Thursday, 7 June 2007

Clean sweep

A round-up of recent news in clean technology and cleantech investment.

The DTI released its Energy White Paper 2007, outlining how the UK government plans to achieve its goals of cutting CO2 emissions by c60% by 2050; and maintaining the reliability of energy supplies.
The paper focuses in part on ways to drive investment to accelerate the development and deployment of low carbon technologies, including creating further incentives for private sector investment, and directly supporting R&D where justified. Governments have a responsibility to create the right incentives and frameworks to enable a rapid transition to a low carbon economy, the paper notes.

The DTI is also preparing to launch its Energy Technologies Institute, a public/private joint venture dedicated to low carbon R&D, with projected funding of £600m over 10 years. One possible home for the Institute is the Environmental Energy Technology Centre planned for the Advanced Manufacturing Park in South Yorkshire. Regional development agency
Yorkshire Forward
this week formally announced the £8.7m centre for cleantech industries.

Italian fuel cell group Electro Power Systems has reportedly secured Euro5m from 360° Capital Partners. It's probably the largest VC deal for Italy in the past year. The funding will back R&D and business development for ElectroPS's Electro7 cell.

In sunny California, Tioga Energy launched with a $10m+ funding round from NGEN Partners, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Rockport Capital, DFJ Frontier and Kirlan Ventures and others. Tioga provides facilities management services for solar energy installations, installing and managing solar kit for small commercial operators. Interestingly, Tioga used to be waste treatment firm CerOx before reinventing itself as an energy operator.
In other US news, Envision Solar (warning - their site will hijack and resize your browser!) has reportedly raised $600k of a targeted $2m first round; while waste gasification group Ze-Gen is in the process of raising $4.5m from Flagship Ventures.

Further reading
The Carbon Trust has released a new report on Investment trends in European clean energy 2003–2006. Key findings include:
* A total Euro1.96bn was invested into 300 companies in 444 rounds by investors between 2003 and 2006;
* On average, clean energy investment accounted for 10% of the total European venture capital investments made per quarter, on a par with biotech, IT and semiconductors;
* UK companies lead the pack with nearly 42% of all the European clean energy deals, followed by Germany, France and the Nordic regions.

Last week's Economist had a typically solid survey on business and climate change - first part here. The bottom line: Cleaner energy means new technologies, and new money to be made. Businesspeople concerned to position themselves well for a carbon-constrained future must do more than get themselves photographed with Al Gore: they need to invest in technologies that will produce cleaner energy.

The McKinsey Quarterly has a couple of articles of interest: one on biofuels and entry strategies for new players; and an interview with the ubiquitous Al Gore and his investment partner David Blood on 'sustainability investment' ('the explicit recognition that social, economic, environmental, and ethical factors directly affect business strategy').

Business 2.0 has a good feature on the (mostly US) companies developing big solar power projects. Author Todd Woody is putting up extra information that couldn't fit into the main feature on his Green Wombat blog.

Ron Pernich and Clint Wilder of the Clean Edge blog released their new book, The Clean Tech Revolution. I've got my copy on order - review to follow.

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