PALO ALTO, Calif., Feb. 19, 2002 — The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) today announced that it has received $10 million in funding from VenturePath, Inc., an entrepreneurial investment firm.
The funding will support expansion of EPRI’s Eco-Solutions initiative, a land management program that develops strategies for quantifying and boosting the economic value of ecological assets (eco-assets).
“There is real value from investment in nature,” said William Coleman, managing director of EPRI Eco-Solutions. “The VenturePath funding will help us work with power companies and other corporate landowners to address some of our most challenging environmental problems in ways that not only enhance the natural world and reward society, but also make good business sense.”
EPRI’s market-based environmental management program assigns monetary value to a category of natural resources called “ecosystem services.” Ecosystem services are the raw materials supporting ecosystem and human health. As the financial value of ecosystem services is established, they come to be seen as ecological assets.
With the help of the Eco-Solutions team, landowners are able to protect important ecosystems while adding significant value to their bottom line. Eco-asset based land assessments may be realized in terms of increased land appraisal value, development of natural resource bank and trade programs, or by helping to meet regulatory compliance obligations in a cost effective manner.
The recent landmark agreement between Allegheny Energy, Inc., and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that will preserve 12,000 acres in West Virginia as part of the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge is one example of market based eco-asset management. This complex transaction hinged upon a comprehensive appraisal of the property’s fair market value, both in terms of traditional highest and best uses as well as eco-asset based values. The appraisal, managed by EPRI Eco-Solutions, valued the entire tract at over $32 million, more than double the value from traditional uses alone. The eco-assets include mitigation credits associated with protecting wetlands, sensitive habitats and endangered species, as well as credits for sequestering carbon, a measure that helps to slow global warming.
Abby Molano, managing partner of VenturePath, said, “Our support of EPRI’s vision is in line with our strategy to meet the needs of the emerging global business environment. VenturePath looks at investments with the eyes of a business, but the heart of a servant.
“Today’s international community seeks to holistically balance economic, business, social, and environmental requirements, and EPRI shows tremendous promise on all fronts,” said Molano. “Most importantly, we see the potential for EPRI to bring its knowledge to bear on the environmental marketplace to its next level of innovation.”
The Eco-Solutions program is managed by both EPRI’s traditional non-profit business as well as EPRIsolutions, a wholly owned, for-profit subsidiary of EPRI established to provide solutions focused on a wide range of customized technology application, training, and consulting services. For more information about the Eco-Solutions program, go to www.eco-assets.com.
EPRI, headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., was established in 1973 as a non-profit center for public interest energy and environmental research. EPRI’s collaborative science and technology development program now spans nearly every area of power generation, delivery and use. More than 1,000 energy organizations and public institutions in 40 countries draw on EPRI’s global network of technical and business expertise. EPRIsolutions, a wholly owned taxable subsidiary of EPRI, provides solutions focused on EPRI technology contributing to the success of their clients. For more information, go to www.epri.com.
VenturePath, Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based entrepreneurial investment company that focuses on emerging opportunities in the U.S. and abroad. VenturePath invests in development, seed stage, and early stage companies in a range of industries, including technology, environmental and entertainment. With a web of alliances, partners, and contacts across the globe, VenturePath provides international investors access to promising investments and launches its portfolio companies into the global marketplace. For more information, go to www.venturepath.net.