Tag Archives: Credit Suisse

The Alternative Agenda: Google.org Gives $1M for Shweeb’s Human Monorail

Shweeb: If Google thinks it's the future of urban transport, who are we to argue?

This has the feel of a prank but…

Google.org, the search giant’s philanthropic arm, has given $1 million to human powered monorail company Shweeb to “drive innovation in public transportation.” The New Zealand-based company is almost too weird to believe, but it’s described as “short to medium distance, urban personal transport, using human-powered vehicles on a monorail.” Continue reading The Alternative Agenda: Google.org Gives $1M for Shweeb’s Human Monorail

The Week in Green Energy: The end of Cap and Trade, For Now

Harry Reid

The decider….Convinced he didn't have the votes for a cap-and-trade bill, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has set his sights on passing a weaker energy bill.

It was a bad week for the renewable energy sector and the environmental community as a whole. For almost a year, since the House passed the historic American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), there was optimism that the senate would pass its own measure and finally bring forth the long-awaited comprehensive energy and climate change law. Yet, after months of negotiations, compromise and outreach the Senate Democratic leadership on Thursday afternoon decided not to push for legislation capping carbon emissions. They killed the Kerry – Lieberman American Power Act and its controversial cap-and-trade proposal.

This is a setback for the environmental community but also investors in cleantech and renewable energy companies. Indeed as key stimulus funding programs from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) expire, the green industry has been hungry for the sort of long-term certainty a cap-and-trade regime would bring. Some of the proceeds raised from the sales of carbon permits would have provided a sustainable funding stream to support greentech and renewable energy infrastructure. More importantly, pricing carbon would lay the groundwork for a market supported green industry rather than one largely supported by government handouts that were subject to the shifting winds of politics.

Cleantech venture capitalist Rob Day, a partner with Black Coral Capital, wrote in Greentech Media that yesterday’s news meant he would have a hard time backing startups with a business model built around a priced carbon. Day wrote:

“If you send me a business plan which includes a price per carbon as part of your economic value proposition I’m going to have to mentally reset that value to $0/ton and assess your value proposition through that lens.”

He added that the sector will have to brace themeselves for more uncertainty and that, he said, is an “absolute industry-killer.”

So what kind of energy bill will replace Kerry-Lieberman? Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones writes that Democrats are expected to a throw out a hodgepoge of of BP spill-focused measures as well as incentives like $5 billion to spur the development of a natural gas truck fleet. There will also likely be another $5 billion to fund the HomeStar program, which will encourage construction of energy-efficient homes. With November’s elections looming, Obama’s green economy will have to wait. If Republicans take over Congress in the fall, then it could be years before cap-and-trade is revisited.

Despite the lack of long-term renewable energy law, investments will continue but project developers without stellar assets will find it even more difficult to secure project finance. This week developer Terra-Gen Power closed a $1.2 billion financing supporting 570 megawatts of wind capacity at its Alta Wind Energy Center in Kern County, California. Citi led the bank syndicate. The bank will buy the project from Terra-Gen and then lease it back to the developers. Bankers have traditionally shied away from leaseback transactions backing wind projects because, unlike gas-fired power plants, they do not generate electricity consistently.

A lawyer involved in the deal tells us that Terra-Gen’s strong backing was instrumental in helping the developer get the financing. The company is partially owned by Adebayo Ogunlesi’s Global Infrastructure Partners. Ogunlesi is a former vice chairman of Credit Suisse (the Swiss bank is involved in the funding) investment banking business. Another factor that helped Terra – Gen is its power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison, which was signed in 2006 when natural gas prices were high and wind-generated electricity was more competitive.

VC and PE Watch

This week we learned Christopher Huntington, a co-founder and vice president of VC-backed SkyFuel had launched the New York-based New Energy Advisors. Joining him in the new venture is Mark Cox, the founder and general partner of cleantech-focused VC, New Energy Fund.

Stealth battery developer XL Hybrids has increased its Series A funding to $1.58 million,bringing it $300,000 over the $1.2 million it had initially set out to raise as part of this inaugural funding round. Investor name were not disclosed.

Khosla Ventures-backed Calera, a developer of technology that captures emissions from industrial flues and recycle it into pavement and building materials, secured $19.9 million in stimulus funds from the Department of Energy to help it scale its technology, reports Earth2Tech.

Rambling

While the Senate dithered about America’s long-term energy future, Google acted decisively this week to strengthen its green cred. For the first time since it started investing in cleantech and renewable energy, the Mountain View, Calif., search engine giant Google inked a 20-year agreement to purchase wind power from NextEra Energy to power several data centers. Over the past three years Google has tackled the green revolution from various angles. It’s been a venture capitalist, investing some $50 million backing smartgrid, geothermal, and other high-risk, high-reward startups. It is also developing its own solar technology in house and as of a few month ago taken equity stakes in actual wind farms. The power purchase agreement was done through Google’s recently incorporated Google Energy, which allows the company to buy electricity wholesale. Google (and a slew of other Fortune 500 chieftains) obviously understand that in world where carbon will be constrained — it’s not a matter of “if” but rather “when”– it can’t afford not having a green strategy. A lesson, that Congress has not learned.

Image: Fred911 @ Flickr

Silver Spring Networks Files $150M IPO

Silver Spring Networks, the smartgrid company partly backed by Google, has filed for a $150 million Initial Public Offering, according to  a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) document.

Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and Credit Suisse are listed as underwriters.

Silver Spring’s S1 filing comes in the wake of a string of well received Web/technology IPOs, including social network site Linkedin’s share sale last May. In an overall uncertain economy, the tech sector, and in particular Web and social media companies, have managed to convince, otherwise cautious investors, to invest in them.

Based in Redwood City, Calif. Silver Spring has raised roughly $275 million in venture funding from backers that include: Google Ventures, Foundation Capital, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Northgate Capital.

The S1 shows Silver Spring registered a cumulative $302 million loss over the 2008 to 2010 period. Revenues on the other hand increased significantly to more than $70 million last year from just $58,000 in 2008. During the 2008-2010 period  the company invested a combined $72.5 million in research and development.

Specifically, Silver Spring, which has been called the “Cisco of the smart grid,” develops Web-based tools that allow utilities and consumers to actively control their energy consumption.

REFF: Renewable Energy Investments Growing But Investors Hungry For More Government Support

Clean energy markets in the U.S. and Europe remain lukewarm because of regulatory uncertainty and hard-to-access investment capital, Bloomberg New Energy Finance CEO Michael Liebreich told a crowd at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum in New York today.
Continue reading REFF: Renewable Energy Investments Growing But Investors Hungry For More Government Support

Jinko Solar IPO Priced Low; New Underwriters Listed

Jinko Solar shares are slated to start trading today on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under symbol “JKS”.  This is the company’s second try at an Initial Public Offering (IPO). It postponed the deal in February because of jittery market conditions as Germany was moving ahead with plans to significantly cut solar power subsidies. This time around Jinko expects to raise a little more than $64 million.

Continue reading Jinko Solar IPO Priced Low; New Underwriters Listed

Codexis (Nasdaq: CDXS) Raises $78M

As expected this morning  biofuel  maker Codexis sold six million shares priced at $13 as part of its Initial Public Offering (IPO), raising $78 million. Shares sold on the low-end of the company’s $13 – to – $15 per share range.  The company has an initial market cap of $441 million.

Credit Suisse led the IPO. Piper Jaffray, RBC Capital Markets and Pacific Crest Securities were co-managers.

Since 2002 Codexis has raised $80 million. Investors include Royal Dutch Shell, CCTV Investments, CMEA Ventures, Pequot Capital, Bio*One Capital and Pfizer. The company manufactures synthetic enzymes that convert organic materials — like wood chips, switchgrass, cornhusks, sugar cane — into biofuel. The process can also be used for the pharmaceutical indusry — see full press release.

Happy Earth Day!

Codexis?s $84M IPO Expected Thursday

Codexis, the biotech company backed by Royal Dutch Shell and Pequot Capital, is on the starting blocks, set to issue shares this week as part of a much anticipated $84 million Initial Public Offering (IPO). According to some reports the share sale could happen Thursday.

The Redwood City, Calif., company does not produce biofuel but manufactures synthetic enzymes that convert organic materials ? like wood chips, switchgrass, cornhusks, sugar cane ? into biofuel. The process can also be used for the pharmaceutical indusry.

Continue reading Codexis?s $84M IPO Expected Thursday

Codexiss $84M IPO Expected Thursday

Codexis, the biotech company backed by Royal Dutch Shell and Pequot Capital, is on the starting blocks, set to issue shares this week as part of a much anticipated $84 million Initial Public Offering (IPO). According to some reports the share sale could happen Thursday.

The Redwood City, Calif., company does not produce biofuel but manufactures synthetic enzymes that convert organic materials — like wood chips, switchgrass, cornhusks, sugar cane — into biofuel. The process can also be used for the pharmaceutical indusry.

Continue reading Codexiss $84M IPO Expected Thursday

Investors Flock To SunPower Debenture Notes

SunPower, the California solar panel maker, announced today that it’s issued another $30 million in debenture notes, an indication of  investor confidence in the medium – to – long-term prospects of  solar companies.

SunPower  initially issued $220 million in debenture notes but had allocated an aditionnal $30 million to meet additional investor demand.

The notes are due in 2015 and can be converted  into Class A SunPower share at the end of 2014.

Deutsche Bank Securities,  Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi and Credit Suisse were the initial buyers of the notes– see full press release.