London-based banking giant HSBC said last week it would dole out more than £100 million (or about $198 million) to renewable-energy projects in the United Kingdom.

That is, the bank said it would make £30 million ($59 million) available in "revolving" construction capital, meaning that it plans to reinvest the capital once it has been repaid, enabling it to fund about £100 million in projects with the original £30 million.

In addition, HSBC said its Environmental Infrastructure Fund would spend up to £18 million ($36 million) to purchase 49 percent of Partnerships for Renewables. The London-based firm is working to develop 500 megawatts of renewable-energy projects on public land in the next five years.

The new investment comes on top of a $100 million commitment that HSBC announced in May as part of a partnership with four environmental groups.

But the money pales in comparison to what some other banks, such as Bank of America and Citi, have committed to the climate-change fight.

Last year, Bank of America announced a $20 billion initiative to support "environmentally sustainable business activity" and Citi committed $50 billion over 10 years to combat climate change. That didn’t keep them from being targeted by the Rainforest Action Network for their coal investments (see Environmental Group Calls Out Citi, B of A).

In January, investment bank and financial-services giant Morgan Stanley said it would acquire a minority equity stake in NGEN Partners, a venture-capital firm with a focus on green technologies (See Morgan Stanley Takes a Green Stake in Venture Capital).

And in February, Morgan Stanley, Citi and JPMorgan Chase drew up the Carbon Principles, guidelines for evaluating and accounting for the carbon risks associated with financing electric-power projects.

In spite of recession fears, venture capitalists also are continuing to invest in greentech. Here are some of the deals announced last week that highlight their proclivity.


  • In one of the largest-ever funding rounds for lighting, Luminus Devices recharged with $72 million in a fifth round of funding (see Luminus Closes $72M to Light Up New Applications). The cash brings the Billerica, Mass.-based light-emitting-diode company’s total funding to a whopping $139 million. Backers include lead investor Braemar Energy Ventures and CMEA Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, Battery Ventures, Argonaut Partners and Stata Venture Partners.
  • Dutch display-manufacturing company Liquavista grabbed €8 million ($12.5 million) in a second round of financing. Existing investors Amadeus Capital Partners, GIMV and New Venture Partners all reinvested. The money will help the company commercialize its brighter displays for electronics such as watches, digital cameras and low-power laptops.
  • Fremont, Calif.-based Advanced Power Project, which converts waste heat from combustion gas turbines in power plants into additional power, secured an undisclosed amount in a first round of funding. Investors included Bay Partners and Sequoia Capital, which led the financing, and Redpoint.
  • Swedish electronic-materials manufacturer Norstel has raised €15 million ($23.5 million) in venture-capital funding from Northzone Ventures, Eqvitec and Creandum. Norstel will use the money to expand its manufacturing and development of energy-efficient silicon-carbide wafers for electronics. The company claims the material can reduce energy loss by up to 50 percent, compared to conventional silicon technology.
  • Thermoelectric efficiency-material developer GMZ Energy told VentureBeat Thursday it has grabbed an undisclosed amount of seed financing from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. GMZ is developing tiny alloy nanostructures that can act as micro-coolers and power generators. Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Boston College researchers, who first developed the technology, said the approach is inexpensive and could make a wide range of products more energy efficient.
  • Bourne, Mass.-based Environmental Operating Solutions, which has developed chemicals that remove nitrogen from wastewater using less energy than methanol and other commonly used materials, said it has closed a first tranche of financing on the way to a $2.5 million round. Stuart Mill Venture Partners led the funding. Environmental Operating Solutions didn’t disclose the amount of the first tranche, but CEO Eric Stoermer said it made up a "significant portion" of the round.


  • China said Monday it plans to raise the amount it spends on energy efficiency and cutting greenhouse gases to 41.8 billion yuan ($5.9 billion) from 23.5 billion yuan last year, according to Reuters and Xinhua news service. About 7.5 billion yuan ($1.1 billion) is expected to pay for 10 energy-saving projects, including building more efficient factories. The Chinese government also plans to spend 4 billion yuan ($600 million) on closing some coal-fired power and steel plants.