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VantagePoint Raises $435M for New Fund: VantagePoint Venture Partners, backer of cleantech poster children Better Place, Tesla Motors, and BrightSource Energy, has raised $435 million for its second fund. — Venture Beat It’s a Bird, It’s a Hybrid, It’s an Emergency Generator: A Toyota Prius powered […] Read more »

Chrysler CEO Bob Nardelli sent a letter to the automaker’s employees yesterday in which he reflects on the past year, highlighting improved fuel economy, electric vehicle plans, and votes of confidence (aka bailouts) from the U.S. and Canadian governments. There’s no mention of the company’s plans […] Read more »

Colorado-based biotech firm Luca Technologies has raised a $75.9 million round of Series C financing, the company confirms with us today (hat tip Venture Wire). The company, which is working with soil microbes to produce methane from coal, plans to use the funds to acquire new […] Read more »

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If Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski has his way, the Beaver State could adopt a stack of policies next year to provide funding for renewable energy projects and transportation infrastructure, promote green building and energy efficiency, and authorize participation in the Western Climate Initiative, a regional cap-and-trade […] Read more »

Pop Goes the Green Bubble: In 2008, debt and equity finance dried up for companies with an environmental focus and a key index fell 66 percent. — Wall Street Journal Solar Rebate Programs Running Out of Cash: Solar incentive programs in Connecticut, Maryland, and Minnesota have […] Read more »

President-elect Barack Obama named physicist John Holdren assistant to the president and director of the Office of Science & Technology Policy on Saturday. Commonly referred to as the presidential science adviser, the position will give Holdren influence over budget allocations for nanotechnology, clean energy, space exploration, […] Read more »

Bring On the Renewables: A new study suggests California’s electric grid may be able to handle three times as much wind and solar energy than previously thought. — Wired Science Picturing Federal Priorities: Andrew Revkin looks at trends in the government’s non-defense R&D spending since 1953 […] Read more »

Japanese shipping giant Nippon Yusen K.K. and oil distributor Nippon Oil Corp. today launched the first-ever cargo ship with a propulsion system powered, in part, by solar energy. The freighter, which left a port in Kobe carrying vehicles by Toyota, sports $1.68 million worth of solar […] Read more »

President Bush has announced the federal government will provide $13.4 billion in emergency loans for Chrysler and General Motors and another $4 billion that will become available in February. If the two auto companies do not prove profitability by March 31, 2009, the government will demand […] Read more »

With San Jose, Calif., signed on to deploy its electric vehicle recharging stations, Campbell, Calif.-based startup Coulomb Technologies has set its sights on Europe. Founder and CEO Richard Lowenthal told us today the company will enter the European market in 2009. Although no deals have been […] Read more »

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The U.S. has imported millions of barrels of oil every day for more than three decades — but the flow of dollars and fuel has fluctuated over time. How to illustrate such a massive amount of trade over time? With a new map from the Rocky […] Read more »

Solar Cell Repower, a Norwegian startup working on technology to upgrade off-spec solar panels, has closed a Series A round of financing for $1.48 million from NorthZone Ventures. The company, which plans to partner with module manufacturers and begin production next summer, also announced $1.8 million […] Read more »

OPEC Cuts and Prays, Market Doesn’t Buy It: After OPEC said it would cut output by 2.2 million barrels per day, oil prices fell. Why? The market doesn’t believe under-pressure governments will comply with revised quotas. — WSJ’s Environmental Capital EU Automakers Speeding Past U.S. in […] Read more »

Millennium Finance Corp. of Dubai plans to launch a $200 million fund for renewable energy investments in partnership with Chicago-based Advanced Equities. The fund, set to be managed from a new office in India, will focus on “late-stage firms with low technology risk and established revenue […] Read more »

Chrysler will idle all manufacturing operations for at least a month, with assembly-line shutdowns beginning at the end of tomorrow’s shift. The smallest of the Big Three said Wednesday workers will not return to factories any sooner than Jan. 19 — a significant extension of the […] Read more »

General Motors has put the brakes on construction of a $349 million plant slated to produce engines for the extended-range electric Chevy Volt and compact Chevy Cruze in Flint, Mich. by 2010. According to the Flint Journal, preliminary surveying, property security, and underground work on the […] Read more »

Ethanol will have at least one friend in the next administration. President-elect Barack Obama announced his pick for  Secretary of Agriculture this morning: Former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, who built his underdog presidential campaign largely on a platform of energy independence and, during his tenure as […] Read more »

EIA Cuts Carbon Emissions Forecast: The Energy Information Administration now expects U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 to be 9.4 percent less than forecast last year. — Reuters California Launches Green Chemistry Initiative: State officials unveiled a plan this week to disclose the environmental footprint […] Read more »

One year, eight years’ worth of tax credits for renewable energy projects: That’s a key component of the legislation Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada plans to push as part of an economic recovery package in Congress, the Las Vegas Journal-Review reports. The move would effectively be […] Read more »

Tesla Motors seems to find itself in the clarifying business more than most startups: There was the temporary transmission issue in 2007 (clarification: not designed to fail), the airbag waiver controversy back in February (the Roadster does have front airbags, but deployment of the front passenger […] Read more »

Lion Cells, a Menlo Park-based startup backed by Battery Ventures and Nth Power, joined the energy-storage fray yesterday, emerging from two years of stealth with a new name — Imara Corp. — and a plan to ship its lithium-ion batteries by the fourth quarter of 2009. […] Read more »

New Fuel Cell Swaps in a Cheap Nickel Catalyst for Platinum: Researchers in China have developed a membrane material that allows cheaper metals to withstand the acidic environments of fuel cells. It could be the beginning of the end of expensive platinum catalysts. — Technology Review […] Read more »

With the global economy heading south, you might expect companies to scale back efforts aimed at reducing the environmental impact of computing operations. And if improving software and hardware efficiency — a central focus of green IT initiatives — was all about doing good for the […] Read more »

Big players in the lighting market have snapped up startups in recent years at a breakneck pace. Cree acquired LED Lighting Fixtures in March. Lighting Science Group bought Lamina Lighting’s assets in July. Philips spent $5.4 billion on startups between 2005 and 2007 and acquired four […] Read more »

“Everything that is important to this world will be solved by semiconductor technology.” That was the claim of National Semiconductor CEO and Chairman Brian Halla at the EcoChip forum hosted at chipmaker Actel’s Silicon Valley campus on Monday. It’s a tall order, of course, not least […] Read more »

Bill, T. Boone Push for Efficiency: Former President Bill Clinton’s foundation plans to partner with the Arkansas state government to retrofit buildings and improve efficiency, and T. Boone Pickens has just launched a new campaign for energy efficiency. — NYT’s Green Inc. Australian Emissions-Reduction Target Draws […] Read more »

SunRun, a San Francisco-based startup that finances solar power systems for homeowners, has formed a partnership with contractor OCR Solar & Roofing, which could help expand the market for roof-integrated solar systems. SunRun sets up power-purchasing agreements (PPAs) through which homeowners typically pay a few thousand […] Read more »

Luxury automaker Daimler of Germany together with Italy’s largest electricity producer, Enel, plan to roll out more than 100 electric vehicles and 400 charging stations for testing in Rome, Milan and Pisa by 2010. Executives from the companies agreed last week that Daimler will supply and […] Read more »

EU Strikes Deal for Weakened “20-20-20″ Climate Package: EU leaders made concessions to polluting companies and countries to win a consensus on reducing emissions by 20 percent by 2020. As an environmental advocate from WWF put it, “A flagship EU policy now has no pilot, a […] Read more »

Transonic Combustion, a Camarillo, Calif.-based startup working on a fuel-injection system that could help gasoline (and someday biodiesel) cars hit 100 MPG, has hired Brian Ahlborn to replace founder Mike Cheiky as president and CEO. Cheiky, a serial inventor who devised Transonic’s core technology, has begun […] Read more »

The California Air Resources Board has unanimously approved a sweeping plan for reducing the state’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels — an average cut of four tons of annual emissions per person — by 2020. Outlining rules for nearly every sector of California’s economy, the […] Read more »

Solar startup Lightwave Power said today it has closed a Series A round of just over $13 million, with Quercus Trust leading the investment and 21 Ventures co-investing. Lightwave co-founder Lawrence Kaufman told us the funding began in June, just six months after the company launched […] Read more »

Senate Could Snip Green Strings Attached to Auto Bailout: They made it through the House, but environmental clauses included in the $14 billion bailout plan for the auto industry may not survive a Senate vote. — Daily Green Local Governments Vie for Energy-Efficient Public Works Projects: […] Read more »

San Francisco — home of an ambitious solar incentive program, a Tesla-driving mayor who blogs against “drill baby drill,” and soon, electric vehicle infrastructure by Better Place — faces a staggering budget deficit for next year. Mayor Gavin Newsom revealed a plan for $71 million in […] Read more »

In 2008, worldwide interest in hybrid cars began to spike at the beginning of the summer, just as gas prices began to skyrocket. At least that’s when Google’s year-end Zeitgeist, released (and covered on GigaOM) today, shows a jump in searches for the term. Surely that’s […] Read more »

Car Czar Candidates: The $15 billion auto industry bailout this close to being finalized calls for a new federal official to oversee restructuring, handle angry creditors, and wrangle Big Three CEOs earning $1 a year. Who’s best for the job? — Reuters UK Struggling to Meet […] Read more »

BrightSource Energy has contracted Siemens to build a 123-megawatt solar-powered turbine generator for its massive Mojave Desert solar-thermal projects, the Oakland, Calif.-based startup announced today. Having raised more than $160 million (including$115 million from Google.org, BP, and other big investors in Series C financing last May) […] Read more »

Prince, aka The Symbol, aka TAFKAP, has nothing on cleantech companies these days. Last week, Aptera’s three-wheeled Typ-1 became the 2e, and SunEthanol renamed itself Qteros the week before that. Now we have Germany-based solar manufacturer EverQ, which late last month became Sovello AG. The name […] Read more »

UN Climate Chief Calls Progress in Poznan Too Slow for Comprehensive Treaty in ’09: Delegates from 190 countries at the UN’s climate talks in Poznan, Poland this week planned to sign a treaty at a conference in Copenhagen next year, finalizing an agreement to reduce greenhouse-gas […] Read more »

President-elect Barack Obama may have what the Onion calls the nation’s least-desirable job (try fixing this economy), but Congress laid the groundwork yesterday for a highly competitive runner-up: car czar. With approval from President Bush (an affiliation certain to win many friends), the lucky appointee will […] Read more »

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