Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Clean Sweep 50

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

London-based Climate Change Capital Private Equity has invested Euro10m in German broadband group Power Plus Communications. PPC provides broadband over low- and medium-voltage powerlines. Climate Change Capital says this will form a key element in smart grids, allowing electricity providers to communicate with smart meters and support other applications.
PPC was spun out of German utility MVV Energie in 2002. The fund becomes the only institutional investor in the company, and is taking seats on its board.

French wind turbine manufacturer Weole Energy has raised a Euro2m round from Crédit Agricole Private Equity, via its FCPR Capenergie fund, and energy supplier Direct Energie. Founded last year, the Paris-based company produces 2-50KW turbines for residential, business and municipal use.
CAPE is also investing from its Capenergie fund in biomass methanisation unit developer Methaneo. Demeter Partners also joined in the Euro3m round, in the first investment from its FCPR Demeter 2 fund.

Demeter Partners, Schneider Electric Ventures and TechFund have increased their stakes in PV producer Solairedirect. New investor Ofivalmo Partners and insurance groups Macif, AGPM and UMR also joined in the Euro20m round. The firm previously raised Euro6.1m in July 2007.
Solairedirect is planning to build 300MW of solar parks, at a cost of around Euro1.2bn.

Across the Atlantic, hybrid-electric tech developer ISE raised a $17.5m fourth round from Siemens Venture Capital, Macquarie Clean Technology Fund and DTE Energy Ventures. Previous investors RockPort Capital Partners and NGP Energy Technology Partners also joined the round. California-based ISE produces drive systems and control software for hybrid electric trucks and buses.

Washington-based materials technology developer EnerG2 meanwhile raised a $8.5m first round to help increase production of its nano-structured ultracapacitor. The device has a large potential market in hybrid electric vehicles, and can improve efficiency in electronic goods. OVP and Firelake led the round.

Carbon management software group Clear Standards raised a $4m first round from Novak Biddle Venture Partners and Kinetic Ventures. The firm says its software can track any type of commodity use or environmental impact, from energy use and greenhouse gas emissions, to water consumption and waste recycling. Rival carbon management group Planet Metrics raised $2.3m a few weeks earlier, as reported last time.
Also in green software, San Francisco's Carbonflow raised $1m from @Ventures for its carbon-trading systems.

Fund news
AIM-listed Ludgate Environmental Fund raised £18m new capital through a new share placement. South Yorkshire Pensions Authority, SVM Asset Management and Baring Asset Management are among those buying in. The fundraising brings Ludgate's total assets up to around £50m.

Kent-based cleantech specialist Foresight Group has starting raising a new fund with a target of up to £300m, according to Environmental Finance. The firm says it has secured interest from an institutional investor to anchor the new fund. The fund will follow on from its £22.5m UK Sustainable Investment Fund, which operates under HMRC's Enterprise Investment Scheme.

Other European cleantech investors currently on the fundraising trail include Aviva Investors with its European Renewable Energy Fund (Euro500m target); Spain's Taiga Mistral with a second fund targeted at Eastern European renewables (Euro50m); and Robeco with Robeco Responsible Private Equity II (Euro250m).

Further reading
Chris Smith, chair of the Environment Agency for England and Wales, urges a Green New Deal for the UK. Alistair Darling doesn't quite deliver in this week's pre-budget review, as Mark Lynas sets out in the Guardian (more here). Meanwhile, there's a growing campaign for a government-backed 'green investment bank' to finance renewables projects.

The Cleantech Group presents its State of the nation 'webinar' on the effects of the continuing economic mess. Capital is becoming more expensive, but the turmoil should shake out the lightweights from the sector. "We're going to see a better market emerge for cleantech that is more sustainable, more enduring," says exec chairman Nicholas Parker, as he would.

New Energy Finance looks at the prospects for wind energy in these cold economic gales. The forecast is for short-term problems with project finance, but brighter prospects in the medium- to long-run. More detail (pdf).

The feature that everyone's been talking about - Greentech's Top Eight Paranoid Companies. Only eight?

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