August Cleantech Roundup: New Investments and Corporate Renewables

Clean Energy Trust’s monthly cleantech roundup recaps the most relevant information on the cleantech sector, from policy changes to technology updates and investment news.

Technology

There has been a lot of talk about solar changing the energy industry, but what you might have missed is the rise of LED’s.  LEDs have quickly become the standard after proving out the technology and demonstrating clear financial benefits. Solar, while growing impressively quickly, still has many hurdles to cross before reaching such massive adoption. It is important to note that while LEDs simply replaced previous technology, solar requires big shifts in many parts of the energy industry to be viable.

Lots of funding news for fascinating cleantech this August. Round 2 of the Small Business Voucher Pilot program were announced. This included companies developing new technologies in wind, solar, geothermal, fuel cells, building technology, advanced manufacturing, and advanced vehicles. CET Portfolio company, SiNode Systems, was one of the recipients.

And in some particularly seasonal announcements, smart thermostats were picking up big funding dollars. For more information on cooling and cleantech, check out our latest feature: Green is Now Cool.

Investments and Entrepreneurship

Wind is blowing into Iowa as companies work to get projects done before the planned expiration of the PTC. MidAmerican Energy’s 2 Gigawatt “Wind XI” project is indicative of a growing sector and the effect of the PTC extension. But these deals are not super simple, even for people who are immersed in it. To help with that issue, Schneider Electric has built New Energy Opportunities (NEO) network to help corporations procure renewable energy. The network helps share information about the intricacies of purchasing renenwable energy particularly what projects are out there and how to navigate a PPA. However, even as PPAs become popular means towards renewable energy some argue that there are better waysSome have decided that they would rather get in on the action directly. To that end, Apple has now become a seller of electric power

Policy

With the US and China ratifying the Paris Climate Deal, there has been a lot of talk about how much solving the problems of climate change will cost.  However, the Washington Post points out that “other nations’ existing climate policies, by lessening the impacts of climate change, have already benefited the United States to the tune of more than $200 billion, and additional pledges for future action could save the country more than $2 trillion by the year 2030. This number could rise above $10 trillion by mid-century.”

Massachusetts is looking to become the third state with an Energy Storage mandate.

Bloomberg points out that ending the subsidies on Oil would have little impact on our domestic energy supply, so why not end them

Contrary to many worries, the Duck curve is not killing solar development in California and Hawaii due to smart rate design

Recommended Reading

Our Friends at Energy Excelerator recently laid out why they raised a fund and what they believe in: https://medium.com/energy-excelerator/were-a-non-profit-we-raised-a-fund-24697f341ccf#.taach3cvg

By Alex Foucault | September 7, 2016