Cleantech Sees Big Players Investing

GE, already a cleantech investment powerhouse on its own, announced it is joining with NRG and ConocoPhillips to form Energy Technology Ventures, a group which will be pooling $300 million in order to fund around 30 venture- and growth-stage companies over the next four years. GE said the joint venture creates “the premier investor and commercial collaboration partner for emerging and innovative energy technology companies.”

GE Energy Financial Services has invested about $200 million in 27 early- and growth-stage energy-related technology companies since January 2006, the company said. And last December, GE said its portfolio of renewable energy investments of all sorts had grown to $6 billion. NRG and ConocoPhlilips are newcomers to the corporate venture capital game, but the announcement said their expertise gives the Energy Technology Ventures the know-how to exploit opportunities in “renewable power generation, smart grid, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, emission controls, water and biofuels sectors, primarily in North America, Europe and Israel.”

General Electric, cleantech joint ventures, China

image via GE

The companies said they were kicking off the joint venture with investments in three companies: Alta Devices of Santa Clara, Calif., which is working on “improving the production economics of advanced materials for high-efficiency, low-cost solar energy”; the cleaner-coal company Ciris Energy of Centennial, Colo.; and Camarillo, Calif., based CoolPlanetBioFuels, which is “developing technology that converts low-grade biomass into high-grade fuel and carbon that can be sequestered.”

Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.

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