Gamesa Opens $72 Million Venture Fund for Clean-Power Technology

Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica SA started a 50 million-euro ($72 million) fund to invest in renewable power and energy efficiency technologies, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jorge Calvet said.

The fund will take minority stakes in companies with the potential to become new Gamesa business units in the medium term, he said. The fund already invested $5 million in two firms that make small-scale generators for remote areas.

“We need to think about what the new renewable technologies will be,” Calvet said. “We can’t afford to be left behind.”

Gamesa is seeding new business lines to mitigate the risk to its main operations building wind turbines and developing wind farms. The company boosted net income 63 percent to 13 million euros in the first quarter on international sales.

Calvet is boosting revenue in Brazil, India and China after regulatory uncertainty shut down most development of wind parks in Spain. Gamesa may this year make no sales in its home market of Spain, which accounted for a third of revenue in 2009, he said.

The fund aims to invest about 10 million euros a year in companies that can benefit from Gamesa’s expertise and add value to its wind turbine business. The company may also offer help with sales and marketing, sourcing suppliers and manufacturing.

SkyBuilt Power Inc., an Arlington, Virginia-based producer of mobile renewable generators, and WorldWater&Solar Technologies Inc., which makes solar-power water purifiers, were the fund’s first two investments. Gamesa paid $3 million for a 29 percent stake in SkyBuilt and $2 million for 25 percent of WorldWater&Solar.

Calvet said Gamesa’s turbine sales may be boosted by increasing demand next year from the U.S., the world’s second-biggest market, which slumped last year. U.S. developers may install 7 gigawatts of new generators in 2012 compared with 5 gigawatts at most this year. The U.S. accounted for 8 percent of Gamesa’s sales in the first quarter.

“I see some light at the end of the tunnel” for the U.S. market, he said. “There is a change of trend.”

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