[pagebreak:Funding Roundup: Will Green Investments Bring Ireland More Luck?] Ireland already associates with the color green, but now its largest utility could be making it even greener. The Electric Supply Board said last week it would spend €10.5 billion to green technology and projects.
The Electric Supply Board said it will spend €4 billion ($6.3 billion) of the funding on renewable-energy projects and €6.5 billion ($10.24 billion) to support smart metering and smart-grid networks.
The funding is part of €22 billion ($34.65 billion) in investments the utility plans to make through 2020 to reach a goal of delivering one-third of its electricity from renewable sources.
The Irish aren’t the only ones investing in greentech. Check out this week’s roundup of deals to see who else is making a play.
- Smart-grid company GridPoint said Thursday it had raised $15 million in a strategic investment by the Quercus Trust. GridPoint, which closed $48.5 million in a fourth round of funding in October, has raised a total of $102 million in equity capital. The company also said Thursday it had successfully tested a "smart-charging" software platform for plug-in hybrids with utility Duke Energy (see Laying the Grid Groundwork for Plug-In Hybrids).
- Power company AES Corp. (NYSE: AES) and private-equity firm Riverstone Holdings said last week the two have teamed up to pour up to $1 billion into a joint venture focused on developing large solar-electric projects around the world. The two companies will each fork out up to $500 million over five years for the newly minted company, AES Solar, which will own and operate "utility-scale" solar installations (see Large PV Gets Big Boost).
- Startup Aptera said Wednesday it had raised enough money to manufacture and support its Typ-1, a futuristic-looking three-wheeled electric vehicle, and is on track to begin manufacturing by the end of this year (see Sci-fi Inspired Vehicle to Hit California Roads). The Carlsbad, Calif. company, which is backed by Idealab and Esenjay Investments, did not disclose when and how much it had raised. In November, Aptera announced it was raising funding (see Aptera Launches 3-Wheeler and Mr. Spock’s New Ride).
- Agricultural giant Cargill and catalyst developer Materia said Wednesday they have spun off Elevance Renewable Sciences. The parent companies also said Elevance had scored $40 million in a round led by TPG Growth and TPG Biotechnology Partners. The newly minted company is focused on using feedstocks such as soy, canola and corn to create bio-versions of oil-based chemicals and materials (see Cargill and Materia Spin Off Biochemical Startup).
- Canadian solar silicon producer 6N Silicon said Monday it had grabbed up to $20 million in a second round of funding. Good Energies led the financing. Previous investors Ventures West Management and Yaletown Venture Partners also participated. The money will be used to move 6N Silicon into commercial production. The company aims to make low-cost, solar-grade silicon.
- Spokane, Wash.-based fuel-cell maker ReliOn has raised $16.9 million in a third round of funding, according to Private Equity Hub and TradingMarkets.com. Pacific Corporate Group, Chrysalix Ventures, Enterprise Partners, Wall Street Technology Partners and Oak Investment Partners contributed to the financing. ReliOn’s is expected to use the money to expand beyond its current customer base, which consists of telecommunication providers and other communication companies, according to TradingMarkets.com.
- MIT spinoff 1366 Technologies said Thursday it scored $12.4 million in a first round of finding to develop silicon solar cells. North Bridge Venture Partners and Polaris Venture Partners co-led the financing. The spinoff said its approach will combine advancements in cell architecture and manufacturing improvements to bring prices down so that solar is competitive with coal-based electricity.
- Clean Mobile has raised €3.3 million in its first round of venture-capital funding, according to an announcement from Earlybird Venture Capital on Monday. Earlybird and the Silicon Valley Technology Group led the round and High Tech Gründer Fonds participated. Clean Mobile is developing fuel-cell power drives for small vehicles such as city scooters, wheelchairs and small delivery vehicles.
- Onzo, a U.K.-based energy-management and carbon-monitoring company, has raised £2 million ($3.9 million) from Scottish & Southern Energy and its investment partner Sigma Capital Group, which each invested £1 million, according to Thomson Financial (via Trading Markets). As part of the deal, the utility also has ordered more than £7 million ($13.8 million) of Onzo’s products and has exclusive rights to the startup’s products and services.
- Generation Investment Management LLP, the London-based firm founded by former Vice President Al Gore and former Goldman Sachs Asset Management CEO David Blood, is launching a venture-capital fund, according to Dow Jones’ Clean Technology Investor. The fund is expected to complement Generation Investment’s asset-management work around sustainability, the newsletter reported.
[pagebreak:Funding Roundup: Continued]
- On Thursday, CMEA Ventures said it had closed its largest venture fund at $400 million. The fund, CMEA Ventures VII, will be used to invest in a variety of sectors including energy, materials, information technology and life sciences. The San Francisco Bay area-based venture firm’s cleantech portfolio companies include A123 Systems and Solar Company.
- Credit Suisse, together with its clients and affiliates, will invest at least $300 million in renewable-energy companies. Investments will be doled out through private-equity firm Hudson Clean Energy Partners.
- iNovia Capital, a Canadian manager of seed and early stage venture-capital funds, announced last week the launch of its $107 million Canadian ($104 million) second fund. The financing firm will devote about 25 percent of the fund to cleantech, said Josko Bobanovic, a principal at iNovia. The rest will be devoted to information technology and life sciences.
- Pacific Ethanol (NSDQ: PEIX) announced after the market close Thursday that the company had snagged a $40 million cash infusion by selling stock to Lyles United (see Pacific Ethanol Gets Much-Needed Cash). The news came less than a month after the Sacramento, Calif.-based ethanol producer said it might be forced to delay or abandon construction of its plants if it is unable to raise additional financing (see Pacific Ethanol Falls 13% on Expected Loss).
- Ascent Solar Technologies (NSDQ: ASTI) said Friday it was raising approximately $28.4 million from Norsk Hydro in a deal set to close Monday. Ascent, which develops thin-film solar panels, sold 2.3 million shares of common stock and 1.7 million Class B warrants to Norsk subsidiary Norsk Hydro Produksjon. The company now owns about 35 percent of Ascent’s common shares, as well as 35 percent of its Class B warrants.
- The U.S. Department of Energy last week said it will invest $13.7 million in 11 university-led solar projects aimed at making solar energy cost-competitive with traditional electricity by 2015. The grants, which will be spread out over the three years, will be matched with a 20-percent industry investment, bringing the total commitment to $17.4 million. The University of Delaware said it has been selected to receive a $3.75 million DOE grant for its research into high-efficiency silicon-based solar cells. The DOE also announced it would spend up to $2.4 million to help 12 cities go solar.
- The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Technology Laboratory has signed a $26 million deal with a consortium of universities, including Carnegie Mellon, the University of Pittsburgh and West Virginia University, to develop cleaner, more efficient fossil-fuel technologies.
- Ohio’s Third Frontier Commission last week awarded more than $12 million in grants for "advanced energy" projects, including those in wind and solar power, alternative fuels, energy storage and instruments, controls and electronics.