A key prediction in venture capitalist firm Lightspeed Partners' cleantech outlook for 2009 is that energy players like Chevron
First was last week's announcement by BP
The price tag on the maiden 36-million-gallon-per-year facility is estimated at $250 million to $300 million. That's a steep $7 or $8 per gallon install cost, and would require some pretty heroic subsidies to have the economics to make sense. Then again, the partners are probably more heavily focused on getting the technological jump on rival efforts being funded by the likes of DuPont
Over in the solar space, NRG Energy
Both BP and NRG are posting pretty modest sums up front: $22.5 million for BP, and around $10 million for NRG. Still, the firms are stepping up at exactly the time when other forms of project financing are restrictive at best. As long as nimble startups can bring differentiating technology to the table, it appears that well-financed multinationals are prepared to propel them forward through these sorts of partnerships.