Three US corporate giants have committed $300 million to an energy technology investment company to fund “potentially game-changing technologies”.
GE Capital, the investment arm of GE, power generator NRG Energy and oil and gas firm ConocoPhillips are backing Energy Technology Ventures, which aims to fund around 30 venture- and growth-stage companies over the next four years.
The company will focus on renewable power generation, smart grid, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, emission controls, water and biofuels, primarily in North America, Europe and Israel. It will seek to take “significant minority investments”, a spokesman said.
It has announced its first investments: solar photovoltaic materials firm Alta Devices, coal-to-methane company Ciris Energy, and advanced biofuels firm CoolPlanetBioFuels.
The three partners have “complementary capabilities and significant strategic interests in the development of next-generation energy technology”, they say, and will help start-ups develop and commercialise their technologies.
“Partnering with major energy companies such as NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips enables us to pool our financial resources and technological expertise – along with our extensive relationships – to provide more than money to emerging energy technology companies,” said Kevin Skillern, leader of venture capital at GE Energy Financial Services.
His team has invested about $200 million in 27 early- and growth-stage energy-related technology companies since January 2006, including four that have gone public: battery company A123 Systems, Codexis, power technology firm Orion Energy Systems and wind turbine component maker China High Speed Transmission.
Meanwhile, the venture is the first corporate investment programme by both ConocoPhillips and NRG Energy.
By. Mark Nicholls
Source: Environmental Finance