Venture Capital Funding for Smart Grids Finishes Q2 Down Slightly
A new report from Mercom Capital Group explained that venture capital investments for smart gird projects in the second quarter of 2014 totaled $81 million. This is down $20 million from Q1’s $101 million. The number of total deals was also down from 21 in Q1 to 13 in Q2.
Leading the top venture capital-funded smart grid companies is U.S. company Chargepoint, with $22.6 million in investments.
Coming up second was Sunverge, with $15 million in investments. Rounding out the top five are Onramp Wireless with $13.6 million, Gridco Systems with $12 million, and Canada’s GeoDigital with $5.8 million.
There were more than 25 investors listed in the Q2 report, with Siemens Venture Capital as the only investor appearing on more than one deal.
The specific technology-specific companies that had the highest investments were focused on plug-in hybrid vehicles and vehicle-to-grid, smart grid communication tech, and grid optimization.
There were also 16 smart grid company mergers and acquisitions, only 4 of which were disclosed. These totaled $147 million. The top disclosed transactions were the $117 million acquisition of Power-One’s Power Solutions business by Bel Fuse, with the $23.5 million acquisition of the entire issued share capital of Utility Partnership Ltd by Smart Metering Systems PLC taking second.
This year, Mercom also expanded the report to include batter and storage space companies. The amount of investment in these companies was also down for Q2, from $180 million in Q1 to $90 million in Q2.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.