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Greentech Venture Capital Summary 2009

Eric Wesoff: December 31, 2009, 12:26 AM

Here's a quick look at Venture Capital investment in Greentech over the last year.  We'll dive into the details next week.

VC investment in green technologies totaled $4.85 billion in 356 deals in 2009. Although the dollar total is down from 2008’s $7.6 billion, the number of deals total actually exceeded last year’s total.  

Consistent with the last four years, solar power was once again the leading investment segment at more than $1.4 billion in 84 deals followed by biofuels at $976 million in 44 rounds. As forecast by GTM Research – investment in Smart Grid, Energy Storage and Automotive is gaining momentum along with overlooked sectors such as Wind, Water, and Lighting.  Water has...

Nuclear Plant Planned For California, Despite State Ban

Michael Kanellos: December 30, 2009, 3:01 PM

Areva, the French nuclear, giant, has signed a letter of intent to build up to two nuclear plants near Fresno, California. California has a ban on new nuclear plants in the state but Areva believes the law will fade away under the state's demand for more clean power. Each plant could produce 1.6 gigawatts and the whole thing could cost between $5 and $8 billion.

Sez the Los Angeles Times:

The agreement with Areva is expected to be finalized in March, said John Hutson, chief executive of the Fresno Nuclear Energy Group, a partnership of local business executives and farmers. Once that's done, the two potential partners would begin a site selection and evaluation process that could take...

Another Greentech IPO Registration: Codexis and Biofuels

Eric Wesoff: December 28, 2009, 8:08 PM

2010 is going to see the return of the IPO, especially in greentech.

Today sees another Greentech IPO registration filing, this time from Codexis, a provider of biocatalysts.  We'll report on the S-1 in detail shortly but a quick take shows the company losing money on $58 million in revenue in the first nine months of 2009.  

Codexis is funded by venture firms and strategic investors.  CMEA is one of their major shareholders along with Shell Oil and CTTV, the investment arm of Chevron.  CMEA is on a bit of a roll of late - one of their other portfolio firms, Solyndra has also just filed their S-1, and A123, another CMEA portfolio firm, went public in one of the biggest greentech IPOs...

Why Solyndra Moves Ahead

Michael Kanellos: December 23, 2009, 7:33 PM

I've heard this from a source and with the documents for an initial public offering filed, I don't expect Solyndra to confirm it, but it gives an insight into why the company seems to have moved ahead of some of the other start-ups in cadmium indium gallium selenide (CIGS) solar cells.

CEO Chris Gronet gets a live video feed of the machinery on the factory floor. When and if production slows down, he knows quickly. He even gets the feed at home.

That sort of urgent paranoia lay at the heart of semiconductors and solar panel manufacturing. The multimillion dollar factories these companies must build can only become effectively profitable if utilized in a highly efficient manner. Intel...

General Motors to Unveil More on Volt Battery Strategy Jan 7

Michael Kanellos: December 23, 2009, 12:36 PM

The Volt--the car we've all been waiting for--is going to be one of the big stories at the North American International Auto Show taking place next month in Detroit.

General Motors sent out an e-mail blast today stating that GM and government officials will make a landmark announcement regarding the Volt battery on January 7 at 9:30 EST. If you've never been to Detroit, early January truly is the best time of year to visit.

Much we already know. The Volt will have a 16 kilowatt/hour battery largely engineered by Compact Power, a joint venture that includes South Korea's LG Chem. (Compact will make the cells--GM will fuse them into a battery pack in a plant in Michigan.)  It has a...

Solar Thermal With Molten Salt Energy Storage: SolarReserve Heads to Nevada

Jeff St. John: December 22, 2009, 2:44 PM

Storing solar power in the form of molten salt. SolarReserve says it can do it, and it's landed a project with NV Energy to prove it.

The Santa Monica, Calif.-based startup announced Tuesday that it has signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with the Nevada utility to buy power from a 100-megawatt solar-thermal plant to be built near the town of Tonopah, Nev.

SolarReserve, which last year raised $140 million in a Series B round let by Citi's Sustainable Development Investments and Good Energies, said it intends to start construction next year, though the Nevada Public Utilities Commission still needs to sign off on the deal.

Central to SolarReserve's plans is the molten salt energy...

Post-Copenhagen Carbon Trading Blues

Jeff St. John: December 21, 2009, 2:24 PM

It looks like the last-minute, non-binding carbon emissions agreement coming out of Copenhagen isn't living up to carbon traders' expectations.

That's the reaction from Europe, which saw the price of carbon-emission permits fall nearly 10 percent on Monday,  reports the Wall Street Journal.

To blame is the weak agreement coming out of the two-week United Nations summit on global warming, analysts and traders say. While top emitters China and the United States did ink a deal with emerging economies such as Brazil and India, it lacked any legally binding limits on how much greenhouse gas they can pump into the atmosphere.

What's worse, the conference failed to reach an agreement on...