GE, NRG Energy, Inc. and ConocoPhillips have formed a joint venture—Energy Technology Ventures—and have committed $300 million in capital to it to fund approximately 30 venture- and growth-stage companies over the next four years.
Energy Technology Ventures will invest in, and offer commercial collaboration opportunities to, venture- and growth-stage energy technology companies in the renewable power generation, smart grid, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, emission controls, water and biofuels sectors, primarily in North America, Europe and Israel.
The joint venture’s initial investments are in:
- Alta Devices, Santa Clara, CA, improving the production economics of advanced materials for high-efficiency, low-cost solar energy
- Ciris Energy, Inc., Centennial, CO, developing technology to biochemically convert coal to methane at large scale and low cost.
- CoolPlanetBioFuels, Camarillo, CA, developing technology that converts low-grade biomass into high-grade fuel and carbon that can be sequestered.
This is the first corporate venture investment program by both NRG Energy—owner and operator of one of the US’ largest and most diverse power generation portfolios—and ConocoPhillips, the third-largest US integrated energy company.
GE Capital, through its business units GE Energy Financial Services and GE Capital, Equity, is already an active energy technology venture and growth capital investor globally.
GE Energy Financial Services’ venture capital team has invested about $200 million in 27 early- and growth-stage energy-related technology companies since January 2006. Four of those companies have achieved successful initial public offerings: A123 Systems, Codexis , Orion Energy Systems and China High Speed Transmission.
NRG Energy has initiated a wide range of investments in emerging technologies in solar, wind and nuclear power—including more than 2,000 megawatts of solar projects under development or in construction—and has announced plans to electrify the transportation infrastructure in Houston with the US’first privately funded, comprehensive electric vehicle ecosystem.
This new venture will serve as an additional platform for ConocoPhillips’ equity investments. The company is investing with partners in the development of demonstration and pilot projects that improve the potential of new technologies, including compressed air energy storage, advanced biofuels and biomass, in addition to its activities in conventional energy technologies. The company produces an electrode material for advanced Li-Ion batteries under the CPreme brand.