In a step to reverse Europe’s falling share of clean energy investment, GE has partnered with British non-profit Carbon Trust to infuse the European clean tech sector with fresh capital. The initial phase of the alliance includes a business incubation fund of $5 million to support new low carbon technologies in infrastructure applications. The initiative with is an extension of GE’s ecomagination Challenge – a $200 million global program to find and fund the best ideas in clean technology.
Some of the impetus to forge the new relationship came from trends revealed in a Bloomberg New Energy Finance report that shows a discouraging 40% drop in Europe’s share of clean energy investment over the past five years, a period during which Asia Oceania almost doubled its share.
GE’s green plant installation of Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield with Cypresses outside London’s National Gallery in Trafalgar Square this summer. GE is teaming up with UK-based Carbon Trust to fund a new clean tech business incubator in Europe.
GE’s Innovation Barometer shows that roughly half of UK businesses see the UK as a challenging environment for innovation. 84% of them also believe that developing partnerships and collaborating with a combination of players – including government, big business, SMEs and individuals – is crucial for their success in innovation.
In light of those facts, Carbon Trust will work with GE to sift out the most promising early stage companies focusing on clean tech infrastructure in areas such as smart grids, lighting systems, heating and ventilation and building controls. Those fortunate start-ups will receive funding and support from GE and Carbon Trust.
Tore Land, Director of ecomagination Europe commented, “Europe has already proved it has tremendous potential when it comes to cleantech innovation but it will need to work hard to stay ahead of its global competitors.” Land says companies such as GE have a vital role to play in helping start-ups to move with scale and speed into rapidly growing markets, adding, “Our broad product offer also means we have the capability to create platforms for new markets. Electric vehicles are one example of this.”
Carbon Trust’s mission is to accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy by providing advisory services, certification, and finance in both the private and public sector. Their work in 2010 and 2011 included support for hydrogen fuel cell development, wind energy, wave energy, biomass, and energy efficiency in commercial buildings.