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Alstom, VantagePoint Lead $80 Million Investment in BrightSource

BrightSource Energy Inc., the U.S. solar-thermal developer that canceled plans for an initial public offering, received $80 million in equity investments led by its two biggest backers to expand its operations into new regions.

Alstom SA, Europe’s second largest power-equipment company, led the investment round with the venture capital company VantagePoint Capital Partners, Oakland, California-based BrightSource said today in a statement.

Alstom also agreed to collaborate with BrightSource on solar-thermal power projects in India and Australia, advancing a 2010 partnership focused on Africa and the Mediterranean region. Siemens AG, Europe’s largest power-equipment maker, said Oct. 22 it’s seeking a buyer for its solar-thermal operation.

The financing comes six months after BrightSource withdrew its IPO registration, citing adverse market conditions. The company is almost 60 percent done with its first commercial-scale power plant, the 377-megawatt Ivanpah project in southern California. It completed a 29-megawatt demonstration facility for Chevron Corp. in Coalinga, California, last year that generates steam for enhanced oil recovery.

The financing also included existing backers Draper Fisher Jurvetson, DBL Investors LLC, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., California State Teachers’ Retirement System and the venture capital units of Chevron and BP Plc, according to the statement.

BrightSource’s solar-thermal systems use mirrors to focus sunlight on a boiler atop a central tower, generating steam that drives a turbine and creates electricity.

Alstom and VantagePoint owned 19.9 percent and 24 percent of BrightSource, respectively, as of March 30, according to a filing.

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