Facebook’s director of brand design, and former design director for four years, Kate Aronowitz, is leaving the company. She announced the move on, where else, Facebook, and says she’ll be working on projects that matter to her and spending more time with her family. Facebook has spent considerable resources building a design team, and acquiring design talent, but it’s been hard to keep some of the young design talent around.
The long road from development to market for Twin Creek’s materials slicing machines shows the complexities of cleantech. Read more »
Tesla CEO Elon Musk is so bullish on the Chinese market that he tells Bloomberg that Tesla might eventually build a local plant in the country. Whether that would be a production factory like its one in Fremont, California, or an assembly plant like its new one in Tilburg in the Netherlands, remains to be seen. Tesla priced its Model S in China last week at $121,000, including shipping and taxes.
Young up and coming startup AutoGrid now has new funding, new products and new customers for its big data energy prediction engine. Read more »
The Westly Group has backed energy software startup Simple Energy, leading a $6M round. Read more »
The solar industry was one of the fastest growing sectors in the U.S. last year, and grew 10 times faster than the average adding 24K new jobs. Read more »
Mark Rolston has launched a new design group after a two-decade career at design agency giant Frog. Read more »
Following some extreme plans, Xtreme Power files for Chapter 11. Read more »
Cable giant Comcast is exploring selling electricity as the fourth leg of an experimental “quadruple play” in Pennsylvania. According to the head of the state’s energy regulator, the cable giant is looking at partnering up with a retail electric supplier in the state to offer the product, possible in the fourth quarter of this year.
Tesla is opening up sales in the world’s largest auto market: China. It’s a bit of a risk, but the company thinks it’s worth it. Read more »
Google continues to invest in wind power for its data centers — this time in Finland. Read more »
Tesla road-trippers, time to take a spin across Europe with Tesla’s new fast chargers on the continent. Read more »
Is there a new dawn of smarter power grid tools emerging? Finally? Read more »
Former politicians usually don’t have good odds when it comes to picking the best startups to join. But with Steven Chu’s long scientific career in his pocket, he’ll probably do better than most. Read more »
MIT researchers have developed another interesting way to boost the efficiency of the typical silicon solar cell. Read more »
A lawsuit against battery startup Envia — from its former CEO and two other former employees — looks headed for dismissal. Read more »
I’m all for a revolution in energy and cars, but it can happen faster if we understand the dynamics of how these sectors work. Read more »
Individuals will soon be able to invest in SolarCity’s solar panel projects, following its acquisition of a small startup called Common Assets. Read more »
Plastics and chemicals that have ditched crude oil, could be the result of a new partnership between a startup and a Brazilian petrochemical giant. Read more »
Venture capitalist Vinod Khosla has written a 2,000-word open letter to 60 Minutes and CBS in response to their recent “Cleantech Crash” report, which featured lengthy interviews with Khosla and a tour of one of Khosla’s portfolio companies. He asserts that there are numerous errors in the piece, that the journalists who made it were practicing “agenda-driven bastardization of news reporting,” and that the story “grossly misrepresented the state of the sustainable energy industry.”
You can read the entire letter here. He also says in the letter that Khosla Venture’s “cleantech portfolio is profitable.” Here’s my take on the 60 Minutes piece; here’s NRG CEO David Crane’s response; and here’s clean power entrepreneur and investor Jigar Shah’s take.
Google keeps on keepin’ on with its latest support of a wind farm near its Oklahoma data center. Read more »
Tesla sent many more cars than expected to customers last quarter, but is meanwhile dealing with a recall over charging overheating. Read more »
Here’s my take on who wins and who loses in Google’s planned $3.2 billion purchase of Nest, from investors to competitors to industries. Read more »
The Refugee Project is an example of what cutting edge data designers can do with the massive amount of data sets that were buried within the U.N.’s refugee group. Read more »
Electric car company Tesla Motors announced on Friday that it’s pushed an over-the-air software update to its Model S cars that will stop overheating while charging in the event that the electrical outlet has faulty wiring, corrosion or physical damage. Tesla also sent its customers a new charger wall adapter that will address the same overheating issues. The move follows an incident where a garage caught on fire in Irvine, Calif., which may or may not have been caused by charging a Tesla Model S, and Jalopnik and Bloomberg note that there have been several issues with overheating while charging last year.
Tesla’s Model X is supposed to launch to its first customers at the end of this year and in early 2015, but already the car is starting to be seen driving around the streets near Tesla’s design shop in Los Angeles. InsideEVs posted these pics, and says it seems to be the only fully operational Model X yet in existence. We took these pics of the Model X prototype in early 2012.
Look for the next generation of batteries, particularly for the power grid, to come out this year from some interesting startups. Read more »
A funky battery that’s made of natural materials and uses liquid tanks is being developed in a lab at Harvard. If the breakthrough makes it to market it could be a low cost energy storage option for clean power. Read more »
While batteries for the power grid might not be all that sexy of a topic, Aquion Energy is using water and salt, it’s backed by Bill Gates, and it’s aiming to commercialize its battery this year. Read more »
Kleiner Perkins has been restructuring itself, and part of that plan has been to emphasize the importance of product design, and work with up and coming young designers. Kleiner’s new Design Partner, the former President of RISD John Maeda, announced on Tuesday that Kleiner’s 2014 design fellows program is now open for applications. Design-minded Kleiner companies include Nest, Flipboard, Jawbone, Spotify and Square.
Two of venture firm Venrock’s energy investors, Matt Trevithick and Matthew Nordan, have left the firm. Trevithick is an accomplished investor who was one of my first interviews after I launched the cleantech site. We’ve published many pieces from Nordan on the state of cleantech venture capital on this site, and Nordan has launched a clean energy project development company focused on China called MNL Partners (which is keeping a low profile). Both investors worked on Venrock’s Nest deal.
Startup View raises a whopper of a round from the private equity firm associated with the Walmart heirs. Can another $100 million deliver on-demand tinting windows across the country? Read more »
Apple plans to continue building and owning solar panel farms near its data centers, following its first in North Carolina, and another reported in Reno, Nevada. Now it’s planning one in Oregon. Read more »
Amprius’ lithium ion batteries can deliver gadgets that last 25 percent longer between charges. The company is now working on commercializing those batteries and even looking at using them for electric cars. Read more »
60 Minutes just aired one of the more mainstream looks yet at the Silicon Valley cleantech rise and fall. While they got some things right they also got some wrong. My take here. Read more »
Now that Airbnb has grown up, has a huge valuation, and is causing fear in the hotel lobby in cities across the world, can the traveler experience get a little better, please? Read more »
A report says Nest is raising another whopper of a funding round. Here’s why it needs such a large chunk of change now. Read more »
Here’s the 13 biggest things I paid attention to this year around next-generation energy, sustainability, and resource management. Oh heck, let’s just keep calling it cleantech. Read more »
As the world’s cities get ever more crowded, the web sharing economy emerged into the mainstream this year. Next stop, booming cities in developing nations. Read more »
The New York Times profiles a growing ecosystem for entrepreneurs and startups in Japan. Though, all of these “where’s the next Silicon Valley” articles always make the inevitable comparison to the Valley:
The 20-somethings in jeans sipping espresso and tapping on laptops at this Tokyo business incubator would look more at home in Silicon Valley than in Japan, where for years the surest signs of success were the gray suits of its corporate salarymen.