This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 19, 2006

AES and DuPont Form New Global Alternative Energy Divisions

Two of the nation's largest corporations, AES and Dupont, created new global divisions for alternative energy businesses in the past week. The AES Corporation, one of the world's largest power companies, announced on April 17th that it will create an "alternative energy business group" that will invest about $1 billion in alternative energy, including wind power and biomass, over the next three years. AES has invested $265 million in the wind generation business since 2004 and promises to triple its investments in wind power. The company also plans to create new alternative energy technologies through a partnership with DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory. AES owns and operates 14 utilities and 128 electric power generation facilities. See the AES press release.

DuPont announced on April 10th that it is creating a new division to accelerate the company's biofuels research and create a newly designed biorefinery. Dupont, which currently draws about $300 million in revenue from biofuels, says DuPont Biofuels expects to substantially increase its activity, resources, and revenues in these markets by 2010. The company also said that it is increasingly relying on plant-based substances rather than fossil fuels as sources for many of its chemicals. See the DuPont press release.

Alternative energy companies are also drawing increasing investments from venture capital firms. In February, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers (KPCB) announced a new $100 million initiative in green technologies. Known for its success in picking winners in the computer and genetic engineering fields, KPCB has been quietly backing ventures in battery technology, solar cells, and solid oxide fuel cells for the past five years. Noting that disruptive energy innovations—those that can cause a dramatic shift in the use of one technology—are now possible because of recent advances in chemistry, genetics, and material science, KPCB mentioned biofuels, energy storage, and energy efficiency as "exciting, sustainable, and scalable" ventures. See the KPCB press release.