Danotek Raises $15 Million in Series B Round of Financing

Danotek Motion Technologies

Danotek Motion Technologies, a Canton, Michigan-based company that develops and manufactures energy conversion systems for the wind energy and industrial markets, recently announced that it raised $15 million in a series B round of financing. This round of financing was led by Khosla Ventures, CMEA Capital, GE Energy Financial Services, Statoil Technology Invest, and included undisclosed independent contributors.  GE Energy, Statoil and CMEA invested $7.25 million in Danotek in November 2008 and invested (with Khosla Ventures) $13.2 million in December 2009.

According to an article in Xconomy, Danotek was founded in 2001 by a group of former GE engineers, including Daniel Gizaw, who also worked at Cummins Power Generation, General Motors, and Ford Motor.  Below is a brief Danotek video featuring Mr. Gizaw:

The company is now focused on products including permanent magnet generators (PMG) and power electronics for wind turbines.  Danotek said it will use the funds from its series B round to commercialize its PMG technology and expand its research and development initiatives.

"Our leading PMG technology, combined with our commitment to effective partnerships with our customers, has already been rewarded with orders exceeding $50 million. The fact that our current investors want to continue supporting us via the B-round illustrates their confidence in our technology and leadership team," noted Don Naab, Danotek’s President and CEO. "We are already contracted with some of the wind industry’s leading turbine manufacturers, with our first systems going up-tower later this year, and we're engaged in multiple negotiations with several other globally-recognized turbine manufacturers. Danotek is on track and well positioned for success."

"At Khosla Ventures we invest in technologies with the potential to disrupt their industries," said founder Vinod Khosla. "The latest round of orders Danotek has received for its permanent magnet generators is just the beginning. We look forward to Danotek's continued growth by means of company innovation, partnerships, and customers across the globe."

"Danotek's products improve the efficiency and reliability of the drive-train, which is critical for its customers. We've been impressed by its proven commercial traction and increased our investment so Danotek can continue to grow its customer base and extend its product line," said Rachel Sheinbein, partner at CMEA Capital. "We believe that the company is well-positioned to become a leading force in the wind energy industry."

– This post was written by Rob Stewart, a graduate student pursuing an M.A. in Urban Sustainability at the Antioch University of Los Angeles, and edited by Leonard Adler, Founder and Publisher of Green VC.

Google, Good Energies, and Marubeni Corporation Invest in Atlantic Wind Connection Backbone Transmission Project

On October 12, Google and Good Energies announced (Google blog post | Good Energies press release) that each had invested in the development stage of the Atlantic Wind Connection Backbone (AWC) Transmission Project.  The specific dollar value of the investment wasn't disclosed, but each obtained a 37.5% stake. The New York Times reported the cost of the transmission project at $5 billion and cited the CEO of Trans-Elect who said that the stakes taken by Google and Good Energies would require an investment of $200 million each in the initial phase of construction (if the companies maintained their percentages of ownership). In addition, The New York Times reported that Marubeni Corporation obtained a 15% stake in this project.

The development of this project is being by Trans-Elect, which hopes to begin construction in 2013 of the proposed 350-mile underwater backbone, which would run from New Jersey to Virginia.  When completed, it is projected to provide transmission capabilities for approximately 6,000 MW of offshore wind capacity.

"This new American super grid off the Mid-Atlantic coast will unlock an important untapped resource, creating the foundation for a new industry and jobs for thousands of American workers," said Bob Mitchell, CEO of Trans-Elect.

"We are honored to participate with our partners in this groundbreaking project. The Atlantic Wind Connection Project will enable the development of thousands of megawatts of wind energy capacity in one of the nation’s most restricted power markets. AWC will help bring stability and security to the eastern power grid while enabling the states to meet their renewable energy goals and standards by accessing an untapped large scale local renewable resource – offshore wind," said John Breckenridge, Managing Director at Good Energies. "Good Energies consistently searches for outstanding investmentopportunities that present innovative and cost-effective solutions and which we can leverageour expertise to aid in the transition to a low carbon economy."

"We are excited to make our first investment in transmission development on this gamechanging renewable energy project," added Nathan Campbell, Director at Good Energies. "We see the space as an enormous opportunity to deploy capital within our North American Infrastructure fund. Transmission backbones that enable gigawatts of renewable energy to be deployed will be critical in achieving long term public policy objectives."

June 15 is European Wind Day 2008

European Wind Day 2008

Today, June 15th, is European Wind Day 2008.  This event, with the theme "Discover Unlimited Power," is organized by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and is designed to educate the public on wind power and its benefits.

Events will be taking place in 20 countries and include contests and the opening to the public of more than 100 wind farms. Please click on the map below to view events in each participating country:

European Wind Day 2008: Map of Events

This year’s event follows the success of the inaugural European Wind Day 2007, which drew more than 40,000 participants in countries across Europe.

For more information:

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).

For more information:

WIREC 2008 (Washington International Renewable Energy Conference) To Take Place from March 3 – 7

During the first week of March, a major domestic and international renewable energy event — the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008) — will take place in Washington, DC.  WIREC 2008 consists of three inter-related events, which are described below:

Event #1 – WIREC 2008: Global ministerial-level meeting (March 4 – 6)
Summary: WIREC 2008 is hosted by the United States Government in cooperation with the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) and will bring together government, civil society and private business leaders to address the benefits and costs of a major and rapid scale-up in the global deployment of renewable energy technology.   WIREC 2008 is the third global ministerial-level conference on renewable energy – previous events were held in Beijing (2005) and Bonn (2004).

For more information:

Event #2 – The Trade Show at WIREC 2008 (March 4 – 6)
Summary: The Trade Show at WIREC 2008, hosted by the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) and the leading U.S. renewable energy trade associations, is expected to be the largest business-to-business and business-to-government conference and exposition ever held on renewable energy in the U.S. It will also be a global event, with representatives from more than 70 countries attending. It consists of two parts – a business conference and expo.  These are described below.

Business Conference: This will feature two days of more than 40 panel presentations that will cover renewable energy technologies including wind, solar, hydro, ocean, geothermal, biomass, biofuels, and waste-to energy.  Speakers at the business conference will include:

Expo: The expo will feature over 300 renewable energy technology suppliers, systems integrators, financiers, professional services firms, end users, utility companies, energy companies, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, associations, government agencies, foreign governments and economic missions, and other exhibitors.

For more information:

Event #3 – WIREC 2008 Official Side Events (March 3 – 7)
Summary:  The WIREC 2008 Official Side Events are a series of more than 75 panel sessions that provide an opportunity for the participants at the WIREC 2008 events to learn and share their expertise in areas such as energy security, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.  According to Michael Eckhart, President of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE), "These events offer a less formal setting that all WIREC and Trade Show registrants may actively participate in, and we encourage them to speak up and be heard in more than one Official Side Event."

For more information:

Wind Power Finance and Investment Summit is February 6-8 in San Diego

Infocast (a division of Information Forecast) will present the Wind Power Finance and Investment Summit from February 6-8, 2008 in San Diego, California.  This conference provides a forum for networking, dealmaking and learning about new developments in the wind power/ wind energy sector.  More than 500 people from various sectors of the wind power community – including project developers, lenders, and investors – attended the 2007 event.  Examples of conference panel sessions for the 2008 event include:

Strategic Wind Developers’ Perspective on Wind Financing

Independent Wind Developers’ Perspectives on Wind Financing and Development

For more information:

Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative Launched

Earlier this week U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Alexander Karsner and Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the State of Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Energy.  This agreement created the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative, a partnership that is intended to make Hawaii a clean energy model for the United States.

The overarching purpose and key goals of this partnership are outlined in Section II of the MOU:

The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is to establish a long-term partnership between the State of Hawaii and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that will result in a fundamental and sustained transformation in the way in which renewable energy efficiency resources are planned and used in the State. Successful development and execution of the objectives contemplated in this partnership will provide a replicable global model for achieving similar results.

The DOE-Hawaii Partnership will build upon the dynamic, ongoing work of public and private organizations at the State, county, and grassroots levels in order to achieve several key goals:

  • To define the structural transformation that will need to occur to transition the State to a clean energy dominated economy
  • To demonstrate and foster innovation in the use of clean energy technologies, financing methodologies, and enabling policies designed to accelerate social, economic and political acceptance of a clean energy dominated economy
  • To create opportunity at all levels of society that ensures wide-spread distribution of the benefits resulting from the transition to a clean, sustainable energy State
  • To establish an “open source” learning model for others seeking to achieve similar goals
  • To build the workforce with crosscutting skills to enable and support a clean energy economy.

Under the MOU, Hawaii will explore a variety of renewable energy technologies including solar, oceanic, geothermal, and wind. The state will also pioneer financial, policy, and business models that the DOE and the State of Hawaii hope can be replicated throughout the US.

Hawaii, which currently imports fossil fuels for 90% of its energy, is hoping to have renewable sources provide at least 70% of the state’s energy needs by 2030.

For more information:

Marquiss Wind Power Receives $1.3 Million in Series A Financing

Marquiss Wind Power Inc. a Folsom California-based company which manufactures roof-top wind turbines, announced that it closed a $1.3 million Series A round of financing. 

Velocity Venture Capital led this funding round, with participation from Strategis Early Ventures.

“We are very pleased with the reception we have received from the investor community and businesses that want to embrace clean energy,” said Paul Misso, CEO of Marquiss Wind Power. “Our technology delivers real savings and allows businesses to meet their power needs while using less fossil fuel."

The Wall Street Journal Presents “ECO:nomics – Creating Environmental Capital” Conference on March 12-14

The Wall Street Journal will present an executive-level conference from March 12-14, 2008 in Santa Barbara, California entitled "ECO:nomics – Creating Environmental Capital" that focuses on the challenges and opportunities in the green business market.  Examples of some of the event’s sessions include:

  • Green Deals: The Environmental Factor in Corporate Investments
    Venture capitalists are pouring huge amounts of money into "greentech" companies. What’s the payoff likely to be?
    – John Doerr – Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers
  • Green Giants: The Rapid Rise of Big Renewable-Energy Players
    The price of producing electricity from solar and wind power keeps declining. Here’s a look at some major global players and their successes to date.
    – Miles George – CEO, Babcock & Brown Wind Partners
    – Dr. Zhengrong Shi – Chairman of the Board and CEO, Suntech Power Holdings

In the press release announcing this event, Alan Murray, executive editor of Wall Street Journal Online, said, "In the last year, there has been a sea change in the way the environment is viewed in the C-suites of large corporations.  We created this conference to bring the Journal’s level of thinking and analysis to this issue, and help companies understand how to both maximize the economic opportunities created by this heightened environmental consciousness, and minimize any economic pain."

For more information on this conference, including registration details, please visit the ECO:nomics – Creating Environmental Capital event website.

Google Invests in Renewable Energy

On Tuesday, November 27 Google announced a renewable energy initiative to which it will be allocating significant resources.  A key part of this initiative is the creation of a renewable energy research and development (R&D) group it is calling "RE<C".  This mission of this group is to "develop electricity from renewable sources cheaper than electricity produced from coal." 

The initial objective of RE<C is to build one gigawatt (enough electricity for a city the size of San Francisco) of renewable energy capacity that is cheaper than coal.  The initial technologies RE<C will be focusing on are advanced solar thermal power, wind power technologies, and enhanced geothermal systems.  Google is currently hiring to staff this new initiative.

To complement these efforts, Google.org will make strategic grants and investments in organizations working to produce renewable energy at a cost below that of coal-fired power plants.  They are already working with two companies — eSolar (solar thermal power) and Makani Power Inc. (high-altitude wind energy extraction). 

Google can be contacted at renewables@google.com regarding renewable energy investment, R&D or project opportunities.  Please note that Google states "Because of the expected volume, we will not be able to sign NDAs at this stage. If there is confidential information that you cannot include without an NDA, do not include it in your email."

Google stated that in 2008 it plans to spend "tens of millions on research and development and related investments in renewable energy."  In addition, as part of its capital planning process, Google also intends to invest "hundreds of millions of dollars in breakthrough renewable energy projects which generate positive returns."

For more information on this announcements and Google’s other "green" initiatives:

Media coverage on Tuesday’s announcement includes: