The big story of the week is that General Motors (NYSE: GM) held one of the biggest IPO's in history Thursday, after filing for bankruptcy in the summer of 2009 and receiving a $50 billion bailout from the U.S. government. It's not exactly a cleantech story, but the launch next month of the electric Chevy Volt has definitely helped to give the company new life and at least the image of forward thinking. Investors must be convinced the company's restructuring was successful, because share prices jumped from $33 to around $36 dollars in the first few hours of trading. Of course, those investors may also consider the company a safe bet, because the feds still own more than 30% of the company. Depending on what reports you read the IPO was either the largest or second-largest in history, raising about $29 billion.
Speaking of electric vehicles, GE (NYSE: GE) said at the end of last week that it will purchase 25,000 of them by 2015 for its own fleet and also for the fleets the company manages through its Capital Fleet Services business. It's the largest single commitment for electric vehicles made by any corporation to date. Of course, GE has a vested interest in seeing electric vehicles adopted world wide, because in addition to managing fleets, the company also makes recharging stations and other key components for EV infrastructure. GE said the EV market could generate $500 million in revenue for the company over the next three years. GE plans to buy 12,000 GM vehicles to get the ball rolling and will add other vehicles as manufacturers expand their portfolios.
GE also announced an investment of $55 million in 12 different advanced electric grid technologies. The awards are the first announced under the $200 million “GE ecomagination Challenge” announced in July. Technologies range from efficient appliances and energy management systems to electric vehicle charging stations and energy storage. The companies chosen will benefit not only from the funding but from the opportunity to commercialize their technologies with GE. A few of the companies we've covered before, such as Consert, OPOWER and SynapSense Corporation.
U.S. power company Exelon (NYSE: EXC) said it plans to invest nearly $5
billion in clean energy projects starting this year with a goal of
eliminating the equivalent of its 2001 carbon footprint by 2020. The projects in Illinois, Pennsylvania and other states include
energy-efficiency and smart grid programs, renewable energy investments,
and increased output at Exelon's nuclear plants.
John W. Rowe, chairman and CEO of Exelon, said the question facing the United States is not whether it should reduce air
pollution and carbon emissions, but how to do so affordably. Exelon said an analysis of the 13-state mid-Atlantic power market in which the company operates, showed that power companies can cut about 60 million metric tons of carbon emissions per year
through energy efficiency, nuclear uprates, coal plant retirements and
new natural gas generation.
Norwegian energy company Statoil (NYSE: STO) said it plans to concentrate even more strongly on
offshore wind turbines as part of its strategy for renewable energy. As part of its commitment to marine turbines, the company said it will gradually divest its land-based wind power projects. The company said the decision is due in part to good test results with its Hywind floating platform for offshore turbines. The company said the market for the platforms has grown 50% in the last year, while the company has also figured out how to reduce costs for the units by 50%. Statoil is currently testing the platforms, as well as direct drive turbines, off the coast of Norway.
Software developer Telvent (Nasdaq: TLVT) announced that it will work with Microsoft
(Nasdaq: MSFT) to create smart
grid solutions for the utility industry. The collaboration will give Telvent greater access to Microsoft
technology and resources and allow the company to incorporate more of Microsoft’s Smart
Energy Reference Architecture (SERA) and cloud computing platform. Telvent said utilities will benefit from reduced IT costs, easier-to-implement upgrades and more convenient
monthly software fees rather than large, capital-intensive IT projects. Telvent already provides software to more than 500 utilities worldwide.
OnGreen, a website that aims to become the LinkedIn of the cleantech
industry, announced $1.4 million in Series A funding from China Southern
Hong Kong Investment Ltd. Green start-ups use OnGreen.com to raise cleantech capital
and to network with investors and other industry professionals. OnGreen is based in Los Angeles, and the site currently features about 300 entrepreneurs in more than 35 countries. OnGreen said a
September survey found that 50% of the start-ups who posted their business
plans on the site said they were contacted by angel or VC investors as a