Clean tech investment increases in Q3
A growing interest in solar power and other sustainable energy sources has contributed to a rise in clean technology across the globe in the third quarter.
According to Greentech Media, solar power, an electric grid controlled by computers for efficiency, biofuels, electric cars, green building materials and other technologies increased to $1.9 billion in 112 deals. The significant rise follows a trend where clean technology went from $836 million in the first quarter to $1.2 billion in the second quarter.
"There is a lot of momentum and there are a lot of deals in the pipeline," says Eric Wesoff, who wrote the report. "People are energized by the A123 Systems Inc. (AONE.O: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) IPO. I'd say it's reasonable to look for moderate growth in the fourth quarter."
Last week shares of battery maker A123 shot to more than 50 percent, making it the most attractive of last week's public offerings. Wesoff says venture capitalists will take note of that, but that their pockets are not deep enough to support continued growth at the rate of the past two quarters.
More than half the clean tech investment in the third quarter went into two areas - solar and a combined category of biofuels, gasification and cleaner coal. Solar accounted for $575 million in 29 deals, and biofuels, gasification and coal for $513 million in 17 deals.
Overall, though, the deals have fallen short of 2008's record highs, when the third quarter saw $2.9 billion and the entire year $7.6 billion. Wesoff says the year - and the quarter - were driven by unusual capital investment to build out solar manufacturing plants.
bp buys 9GW of solar projects from 7X Energy for $220m
bp will pay 7X Energy $220 million for the projects and 1GW of 'safe harbour' equipment and expects the acquisition to complete in 30 days. The projects, spread across 12 states - with the largest portfolios in Texas (ERCOT) and MidWest (PJM) - are expected to meet bp’s low carbon investment criteria, generating returns of at least 8-10%.
Assets with a combined generating capacity of 2.2GW are expected to reach final investment decision (FID) by 2025, with the remaining progressing by 2030. Once developed, these projects will have the capacity to generate enough clean energy to power around 1.7 million US homes. The development is also expected to support thousands of jobs through construction.
The acquisition represents a significant step towards bp’s target of growing its net developed renewable generating capacity to 20GW by 2025 and aim to increase this to 50GW by 2030.
The deal will also grow bp’s renewables pipeline from 14GW to 23GW. The assets will be developed through bp’s 50-50 solar joint venture Lightsource bp, which will apply its capabilities to accelerate bp’s renewables targets.
Dev Sanyal, bp executive vice president of gas and low carbon energy, said: "With this purchase, we are continuing to put our strategy in action as we grow our renewables business in a deliberate and disciplined way. It brings us 9GW of high-quality solar projects in markets where we can create integrated renewable energy offers through our trading and customer franchises."
More than half of new US utility-scale solar PV capacity is planned for four states this year, with Texas comfortably the largest (28%), followed by Nevada (9%), California (9%), and North Carolina (7%), according to the US Energy Information Administration. Solar will account for 39% of all new US electricity generation capacity in 2021, surpassing wind for the first time, according to ResearchAndMarkets.com.