Word today that Tesla ($465 million), Ford ($440 million) and Nissan ($1.4 billion) are beneficiaries of government loans to turn out next-generation, fuel-efficient cars. The loans were awarded as part of the government's Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.
The next 12 months will be extremely interesting in terms of seeing how the Green auto supply chain shapes up with regards to batteries, charging infrastructure and other types of technologies. The battery manufacturers themselves have also been the beneficiary of some recent government funding, which means more and more companies will bring technologies to market which will in turn make the PR world a bit more noisy. There is already a feeding frenzy among state governments to attract green car and battery manufacturers to abandoned automotive plants.
With new fuel economy standards, the Daimler investment in Tesla and the ATVM program, the electric car market is slowly being resuscitated.
Posted by Jason Morris on June 23, 2009 at 2:33 PM
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According to a post on VentureBeat this week, cleantech stimulus funds targeted at wind, solar, smart grid, biofuels, carbon management and other key categories, will starting trickling into company coffers come September. New Energy Finance Group predicts that while some cleantech funding will flow in 2009 resulting in a thawing of bank loans and cleantech venture capital, the bulk of the money will be invested in 2010 and 2011.
As a result, September through December will likely be a critical time for cleantech companies in search of government investment or project financing, In addition to the stimulus money, the fourth quarter will begin the FY 2011 appropriations process in earnest. Cleantech companies will likely need to focus on public affairs and government relations during that time to take advantage of what could be the last budgeting cycle with a cleantech-friendly White House and Congress in control.
Posted by Jason Morris on at 11:27 AM
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Schwartz Communications attended Schneider Electric’s Editor’s Day on June 5, 2009 to learn more about the new "One Schneider" brand and its technology approach, EcoStruXture, to drive energy efficiency, security and improved business results. We caught up with Chris Curtis, president and CEO of TAC, Schneider Electric's buildings business, to get a first hand view into these topics.
In this podcast episode, which you can listen to by using the widget below, Chris talks about what makes TAC a leader in the energy efficiency market, performance guarantees, intelligent buildings, and how integration brings it all together.
Tags: Chris Curtis
, energy efficiency
, intelligent buildings
, Schneider Electric
Posted by Doug Russell on June 12, 2009 at 1:49 PM
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Just yesterday, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) announced where some of the simulus money is headed. The good news for solar companies is the focus is on young companies that can use the monies to assist with R&D.
All told, about $16.5M will be appropriated as part of two programs, the Photovoltaic (PV) Technology Incubator program and the PV Technology Pre-Incubator program.
Schwartz represents clients who have received money through related programs, and the new appropriations show that there are a number of promising young companies in the solar industry.
With Intersolar US on the horizon, certainly there will be chatter at the show about this recent infusion of stimulus money. As we have noted in this blog before, the key is consistent relations with program managers within the Department of Energy so the process can be tracked.
Posted by Ross Levanto on June 10, 2009 at 4:59 PM
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A new study covered by Kate Galbraith at the NY Times says that Green Collar Jobs grew twice as quickly as jobs in the rest of the economy from 1998-2007. Given that this study doesn't cover the hyper investment in solar, wind, smart grid, green IT, biofuels, geothermal, batteries, green autos, etc. during 2008, and the hiring that resulted, my guess is that the next study will show even faster growth over the past 10 years. Factor in green stimulus measures during 2009 and you likely have something approaching a Green New Deal.
It would be interesting to see what they specifically classify as a green job. Take Schwartz PR. We have more than a dozen cleantech clients and more than 40 people working with those companies. We couldn't say that in 1998, so technically they have been created by the movement to green products, services and technologies. My guess is that this study dramtically underestimates the number of people who have part or all of their employment driven by the growth in the cleantech market, especially people working in green pr, public affairs, marketing, legal services, media and investing.
Still, it's good to see that one of the major labor trends of the past decade, which has become a mainstream pitch in the cleantech PR arsenal, has been validated.
Posted by Jason Morris on at 2:39 PM
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Sarah Lacy has a great interview with Vinod Khosla on Yahoo! Tech|Ticker, talking about the incredible opportunity that the Cleantech Revolution is creating for companies and investors. Khosla basically says that the Cleantech movement will "produce ten Googles."
How is that possible? Khosla says that Cleantech is not about solar, wind or biofuels, but about re-engineering the way society lives, from lighting to concrete. When asked about the size of the problem, Khosla says that he sees only opportunities. Furthermore, he talks about how clean technologies have to achieve unsubsidized market viability within 5-7 years or they will struggle to be an investment and commercial success. Overall, just a very interesting interview with someone with an amazing track record of finding breakthrough technologies and companies.
Do I agree with every thing Khosla says? Nope. However, I do agree that Cleantech is bigger than the Web. This is an important point since many have called it a fad.
Cleantech, green, sustainability or whatever you want to call it, deals with a number of fundamental issues that impact all aspects of human life. Examples include drinking water (desalination) and irrigation in drought-ridden regions of the world, transportation (biofuels, batteries, green auto), remote and distributed energy generation (solar, wind, batteries), manufacturing, consumer products, energy efficiency (smart grid, energy management), etc.
I also agree with him that every technology gets overhyped at some point and many cleantech PR campaigns have contributed to that problem by pushing hyperbole when there was nothing behind the courtain. Biofuels are feeling the backlash now and wind is starting to be questioned because of energy storage problems. But will they go away entirely or will they just evolve into something stronger, with savvy entrepeneurs overcoming many of today's challenges? I think it is definitely the latter.
Will the Cleantech movement create ten Googles? I wouldn't bet against it...or Khosla.
Posted by Jason Morris on June 3, 2009 at 4:39 PM
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This is an interesting time of year in the solar PR world because while other markets are looking to cool down post Memorial Day in terms of events and major, non-earnings announcements, the solar world is just heating up. From late May through October, we will have five major solar events in the US and Europe, starting with Intersolar 2009 in Munich last week, that will drive a frenzy of company launches, press releases, project announcements and industry dialogue.
Joining Intersolar Europe are the PV America (next week), Intersolar US in July, PVSec in September and finally, Solar Power International in October. So what's a marketer to do? This is actually a good problem to have.
It's often said that an average PR program is great at reach and lowsy at frequency, but it has long been our mantra that a drum beat of success is better than single big bang. It can be tough to convince executives and board members that even if Solar Power International is the biggest event for the company in terms of focus and region, it is a bad idea to use every 2H 09 PR bullet in one conference blast.
Solar marketers and PR teams should leverage the existance of these events to make the case for a steady drum roll of momentum, each tailored to the audience of the different events. If you don't have five announcement-worthy items for these events, then a good way to look at it is to think about the difference between the PR markets culturally.
European PR is a packaged content oriented discipline whereas the US is a very news and expert commentary driven PR market. What I am getting at is that these events need to be treated as a series in the grand solar PR campaign and not as isolated events, and a creative, strategic PR program and team will develop the tools to leverage each event.
Will you be attending Intersolar US, PVSec or Solar Power? If so, drop us a line because we would love to meet you there.
Posted by Jason Morris on June 1, 2009 at 12:44 PM
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