04 August 2010

VC funding jumps, greener colleges, China spending, Ecuador forest deal and other sustainability news

Top Stories

Fossil Fuel Subsidies Are 12 Times Support for Renewables, Study Shows.reliability high.
"Governments last year gave $43 billion to $46 billion of support to renewable energy through tax credits, guaranteed electricity prices known as feed-in tariffs and alternative energy credits, the London-based research group said today in a statement. That compares with the $557 billion that the International Energy Agency last month said was spent to subsidize fossil fuels in 2008. 'One of the reasons the clean energy sector is starved of funding is because mainstream investors worry that renewable energy only works with direct government support,' said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of New Energy Finance. 'This analysis shows that the global direct subsidy for fossil fuels is around ten times the subsidy for renewables.' " See Bloomberg News. [Of course the amount of energy generated from renewable sources is only a few percent of total energy generation. It is not clear where the enormous subsidies given to nuclear energy fit into these numbers. In any case, the great economic and political power of the established fossil fuel industry is reflected in these figures.]

Cleantech venture funding: $1.5B invested in Q2.reliability high.
"Venture capital funding in cleantech companies swelled to $1.5 billion in the second quarter of 2010, its highest level since Q3 2008, according to a report released today by Ernst & Young. This is a staggering 64 percent increase over the amount invested in Q2 last year. ... Of the $1.5 billion total, about $891 million went into 33 late-stage deals, concentrated in the automotive, solar and biofuel subsectors". From VentureBeat. More highlights in E&Y press release.

Companies, Industries, Markets and Supply Chains

China to invest $15 billion over 10 years for green autos: paper.reliability high.
"The Chinese government will invest more than 100 billion yuan ($14.8 billion) to subsidize its fledgling environmentally friendly car industry over the next 10 years, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Wednesday." From Reuters.

New state surveys affirm Americans' support for government action on climate change.reliability high.
"Large majorities of the residents of Florida, Maine and Massachusetts believe the Earth has been getting warmer gradually over the last 100 years (81 percent, 78 percent and 84 percent, respectively), and large majorities favor government action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to new public opinion research by Professor Jon Krosnick, a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University." See EurekAlert. More highlights and access to some of results in at Woods Institute site.

The Princeton Review gives 703 U.S. colleges green ratings.reliability high.
"The Princeton Review ... today reported its third annual Green Ratings of colleges: a measure of how environmentally friendly the institutions are on a scale of 60 to 99.  The Company tallied the rating for 703 institutions based its institutional surveys of colleges in 2009-10 concerning their environmentally related practices, policies and academic offerings. ... [It] also today named 18 colleges to its "2011 Green Rating Honor Roll" – a list of colleges that received the highest possible score (99) in its Green Rating tallies this year." See Princeton Review press release. [East and West Coast accounted for almost all of the "Honor Roll" schools. Only Arizona State U., West Virginia U. and Northland College (Wisconsin) are not in coastal states.]

GM unit invests $5 million in electric car start-up.reliability high.
"GM and Indiana-based Bright Automotive said on Tuesday they have agreed to pursue a strategic partnership under which GM will invest $5 million to help accelerate Bright's production of its IDEA plug-in hybrid commercial vehicle. ... The Bright deal marks the first investment by General Motors Ventures LLC, a $100 million venture capital arm set up by the U.S. automaker in June with the aim of investing in auto and transportation start-ups in areas such as lightweight materials, clean engine technology and on-board electronics." From Reuters.

Big Agreement on Home Appliances Means Big Savings for Consumers.reliability medium.
"energy efficiency advocates and the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) announced an agreement on energy and water efficiency standards for several appliances that will save more than 9 quads, 5 trillion gallons of water, and billions of consumer dollars over the next 30 years. ... The agreement covers several common household appliances – refrigerator/freezers, clothes washers and dryers, room air conditioners and dishwashers. It includes new energy and water efficiency standards for these products, generally at the maximum level that is technically feasible and cost effective. ... Of course, these standards still need to be adopted by DOE or Congress, the tax credit adopted legislatively and the smart appliance credit adopted by EPA." From NRDC blogs. [How standards get set.]

Government and Regulation

Ecuador, for pay, will not drill in Amazon reserve.reliability high.
"Ecuador signed a deal on Tuesday creating a trust fund to hold donations from Germany and other rich nations willing to pay the Andean country to refrain from drilling for oil in an Amazon wildlife reserve. ... The government is asking donor countries such as Germany  and Italy to pay about $3.6 billion, or about half of what the country would get from exploiting the oil, in exchange for keeping part of the area untouched. Only Germany has signed a deal so far, promising $50 million per year over 12 years". See Reuters story.