The Wall Street Journal Highlights Challenges Faced by Electric Vehicle Industry

Electric-Car Makers Struggle is the Eyes on the Road column for December 8th written by Wall Street Journal senior editor Joe White. The article highlights some of the financial, technology, and other challenges faced by the electric vehicle industry.  There is also a related video, in which Joe White speaks with Brian Wynne, President of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA).

Wind Power Growth Highlighted by The New York Times

Move Over, Oil, There’s Money in Texas Wind is an article in the February 23, 2008 issue of The New York Times that highlights the increasing investment in wind power in Texas and other parts of the United States. The article also includes a chart of state wind power generating capacity and there is a related slide show.

According to data from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the total wind power generating capacity in the U.S. increased by 45% in 2007, with the addition of 5,244 megawatts (MW).  This represented an investment of $9 billion.  At the end of 2007, the total wind power generating capacity in the U.S. was 16,818 MW, with the leading states as follows:

  • Texas – 4,356 MW
  • California – 2,439 MW
  • Minnesota – 1,299 MW
  • Iowa – 1,273 MW
  • Washington – 1,163 MW

According to AWEA, wind power is projected to produce approximately 48 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity in 2008, representing slightly more than 1% of the U.S. electricity supply (this is equivalent to the electricity needed for more than 4.5 million homes).

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Social Venture Capital Firms and Other Funding Sources for Social Entrepreneurs Highlighted by Inc. Magazine

Do-Gooder Finance (and related sidebar Social Capital) is an article in the February 2008 issue of Inc. that highlights social venture capital firms and banks that support social entrepreneurs.  The article includes information on the experiences of two social entrepreneurs who obtaining funding from these sources — Priya Haji, founder of World of Good, who obtained a line of credit from RSF Social Finance, Root Capital, and Shared Interest; and Charlie Crystle, founder of Mission Reseach, who obtained funding from Underdog Ventures.  Other funding sources mentioned in the article and sidebar include Good Capital, New Resource Bank, ShoreBank Pacific, and TBL Capital.

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Solar Technology Innovation in Silicon Valley Highlighted by The New York Times

Silicon Valley Starts to Turn Its Face to the Sun is an article in the February 17, 2008 issue of The New York Times that highlights the increasing interest and activity in Silicon Valley in the solar technology sector.  In addition, the article describes both the positive belief held by some people in Silicon Valley that it can become a leader in a significant new global market (a so-called "Solar Valley") as well as cautionary perspectives expressed by others regarding the long-term sustainability of this sector.

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Clean Energy Venture Investments Highlighted by The Wall Street Journal

Betting on Green is an article in the February 11, 2008 issue of The Wall Street Journal that provides a summary of the current state of venture capital investing in clean-energy enterprises. Overall, the article discusses that while there has been increasing venture capital investment in this sector it may take time before investors see returns as a number of these companies are involved in areas that require significant capital expenditures and time to successfully commercialize.  Nevertheless, venture capitalists are continuing to invest in this sector, as illustrated by the following article excerpt:

Clean energy represents "the biggest set of new market opportunities to come along in a long time," says Ken Lawler, a partner at Battery Ventures in Menlo Park, Calif., which is devoting 20% of its investments to clean-tech companies. "It’s something you have to be a part of."

The article also highlights some successes and setbacks faced by companies and investors in three clean-energy sectors – demand-response, solar, and biofuels.  For more information:

Green Venture Capitalists Highlighted by Forbes

Growing Up Green is an article in the February 11, 2008 issue of Forbes that discusses how a new generation of venture capitalists are focusing on cleantech / greentech. The article spotlights three venture capitalists under 40 — Aileen Lee and Trae Vassallo (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) and Samir Kaul (Khosla Ventures) and states that:

These three are among venture capital’s new guard. Like their predecessors, they’re smart, driven to win and inclined to gravitate to the biggest opportunity they can find. Ten years ago it was software and telecom. Two years ago it was the Web. Now the fad is all things green: renewable fuels, electric cars, smart power grids, clean coal.

The article also highlights different perspectives — both the optimism and concern — in the venture capital community regarding the opportunities in cleantech / greentech.  For more information:

Vinod Khosla, Founder of Khosla Ventures, Profiled by San Francisco Chronicle

Today’s edition of the San Francisco Chronicle profiles Vinod Khosla (founder of Khosla Ventures) in one of its 2007 year-in-review "Faces of Business 2007" stories.  The profile describes Khosla’s background and his current approach to investing in clean tech / green tech, for example:

His willingness to buck conventional wisdom and finance big, game-changing ideas has placed Khosla at the forefront of green tech. Here, all the challenges are huge, and the technology is disruptive. If things go the way Khosla wants, our entire fossil fuel-dependent energy system will get turned on its head.

One of his startups, Range Fuels, is building a bio-refinery in Georgia that will make ethanol from wood scraps left over from timber harvests. Another, Ausra, plans to build large solar thermal power plants in Central and Southern California, generating power for far less money than rooftop solar panels can. Similar solar plants have been in use in California for decades, but Ausra uses a unique design that should be cheaper to mass produce.

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San Jose Mercury News Highlights Growing Role of Silicon Valley in Clean Tech

The San Jose Mercury News highlights the growing role of Silicon Valley in clean tech / green tech in one of its 2007 year-in-review stories.  The article (Clean Tech Paves Way for New Silicon Valley industry) includes comments from Eric Straser, a general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, a Menlo Park, California-based venture capital firm:

Eric Straser, a general partner at Mohr Davidow Ventures, leads that firm’s venture capital investments in clean tech. He sees 2007 as the year that Silicon Valley cemented its leadership position in environmental technologies.

"The valley is doing what it’s always done: identify and highlight those problems and then attack it with great technology and labor force," Straser said. "It’s no surprise to me that three or four years into the clean tech movement, the valley is a leader."

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