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Broadscale to Link Utilities, Power Companies With Cleantech Startups

General Electric, National Grid and Duke Energy have become the first members of Broadscale Group, a New York-based investment firm that connects energy corporations with cleantech startups.

The newly formed Broadscale has developed a network of power and utility companies that are looking to invest in and help commercialize technologies and services offered by cleantech firms.

Significant capital requirements, complex regulations and long adoption period often prevent startups from making it through the so-called “valley of death” and reaching commercial scale. Broadscale will provide the most promising growth-stage companies with access to capital, distribution and demand.

Meanwhile, the utilities and power companies that become Broadscale members will gain access to well-screened startups with technology, products or services that will help improve efficiency, lower operating costs and be more competitive.

Private equity fund manager Pegasus Capital Advisors, which has $2.7 billion in assets under management, will invest in deals that Broadscale identifies.

Broadscale is partnering on specific transactions with Daniel Gross, a former founding partner at Hudson Clean Energy Partners and principal investor at Goldman Sachs and GE Capital.  Broadscale is also partnering with Rosina Giuliante, a former investment executive at The Carlyle Group, GE Capital and Goldman Sachs.

Broadscale was founded by Andrew Shapiro, who started strategic advisory firm GreenOrder in 2000. Shapiro has worked with GE since 2004 on the creation and execution of its multi-billion dollar ecoimagination initiative; counseled GM for five years on strategic issues including the launch of the Chevrolet Volt; and served as the green adviser for 7 World Trade Center, NYC’s first LEED-certified office tower.

Earlier this summer, GE split its energy infrastructure division into three standalone businesses, a move that will remove a management layer, align the units with the industries to which they sell and cut overhead costs by about $300 million.

The change will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2012 and will include the departure of GE vice chairman and GE energy infrastructure CEO John Krenicki, who has worked for the company for 29 years. Krenicki will oversee the transition during the third quarter.

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