Ausra Secures $US60.6 Million in Funding
KERN, Generation and Starfish Join Kleiner Perkins and Khosla Ventures to back Ausra’s cost-competitive technology and global expansion
PALO ALTO, CALIF. – October 2, 2008 – Ausra, Inc., the provider of large-scale solar thermal energy systems for industrial processes and utility electricity generation, has secured $US60.6 million ($76.7 million) in its latest preferred equity financing. Investors in this closing were led by KERN Energy Partners Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta, Canada; and also included Generation Investment Management, based in London, England; Starfish Ventures of Melbourne, Australia; and Ausra’s founding investors Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. The investor group committed these funds in support of Ausra’s reliable, costcompetitive technology, seasoned management team and global expansion.
“We are very pleased to have such prestigious investors join our team to assist Ausra in achieving its goals in the solar thermal energy market,” said Bob Fishman, president, CEO and chairman of Ausra. “This round of financing will enable us to accelerate delivery of our technology to our customers.”
Proceeds from Ausra’s financing will fund the company’s research and product development and commercial activities, including the completion of its 5-megawatt solar thermal power project
near Bakersfield, Calif. – the first power plant in North America to incorporate Ausra’s core technology, the Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector solar collector and steam generation system. This facility will further lead to the development and construction of a 177-megawatt solar thermal power plant for Pacific Gas and Electric Company in central California.
Ausra’s technology has significant advantages for its customers in cost, scalability, zero emissions and land-use efficiency. The company’s first commercial project, located in NSW, is currently under expansion. The facility will augment power production at an adjacent conventional power station later this quarter, allowing it to create the same amount of electricity using less coal.
Ausra’s pioneering solar thermal technology was developed and first deployed in Australia by one of the company’s founders, Dr. David Mills. As Australia prepares to reduce its carbon footprint, Ausra’s solar thermal technology has the potential to play a significant role in both small and large-scale power generation and industrial process steam applications. The company’s subsidiary, Ausra Pty Ltd, is focused on expanding Ausra’s Australian operations.
Bob Matthews, Ausra Pty Ltd CEO, said, “Ausra is ideally positioned to be a leader in Australia’s solar power industry with growing demand for clean energy from government, industry and the public; abundant solar fuel resources; and proactive federal and state governments that are keen to reduce Australia’s carbon footprint.”
“Starfish Ventures is proud to invest in a solar thermal energy company with Australian origins that has proven to be a viable and economic technology in the energy market,” said John Dyson, Investment Principal of Starfish Ventures. “We reviewed a large number of solar investment opportunities and were attracted to Ausra’s approach of using solar thermal power to reduce the carbon footprint of existing coal-fired power stations. For many countries, and in particular Australia, coal power plants are the major source of power generation and we need technologies that are deployable today. We are excited to be a part of an industry that is leading the way with a renewable energy source that creates economic growth and reduces carbon emissions.”
The investment in Ausra, Inc. marks Starfish Ventures’ third clean technology focused investment. The company identified the opportunity to support Australian cleantech companies several years ago and recruited a team of investment professionals to support this investment activity.
About Ausra, Inc.
Ausra delivers energy from the sun. The company provides solar power, steam and energy systems for industrial processes and utility-scale electricity generation. The company is a leader in solar thermal energy design, development and manufacturing, and is committed to serving the global energy needs of its customers in a dependable, market-competitive and environmentally responsible manner. Headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif., Ausra is a privately held company with operations in the United States and Australia. To learn more about Ausra and solar thermal energy, visit www.ausra.com.
About Starfish Ventures
Established in 2001, Starfish Ventures is an Australian owned venture capital fund manager seeking superior returns through active investment in innovative technology companies. Starfish Ventures has over $385 million in funds under management and has made investments in over 30 companies to date. Starfish Ventures most recent fund includes the Starfish VicSuper Cleantech Companion Fund, a dedicated pool of capital for globally competitive cleantech related investments.
Starfish Ventures seeks investments in emerging Australian businesses across all technologies sectors including information and communications technology, biotechnology and life sciences, industrial technology, and cleantech. For more information go to www.starfishvc.com