Stamford, Conn., January 27, 2011 — Three major American energy corporations — GE, NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips — are joining forces to become the premier investor and commercial collaboration partner for emerging and innovative energy technology companies.
The companies have committed $300 million in capital to the new joint venture, Energy Technology Ventures, to fund about 30 venture- and growth-stage companies over the next four years.
The first investments are in companies developing potentially game-changing technologies in solar photovoltaic (Alta Devices), cleaner coal (Ciris Energy, Inc.) and non-food biofuels (CoolPlanetBioFuels).
The joint venture brings together three companies with complementary capabilities and strategic interests in the development of next-generation energy technology.
This is the first corporate venture investment program by both NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips.
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.
With their wide range of deep technical and financial expertise, relationships, services and products, the three companies behind Energy Technology Ventures intend to help start-ups develop next-generation energy technology.
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.
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 MW of solar projects under development or in construction — and has announced plans to electrify the transportation infrastructure in Houston with the nation’s 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 a high-quality electrode material for advanced Li-Ion batteries under the CPreme brand.
Additional financial details about the joint venture and its initial investments were not disclosed.