New York pensions lead activist charge against electric utilities and extractive industries

The Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR) representing $11 trillion of assets under management announced that is has filed shareholder resolutions with nine leading oil and gas companies seeking greater transparency on how they manage the environmental risks of their fracking operations. In addition, Ceres, which directs the INCR and its coalition of U.S. investors and pension funds, has filed … [Read more...]

Venture Capital and Cleantech weekly update

LightSail Energy, a grid-scale energy storage start-up, announced it has raised $37.3 million in series “D” investment. The round was led by PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel and included the leader of LightSail’s last investment round, Khosla Ventures, as well as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, and new investor Total, the large French energy firm.  The cash will help LightSail ship pilot units of its … [Read more...]

GAO joins major reinsurance companies on identifying climate risks

Since 1990 the Government Accounting Office (GAO) has provided a list of key high-risk areas to support more informed Congressional decision making and inform members of Congress about key issues. In their latest report released this week. The GAO identified climate change and gaps in weather satellite data as two key new risk areas. The report says that between 2004 and 2011, weather-related … [Read more...]

Venture Capital and Cleantech weekly update

Lux Capital announced that it raised $245 million for its third fund, topping the $200 million it set out to raise and more than twice the size of the previous fund. With a focus on cleantech, and health care , Lux expects to fund companies that other firms have been avoiding. “None of these are momentum investments,” said Peter Hebert, a managing partner at Lux. “We’re looking for … [Read more...]

Financial innovation called for at ACORE’s policy forum

In a panel discussion at the recent National Renewable Energy Policy Forum put together by ACORE, Stanford Law Professor Dan Reicher argued that energy “policies must move beyond traditional tax credits and enable the sector to tap into much larger sources of private capital.” During his panel, ‘Finance Meets Policy: Beyond Tax Credits’ Reicher and other panelists discussed expanding Master … [Read more...]

Venture Capital and Cleantech weekly update

BURN Manufacturing received $1,000,000 from General Electric (GE) and $3,000,000 from Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). This equity capital will help BURN build a factory in Kenya that would make high-efficiency cookstoves, with additional assembly done in Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. The stoves are an alternative to the rudimentary, inefficient, and hazardous cooking fires that are … [Read more...]

Divestment strategy gains momentum as climate change risks increase

Led by pressure from activists, an increasing number of investors are expected to divest fossil fuel holdings this year, amid growing awareness the risks of climate change, according to a recent analysis. MSCI Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Research, a leading analysis firm has stated that the “number one” ESG trend to watch in 2013 is how emissions and weather-related risks can impact … [Read more...]

Outlook for electric vehicles murky as start-ups Better Place, Fisker continue to struggle

There is more bad news for the electric vehicle industry as several companies announce changes to their struggling business models. The public's lack of appetite for electric vehicles has also persuaded the Obama administration to back away from its aggressive goal to put 1 million electric cars on U.S. roads by 2015 (See previous discussion on EV struggles here and here). Better Place, an … [Read more...]

Venture Capital and Cleantech weekly update

Nest, a maker of advanced thermostats, received $80,000,000 a round of investment led by Google Ventures. Other investors include Venrock Associates, Generation Investment Management, Intertrust, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB), Lightspeed Venture Partners, and Shasta Ventures. This round was reportedly done at a valuation of $800 million. Nest is reportedly shipping between 40,000 … [Read more...]