New Zealand Superannuation Fund Embraces Green Streak

Matt Whineray

Matt Whineray

Sovereign wealth funds have an eye for promising renewable energy companies – some successful, some not. The New Zealand Superannuation Fund (NZSF) invested US$ 55 million in Ogin Inc. Formerly known as FloDesign Wind Turbine Corporation, Massachusetts-based Ogin is a developer of wind turbines that utilizes aerospace technology. In its infancy, the startup received funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E). The US$ 8.3 million grant from ARPA-E helped with the turbine’s development.

Ogin has a difficult road ahead of them – balancing product execution with regulatory risk. In addition, potent incumbents like General Electric or Vestas are the key actors in the wind turbine industry. General Electric constructs mega wind turbines for massive wind farms. Taking a different approach, Ogin is focusing on building smaller wind turbines and placing them locally, near residential areas and campuses.

In a press release, Matt Whineray, General Manager of Investments for the NZSF stated, “We look forward to working with Ogin as it further develops its products and markets, and as it redevelops existing wind farms using its new turbines.”

Before the investment in Ogin, the NZSF invested US$ 50 million in fuel cell startup Bloom Energy. Known for the Bloom Box, Bloom Energy is backed by a laundry list of Silicon Valley venture capitalists like NEA and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Bloom Boxes use solid oxide fuel cell technology to create energy and are used by data centers operated by Apple, Google and Microsoft. In late November, Bloom Energy hit a milestone, installing its first fuel cells in Fukuoka, Japan.

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