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Good news for green entrepreneurs: There’s a handful of new investment funds forming that have their eye on cleantech investing.
Today, investment firm BlackRock and European renewables company NTR said they would team up to launch a new renewable power investment group. NTR’s CEO Jim Barry will take the role of chief investment officer on the BlackRock Alternative Investors platform, which currently manages over $110 billion in a range of assets. BlackRock recently led a $30 million investment round for biofuels company LS9.
Last week, investment firm Silver Lake said it would team with George Soros’s fund to invest in energy. The new fund will be led by veterans of Foundation Capital and the Department of Energy. BMW announced a $100 million venture fund for transportation innovation and application at the same time it announced a new brand of eco-friendly cars. Venture capital firm Accel Partners is currently looking to raise $2 billion in new funds and is looking to invest part of the proceeds in energy companies in China.
Cleantech raked in $243 billion in investment worldwide last year. In the U.S., the sector drew $7.8 billion in venture capital last year, but fundings slowed in the second half of the year, and venture capital fundraising is at an all-time low since 2003. Still, institutional investors seem to have appetite for the sector. Last year, financial services TIAA-CREF pledged to invest $50 million alongside venture capital investments made by investment firm Good Energies in the areas of energy efficiency and green building technology. Citi recently committed $40 million for financing solar projects by SolarCity.
NTR has worked on a number of projects globally in solar, wind and biofuels. One of its companies is Tessera Solar, which uses solar technology developed by its sister company, Stirling Energy. Tessera has recently been through a rough bout with its California solar projects, which were both ultimately sold off after court-ordered delays and the cancellation of a power purchase agreement from Southern California Edison. The company’s investments in Stirling and the delays associated with rolling out its technology have led NTR’s solar division to lose €73.8 million (about $102 million) in the six months ended September 2010, Earth2Tech notes.
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