Sunday, July 4, 2010

Growing US Corporate Investments are Driving Cleantech in 2010

American corporate investments are powering green in 2010. Corporate activity in cleantech innovation continues to play an important role and corporations are becoming key participants in many of the largest venture and growth capital investment deals.

US corporate involvement is responsible for many of 2010's top deals. Due to the participation of companies like Intel Capital, GE Capital, Shell, and Cargill Ventures, American corporate investments are driving cleantech.

Increasing corporate commitments in renewable energy and broader cleantech sectors are evident in the strong growth of corporate investment in the first half of 2010.

Due to the pressure of meeting Renewable Portfolio Standards in many US states, companies are forging a business case for operational cleantech integration. Companies are looking to improve energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in order to reduce operational costs, mitigate energy price volatility risk, drive sustainable growth, and comply with existing and pending regulations around carbon and climate change risk disclosure.

In the first half of 2010, the total announced capacity additions by US utilities increased 197 percent compared to the second half of 2009. Levels rose from 1,393MW to 4,134MW, primarily driven by wind and solar. Power purchase agreements (PPAs) rose 148 percent in the first half of 2010, compared to the second half of 2009. Levels rose from 621MW to 1,539MW.

Corporate investment announcements reached a new high of $5.1 billion in the first half of 2010, a 325 percent increase from the same period last year. "The significant strengthening of corporate and utility investment into the cleantech sector, relative to 2009, is very encouraging, given the key role they will play in enabling broader adoption of clean technologies at scale," said Scott Smith, partner, Deloitte & Touche LLP. "Major U.S. utilities are increasing direct investments in wind and solar due to improving cost scenarios, favorable tax credits and incentives, and evolving pressure to meet Renewable Portfolio Standards."

The US is responsible for some of the largest cleantech transactions in 2010. Solyndra, a California-based thin film company received $175 million in investments. BrightSource Energy, a California-based developer of utility-scale solar thermal power plants, received $150 million. Amonix, a California-based developer of concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) solar power systems, received $129.4 million. Amyris Biotechnologies, a California-based developer of technology for the production of renewable fuels and chemicals, garned $61 million in investments and also raised a further $47.8 million from Temasek Holdings.

Virent Energy Systems, a Wisconsin-based developer of a catalytic bio-refinery platform, received $46 million. Kior, a Texas-based developer of a catalytic cracking technology for turning biomass into bio-crude, received $40 million. OpenPeak, a Florida-based developer of home energy management products, received $52 million.

North American companies received a total of $1.46 billion in investments, up 47 percent from second quarter of 2009 and accounting for 72 percent of the total global venture investment in cleantech.

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