Investors: Northzone Ventures, Investinor
Serbia Deal Type: Debt Total Amount: €90m ($120.3m) Debt Provider: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Norwegian eco-friendly microcontroller developer Energy Micro has secured $13m in capital from venture funds, Northzone Ventures and Investinor, in its first external financing round. Source: Company announcement
Slovakia Sustainable Energy Finance Facility
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is making €90m in funding available under the existing Slovakia Sustainable Energy Finance Facility. The funds, which are to be used to finance efficiency and renewable energy projects in the industrial and residential sectors, will be distributed via local insitutions, including four local partner banks, Slovenska Sporitelna of Erste Bank Group, VUB Banka of Intesa Sanpaolo Group, Tatra Banka of Raiffeisen International and Dexia Banka Slovensko. Source: Company announcement
Spain Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchasers: REW Hellas, ADIVA Hellas
Spain Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: €450m ($601.3m) Purchaser: Mexican Federal Electricity Commission
Spain Deal Type: Merger Total Amount: Undisclosed
Spanish solar company Proinso has signed contracts to supply a total of 3.2MW of solar photovoltaic equipment to projects in Greece developed by various companies, including REW Hellas and ADIVA Hellas. Source: Company announcement
Spanish renewable energy company Acciona Energy has won a €450m contract from the Mexican Federal Electricity Commission to construct and operate three wind parks, with a total capacity of 306MW, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca. Source: Company announcement
European energy companies Endesa and Enel have agreed to pool their renewables businesses in Spain and Portugal under a single entity. The new company will have, once fully integrated, 1.4 GW of renewable energy, 88 per cent of which will be wind. Source: Company announcement
EUROPE (Continued) Sweden Deal Type: Partial Acquistion Total Amount: €810m ($1.1bn) Acquirers: Elia, Australian Industry Funds Management
Switzerland Deal Type: Contract Amount: CHF250m ($234.1m) Purchaser: Undisclosed
Belgium transmission system operator Elia and infrastructure investor Australian Industry Funds Management have agreed to purchase Nordic electricity generator Vattenfall’s German transmission grid for €810m and will work to ensure reliability of supply as offshore wind installations get added to the network. Source: Company announcement
Swiss technology provider for the solar markets Meyer Burger has been awarded a CHF250m contract from a customer in Asia for high-tech wire saws and cropping saws that will be used in the manufacturing of high-grade solar wafers. Source: Company announcement
Switzerland Deal Type: Debt Total Amount: $5.585m
Solar energy technology company SwissINSO Holding has successfully raised $5.585m in debt financing from both private and institutional investors. Source: Company announcement
Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: $3m Purchaser: TGI Solar
New Jersey-based TGI Solar has signed a deal memorandum with Ukrainian waste management company Ekoplaz. TGI will have the exclusive right to use Ekoplaz technology, which allows for continuous burning of industrial waste, in North America, South America and the European Union under the $3m agreement. Source: Company announcement
UK Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: Undisclosed Investors: Bridge Ventures, Carbon Trust Investments
UK Deal Type: Acquisition Total Amount: £20m ($30m) Investor: Sovereign Capital Partners
UK investment group Bridges Ventures has led an investment with green venture capital investor Carbon Trust Investments in AeroThermal Group, a Dorset, UK-based developer of an autoclaving waste treatment technology.
Source: Company announcement
Euro Environmental Group
UK private equity buy and build specialist Sovereign Capital Partners has invested £20m in a management buy-out of Euro Environmental Group, a Scottish based provider of drain and sewer cleaning, inspection and repair services. Source: Company announcement
UK Deal Type: Joint Venture Partner: Ballast Nedam Sustainability Services
Energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power has signed an agreement with Dutch construction and infrastructure development company Ballast Nedam Sustainability Services for a pilot project showcasing the potential of hydrogen energy storage technology. Source: Company announcement
UK Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: £10m ($15m) Investor: Lloyds TSB Development Capital
UK Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: £3m ($4.5m) Investor: Carbon Trust
Lloyds Banking Group private equity subsidiary Lloyds TSB Development Capital has made a £10m investment to take a minority stake in Manchester-based building energy management business Matrix. HSBC provided bank funding for the deal. Source: Company announcement
UK clean energy investor Carbon Trust Investment has invested £3m in Oxsensis, an Oxfordshire-based developer of high temperature sensors. Source: Company announcement
EUROPE (Continued) UK Deal Type: Equity Investment Amount: £500,000 ($748,724) Investor: Low Carbon Accelerator
UK Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: £4.8m ($7.2m) Investors: Siemens, Carbon Trust, High Tide
UK Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: £76m ($113.8m) Investors: European Investment Bank, Lloyds Banking Group, BNP Paribas
AIM-listed investment firm Low Carbon Accelerator has invested £500,000 in UK wind and solar power project developer Vigor Renewables. Source: Company announcement
Marine Current Turbines
Global engineering company Siemens has invested into British tidal energy company Marine Current Turbines alongside the Carbon Trust, High Tide and other private investors in a £4.8m funding round. Source: Company announcement
Lloyds Banking Group and BNP Paribas have established a £76m portfolio facility through the European Investment Bank Intermediated UK Onshore Wind Scheme for the 48MW Hill of Towie wind farm developed by RES in Moray, Scotland. Source: Company announcement
NORTH AMERICA Canada Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: CAN$53.8m ($53m) Investors: Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures, BDR Capital, Waste Management, Cycle Capital
Canada Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: $1.5m Investors: BC Bioenergy Network
Canadian waste-to-biofuel developer Enerkem has raised CAN$53.8m in a new round of funding from existing investors Rho Ventures, Braemar Energy Ventures and BDR Capital as well as from new investors, Waste Management and Cycle Capital. Source: Company announcement
International Composting Corporation
BC Bioenergy Network, a provincially-funded industry network supporting the bioenergy sector in British Columbia, Canada has invested $1.5m in conditional financing to International Composting Corporation for a $7.7m project to convert municipal source separated organic waste into vehicle and aviation biofuels. Source: Company announcement
Canada Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $4m Investor: Morningside Technology Ventures
Canada Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $4m Investors: Chrysalix Energy, GreenAngel
Canada Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: $2.5m Investor: Sustainable Development Technology Canada
Delaware Power Systems
Delaware Power Systems closed a Series A round of $4m at 50 cents per share. The round was led by Boston-based Morningside Technology Ventures, alongside four other groups of institutional and private investors. Source: Company announcement
Light-Based Technologies closed a Series A round of $2m, at 25 cents per share, led by Vancouver-based venture capital firm, Chrysalix Energy and followed by GreenAngel and other angel investors. Source: Company announcement
NASDAQ-listed clean technology financer Sustainable Development Technology Canada has announced it will award $2.5m in funding to a project led by Vancouver-based Pulse Energy to develop and demonstrate an intelligent energy management platform. Source: Company announcement
NORTH AMERICA (Continued) Canada Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: $120m Investor: Canada Green ESCO
Pink Sheets-listed Atlantic Wind and Solar has successfully completed a $120m financing agreement with green energy funding company Canada Green ESCO that will enable its wholly-owned subsidiary Atlantic Solar to proceed with photovoltaic projects in the Ontario rooftop market. Source: Company announcement
Canada Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: CAN$12.7m ($12.5m) Investor: Q-Cells
Toronto Stock Exchange-listed solar company Timminco has converted liability into equity by agreeing to issue approximately 15.9 million of its common shares to Q-Cells, a solar grade silicon customer of Timminco’s wholly-owned subsidiary Becancour Silicon, on a private placement basis at a price of CAN$0.80 per share. The 15.9 million common shares of Timminco will serve as full and final settlement of substantially all of the outstanding liability of approximately €9.7m due to Q-Cells under the repayment schedule agreed on in May 2009. Source: Company announcement
Canada Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: British Columbia Hydro
Innergex Renewable Energy
Hydroelectric and wind power plant operator Innergex Renewable Energy has been awarded purchase power agreements for the Upper Lillooet River, Boulder River and North Creek run-of-river hydro projects by Canada’s largest utility British Columbia Hydro.
Canada Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: $194.5m
Canadian independent power producer Boralex has successfully refinanced the first 40MW phase of the Thames River wind farm and obtained financing for the second 50MW phase at the same site. The total value of the refinancing is $194.5m. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $15m Investors: Oak Investment Partners, Gabriel Venture Partners, Noventi Ventures
USA Deal Type: Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirer: Renewable Energy Group
Source: Company announcement
California-based Aurora Biofuels has secured an additional $15m in a recent funding round led by Oak Investment Partners, with the continued support of Gabriel Venture Partners and Noventi Ventures. Source: Company announcement
Blackhawk Biofuels/Central Iowa Energy
Blackhawk Biofuels and Central Iowa Energy shareholders have voted affirmatively to an all stock transaction in which biodiesel manufacturer Renewable Energy Group (REG) will acquire their companies. REG will now operate the companies’ two commercial-scale biodiesel plants. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Joint Venture Partner: Hughes Hardwood International
USA Deal Type: Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirer: Imperial Petroleum
US bioenergy company ClearFuels Technology and timber company Hughes Hardwood International have agreed to develop a commercial-scale biorefinery facility for the production of renewable jet or diesel fuel. Source: Company announcement
Oil and natural gas production company Imperial Petroleum has signed an agreement to acquire 100 per cent of the stock of e-biofuels, an Indiana, US-based biodiesel producer with a production capacity of 15 million gallons per year. Source: Company announcement
NORTH AMERICA (Continued) USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $15m Investors: TPG Biotech, Mohr Davidow Ventures, Alloy Ventures, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
USA Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: $20m Investor: California Enterprise Development Authority
USA Deal Type: Grant Total Amount: $3.2m Grant Provider: National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Project
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: NV Energy
US sustainable chemicals company Genomatica has raised $15m in a first close of its Series C funding round led by science-based investor TPG Biotech. The founding round also saw the return of existing investors Mohr Davidow Ventures, Alloy Ventures and Draper Fisher Jurvetson. Source: Company announcement
GreenHunter Energy has received approval from the Imperial County, California Board of Superviors for up to $20m in one or more series of tax-exempt obligations issued by the California Enterprise Development Authority. The bond financing will be used to fund the construction of a 18.5MW biomass facility. Source: Company announcement
University of Maryland/Bowie State University
A team of researchers at the University of Maryland, College Park and Bowie State University has received a $3.2m, four-year grant from the National Science Foundationâ€™s Plant Genome Research Project to find ways to turn poplar trees into high-yield crops for biofuels including ethanol. Source: Company announcement
US electricity provider NV Energy has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement with waste collector and recycler Waste Management for the renewable energy produced from the 3MW landfill gas-powered project Waste Management is constructing at its Lockwood Landfill facility. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Joint Venture Total Amount: Undisclosed Partner: LS Cable
NASDAQ-listed global power technologies company American Superconductor and power cable manufacturer LS Cable have expanded their superconductor power cable strategic business alliance. Under a new agreement, the two companies will work to deploy more than 50km of superconductor power cables in commercial power grids over the next five years. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $15m Investors: Nth Power, The Westly Group, Clearpoint Capital, Foundation Capital, EnerTech Capital
USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $17m Investors: US Renewables Group, Duke Energy
USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $19m Investors: Argonaut Private Equity, Braemar Energy Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, Stata Venture Partners
California-based green buildings materials business CalStar Products has closed a $15m equity investment led by Nth Power, which included new investors The Westly Group and Clearpoint Capital as well as continuing investors Foundation Capital and EnerTech Capital. Source: Company announcement
US air energy storage system manufacturer General Compression has closed a $17m Series A round of funding led by US Renewables Group and Duke Energy to support the development of its first commercial scale unit and a future series of storage projects. Source: Company announcement
Massachusetts-based Luminus Devices, which designs, develops and manufactures LEDs, has received $19m in a venture funding round led by current investors Argonaut Private Equity, Braemar Energy Ventures, Paladin Capital Group and Stata Venture Partners. Source: Company announcement
NORTH AMERICA (Continued) USA Deal Type: Share Issue Total Amount: $568.8m
Sensata Technologies, a maker of sensor and controls technology for applications including alternative fuel vehicles and solar panels, has raised $568.8m from its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. The private equity-backed company sold 31.6 million shares at $18 a share. Source: Company announcement
Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $8m Investors: Vista Ventures, Arch Ventures, ATA Ventures, Balch Hill Capital, SkyLake Incuvest & Co
USA Deal Type: Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirer: Navigation Capital Partners
USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $5.6m Investors: Emerald Technology Ventures, Access Venture Partners
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Polaris Energy Nicaragua
USA Deal Type: Share Issue Total Amount: $8.6m
US energy efficiency Shocking Technologies has closed an $8m Series B financing round led by Vista Ventures. The funding round included participation from existing institutional shareholders Arch Ventures, ATA Ventures and Balch Hill Capital, as well as new investor SkyLake Incuvest & Co of Korea. Source: Company announcement
Specialized Technical Services
Atlanta, Georgia-based private equity firm Navigation Capital Partners has acquired smart grid infrastructure upgrade provider Specialized Technical Services. Source: Company announcement
Colorado-based LED lighting company TerraLUX has closed its $5.6m Series A financing round led by clean technology venture capitalists Emerald Technology Ventures. Existing investor Access Venture Partners also participated in the round. Source: Company announcement
California-based geothermal services company ThermaSource has been awarded the drilling contract for the geothermal development of the San Jacinto-Tizate Project in Nicaragua. The project is being developed by Polaris Energy Nicaragua, a subsidiary of Ram Power.
Source: Company announcement
U.S. Geothermal has raised $8.6m as the result of a private placement of stock. The company entered into a securities purchase agreement with several institutional investors to issue 8,209,519 shares of common stock at a price of $1.05 per share. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: Undisclosed Investors: Good Energies
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: $500m Purchaser: Republic of Lebanon
Agile Energy, a California developer of grid-connected, ground-mounted solar projects with generating capacity over 5MWs, has closed a Series A investment from clean technology investor Good Energies. Source: Company announcement
Listed energy developer Bergamo Acquisition has announced a new, $500m solar power project for the Republic of Lebanon. Under the terms of the agreement, the Lebanese government will provide 100 per cent of the total finance package, while Bergamoâ€™s wholly-owned subsidiary, Bergamo E&A, will provide turn-key construction and operation services. Source: Company announcement
NORTH AMERICA (Continued) USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: $36m Purchasers: Okaya & Co, Shinetsu Film
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Pacific Gas and Electric Company
USA Deal Type: Partial Acquistion Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirers: Southern Company, Turner Renewable Energy
USA Deal Type: Partial Acquistion Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: American Solar Electric
Pink Sheets-listed, Arizona-based Evolution Solar has agreed to a $36m contract to supply one million Chinese manufactured wafers per month to Japanese companies Okaya & Co and Shinetsu Film. Source: Company announcement
NASDAQ-listed solar module manufacturer First Solar has signed a power purchase agreement to supply US energy utility Pacific Gas and Electric Company with renewable electricity from a 300MW utility-scale photovoltaic solar power facility that First Solar is developing in Southern California. Source: Company announcement
First Solar has sold the 30MW Cimarron I photovoltaic solar project in New Mexico to electricity generator Southern Company and solar development company Turner Renewable Energy. Source: Company announcement
Arizona-headquartered solar system designer American Solar Electric and Michigan-based solar electronics company Fronius USA have committed to a photovoltaic inverter supply agreement that calls for Fronius to supply American Solar Electric with enough high-efficiency inverters to support the generation of more than 2.3MW. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: $200m Purchasers: Tianwei New Energy Holdings, Phoenix Photovoltaic Technology, Yingli Green Energy Holding Company, JA Solar Holding, Sino-American Silicon Products
USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $13.5m Investors: BankInvest New Energy Solutions, SiC Processing, Epic Ventures, Gideon Hixon, Bekaert, EnerTech Capital, Cycad Group, Espirito Santo Ventures
USA Deal Type: Join Venture Total Amount: $20m Partner: Konica Minolta
GT Solar International
Global solar service provider GT Solar International has signed new contracts totalling more than $200m. The orders include a $137m follow-on order from a large Chinese customer, as well as orders from Tianwei New Energy Holdings, Phoenix Photovoltaic Technology, Yingli Green Energy Holding Company, JA Solar Holding and Taiwan-based Sino-American Silicon Products. Source: Company announcement
Solar grade polysilicon manufacturer Iosil Energy has secured $13.5m in equity financing in an oversubscribed round. New investors include BankInvest New Energy Solutions, SiC Processing, Epic Ventures, Gideon Hixon and Bekaert, which have joined existing investors EnerTech Capital, Cycad Group and Espirito Santo Ventures. Source: Company announcement
Massachusetts-based developer of solar power plastic films Konarka has received $20m in funding as part of research and development collaboration and strategic investment agreement with Konica Minolta. The companies will start to jointly develop and distribute organic thin-film photovoltaics in April. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Partial Acquisition Total Amount: â‚Ź100m ($133.6m) Acquirer: Undisclosed
Prime Sun Power
New York-based solar power developer Prime Sun Power has agreed to sell a 25MW solar photovoltaic power plant in Italy to an undisclosed European institutional investor. The sale is expected to generate gross revenues of more than â‚Ź100m in 2010. Source: Company announcement
NORTH AMERICA (Continued) USA Deal Type: Joint Venture Partner: Power-Save Energy
US renewable energy company Solar Acquisition has agreed to form a joint venture with Power-Save Energy to offer solar products and services to the retail market. Source: Company announcement
Deal Type: Joint Venture Total Amount: $90m Partner: US Bancorp Community Development Corporation
USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $13.3m Investors: Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Advanced Technology Ventures, New Enterprise Associates
USA Deal Type: Debt Total Amount: $24.7m Debt Provider: Sacramento County Government
USA Deal Type: Debt Total Amount: $41.4m Debt Providers: Cogentrix Energy, Intel Capital, PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Titan Energy Systems
US full-service solar provider SolarCity has created a $90m fund with US Bancorp Community Development Corporation. SolarCity will use the new fund to finance its solar lease and power purchase agreement offerings as it expands into new states. Source: Company announcement
US solar company Solar Junction has raised $13.3m in a Series C round of funding from existing investors Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Advanced Technology Ventures and New Enterprise Associates. Source: Company announcement
Solar Power Inc.
Solar module manufacturer Solar Power Inc. has received an initial commitment of $24.7m in Recovery Zone Facility Bonds from the Sacramento County government. Source: Company announcement
Photovoltaic cell manufacturer SpectraWatt has received $41.4m in investor funding in the form of convertible debt. Investors included Cogentrix Energy, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Goldman Sachs Group, Intel Capital, PCG Clean Energy & Technology Fund and two other unnamed sources. Source: Company announcement
Georgia-based solar manufacturer Suniva has been awarded a contract by Titan Energy Systems to supply high-efficiency ARTisun series solar cells for the 3MW ground mounted solar system Titan is building in Karnataka, India. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Southern California Edison
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Toshiba
California-based solar manufacturer SunPower will provide solar panels with a generating capacity of 200MW to Southern California Edison (SCE), an Edison International company, for SCEâ€™s planned rooftop installation programme. Source: Company announcement
Japanese electronic conglomerate Toshiba has agreed to purchase 32MW of high-efficiency solar panels from SunPower in 2010 under a strategic supply agreement. Source: Company announcement
NORTH AMERICA (Continued) USA Deal Type: Grant Total Amount: $1.5m Grant Provider: California Solar Initiative Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration
USA Deal Type: Grant Total Amount: $1m Grant Provider: US Department of Energy
USA Deal Type: Grant Total Amount: €2.2m ($2.9m) Grant Provider: European Commission Seventh Framework Programme
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Acquirer: Sinovel
SunPower has been awarded two grants totalling around $1.5m from the California Solar Initiative Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration programme. Source: Company announcement
Defence and energy technology supplier Lockheed Martin has been awarded $1m by the US Department of Energy for the commercialisation of its ocean thermal energy conversion technology. Source: Company announcement
Ocean Power Technologies
New Jersey-based listed marine energy company Ocean Power Technologies has received an award of €2.2m under the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme to aid in the construction of WavePort, a wave energy project to be deployed at the Santoña site in Spain. Source: Company announcement
American Superconductor Corporation
NASDAQ-listed global power technology company American Superconductor Corporation has received an initial order for full wind turbine electrical control systems from Sinovel, China’s largest wind turbine manufacturer. Source: Company annoucement
USA Deal Type: Partial Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Pattern Energy Group
USA Deal Type: Partial Acquisition Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: NRG Energy
Babcock & Brown
US renewable energy developer Pattern Energy Group has acquired the 283MW Gulf Wind project, which includes 118 offshore wind turbines, from liquidated global investment firm Babcock & Brown. Source: Company announcement
Babcock & Brown
NRG Energy is to purchase the South Trent wind farm, which was developed by Babcock & Brown near Sweetwater, Texas. The 101MW wind farm, which came online in January 2009, consists of 44 Siemens 2.3MW wind turbines. AEP Energy Partners has a 20-year power purchase agreement for all of the generation from the site. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: €340m ($454.1m)
NYSE-listed global infrastructure, finance and media company GE plans to invest around €340m in its European wind turbine manufacturing, engineering and service facilities. Of the total, €110m will be used to develop an offshore wind turbine manufacturing business in the UK, €75m will go towards developing and demonstrating offshore wind technology in Norway, €50m will contribute to the constuction of design and demonstration centres in Sweden and €105m will go towards new engineering and manufacturing facilities in Germany. Source: Company announcement
USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Salt River Project
US public power utility Salt River Project has agreed to acquire the entire output of Phase 2 of Iberdrola Renewables’ Dry Lake wind power project in northern Arizona for a 20-year term. Source: Company announcement
NORTH AMERICA (Continued) USA Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Mariah Power
US manufacturer Mariah Power has signed a new long-term supply agreement with MasTech Wind that will extend production of Mariah Power’s propeller-free Windspire turbines at MasTech Wind’s Manistee, Michigan factory through 2014. Source: Company annoucement
US renewable energy developer Pattern Energy Group and Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board have entered into a 27-year power purchase agreement for the sale of energy produced by the 138MW St Joseph Windfarm, which is currently under construction in Manitoba, Canada. Source: Company annoucement
USA Deal Type: Project Finance Total Amount: $394m Investors: Credit Agricole CIB, Natixis, Union Bank, Prudential Investment Management, Cooperatieve Centrale RaiffeisenBoerenleenbank (Rabobank Nederland), Banco Santander
US energy company Terra-Gen Power has closed a $394m financing round for its 150MW Alta Wind I project located in Tehachapi, California. The new financing includes a seven-year construction and term loan, a bridge loan to the ITC cash grant from the US Department of Energy and ancillary credit facilities. Credit Agricole CIB and Natixis, New York branch acted as co-bookrunners and co-structuring leads for the financing. The lender group also includes Union Bank, Prudential Investment Management, Cooperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank (Rabobank Nederland) and Banco Santander. Source: Company annoucement
USA Deal Type: Equity Investment Total Amount: $28.8m Investors: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, MissionPoint Capital Partners
Pattern Energy Group
Oregon, US-based wind service provider UpWind Solutions has raised $28.8m in a second round of funding led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, joined by return backer MissionPoint Capital Partners. Source: Company announcement
Deal Type: Contract Total Amount: Undisclosed Purchaser: Manitoba Hydro-Electric Board
OCEANIA Australia Deal Type: Share Issue Total Amount: AUD$9m ($7.9m)
Australian biodiesel refiner Mission NewEnergy has completed a private placement of AUD$9m. The placement of 30 million shares, conducted under the company’s 15 per cent placement capacity, was completed at a 14 per cent discount to the last traded price or AUD$0.30 per share. Source: Company announcement
Australia Deal Type: Joint Venture Total Amount: Undisclosed Partner: Kobelco Eco-Solutions
AIM-listed Australian waste technology firm Hydrodec has signed a joint venture agreement with Kobelco Eco-Solutions to exploit its environmentally sustainable technology for use in the chemical and mineral oils industries in Japan and across the East Asian market. Source: Company announcement
Have you done a deal? Make sure you and your company get recognition and credit for your achievements. Send information to Deals@EnvirotechInvestor.com
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Investors tip opportunities in US manufacturing sector Japanese solar energy eyes global markets Brazil’s bioenergy market fuelled for expan...
Published on Dec 1, 2010
Investors tip opportunities in US manufacturing sector Japanese solar energy eyes global markets Brazil’s bioenergy market fuelled for expan...