Mixed Greens – Buffett goes green energy

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Better Place plans an IPO, Buffett creates new renewables division expand $10 billion green energy portfolio

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Better Place, the US startup developing charging stations for electric vehicles, is likely to go public with an IPO in the next two years, according to founder and CEO Shai Agassi. He said after raising $750 million in a series of private funding rounds, the next fund raising is likely to be through a stock exchange listing. “We’re probably not going to go for another private round between now and the initial public offering,” Agassi told Bloomberg in an interview in Tel Aviv.

Better Place’s last round of $200 million in funding in November, which added General Electric and UBS as new shareholders, valued the company at around $2.25 billion. Electric vehicles are due to begin using the Better Place network in Denmark this week, followed closely by Israel and then Australia. Agassi told Bloomberg that funding for Israel and Denmark is likely to be supplemented by debt, but the Australian operations are likely to seek a round of equity funding to finance the introduction there.

The Australian business has an previously raised $25 million from power utility ACTEW, part owned by AGL Energy, Lend Lease, the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria and others, and will likely raise $1 billion over time as it rolls out its first continent-wide network.

Buffett creates renewables division

MidAmerican Energy, an energy utility and gas pipeline operator owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, has announced plans to form a new subsidiary that will focus exclusively on renewable energy. According to Greentech Media, the new company, called MidAmerican Renewables, will have four units – a solar division that will include its recent investments such as as the 550MW Topaz solar power plant in California and the 290MW Agua Caliente project in Arizona, a wind unit that will incorporate the 3,360MW of wind farms the company owns, as well as a geothermal division and a hydro division.

MidAmerican chairman and CEO Greg Abel told Greentech Media that investing in renewables is a smart move, despite hostile publicity about renewables arising from government subsidies and opposition to wind farms. “This is a vote for renewable energy,” vice president for government policy Jonathon Weisgall told Greentech in an interview. “It is not a bet.” MidAmerican has invested about $6 billion in wind, mostly since 2008, and $3 billion into large scale solar plants late last year.

 

 

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