🌏 FERC transform(er)s grid planning #198

FERC approves two landmark orders clearing the path for new transmission


Happy Monday! 

Last week, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved long-awaited rules that could significantly impact the amount of renewable energy reaching the grid by transforming grid planning. It could also pave the way for new market demand for grid tech.

In other news, the US’s new tariffs on EVs, Microsoft’s rising emissions, and BHP’s attempt to take over Anglo American (again).

In deals, $164m for e-fuels, $60m for battery recycling, and a whopping seven new funds.

See you in two weeks! We’ll be skipping next week’s newsletter on Monday, May 27, for Memorial Day and UK Bank Holiday.

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FERC fires up new transmission

We’re not always policy wonks over at CTVC, but when we hear “transmission” — one of the biggest challenges for the US’s energy transition today — our ears perk up. 

Last week, the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved long-awaited rules that could determine how much renewable energy makes it to the grid. Order 1920, which addresses how transmission providers must go about planning regional transmission facilities and how to pay for them, grabbed headlines last week, while Order 1977, which gives the agency authority over national corridors, flew under the radar. 

Separately and together, these rules could transform grid planning, and pave the way for new advancements in grid tech.

Transmission transition

The queue of projects waiting to connect to the US grid reached 2.6 TW last year, double the size of the existing grid. But it’s not just the pace of new requests and interconnection studies jamming up the queue. It’s also the lack of new transmission capacity coming online to integrate more wind, solar, and storage projects — largely because new high-voltage transmission lines aren’t getting built. 

FERC’s new orders signal the most significant attempt in decades to upgrade and expand the US’s outdated grid, especially amid projections of rising energy demands from AI.

  • FERC Order 1920: Passed 2-1 along partisan lines to focus on long-term planning for regional transmission and cost allocation.
    • Long-term planning: Transmission providers must create a regional transmission plan (RTP) for up to 20 years, updated every 5 years instead of 10. 
    • Benefits analysis and cost allocation: Proposals require a 7-benefit analysis and evaluation process. If a provider doesn't meet the criteria, states and customers can fund necessary facilities, while costly or delayed facilities can be discontinued. Providers must also revise their Open Access Transmission Tariffs (OATTs) to include Long-Term Regional Transmission Cost Allocation Methods, propose a default cost allocation method, and engage with relevant states. 
    • Multi-interconnection focus and Grid Enhancing Technologies (GETs): Emphasizes prioritizing transmission facilities involved in multiple interconnection studies and calls for greater use of technologies like Dynamic Line Ratings (DLRs), advanced conductors, and power flow controls to optimize existing infrastructure. 
    • Right-sizing infrastructure: Encourages increasing the transfer capacity of existing infrastructure instead of solely building new facilities.
  • FERC Order 1977: Unanimously approved upon and updated processes for permitting and siting decisions for transmission projects.
    • FERC Authority over national corridors: Gives FERC the authority to permit transmission lines in national interest transmission corridors even if a state has denied applications. 
    • Respect the order of things: Transmission providers must wait a year after the state permitting process before starting the FERC pre-filing process. This was a change from the 2022 FERC proposal, which allowed simultaneous siting and planning.
    • Engage with local stakeholders: The order also sets standards for engaging with local stakeholders, requiring providers to engage and document proposals’ impacts on air quality and environmental noise, environmental justice communities and tribal resources. 

Key takeaways

  • Turn weak links into strong links: This landmark rule highlights the need for a reliable grid and long-term planning, amid long interconnection queues and rising demand from AI and data centers (not to mention EVs and manufacturing). It aims to strengthen the grid by addressing weak points before they become critical issues and uses nonpartisan language about blackout risks and extreme weather.
  • Engage and coordinate (for now): Transmission has always involved complex orchestration between stakeholders and challenges from states. Both orders aim to explicitly signpost where local stakeholders as well as state-level engagement should be carried out. However, with partisan lines being held around clean energy and states’ rights, there could be a legal battle brewing in the future for FERC’s latest ruling, especially as a permitting reform bill stalls in Congress.
  • Re-evaluate and assess: The new requirements ask for 5-year updates on progress with regional transmission plans (RTP) in a bid to bolster accountability. Benefit analysis and scenario modeling help specifically identify how transmission facilities directly improve stakeholders. 

What does this mean for climate tech?

  • Uptake in grid planning and expansion software: Orchestrating transmission buildout is an onerous process involving stakeholders, lengthy permitting and siting timelines, and physical risk. Grid planning tools such as Neara’s Transmission Design & Optimization feature and Envelio’s Grid Study tool allow providers to streamline transmission buildout. 
  • Better data = better reporting: The new requirements call for more frequent updates on regional transmission plans (RTP).  Advances in sensing technology and grid monitoring allow the industry to meet these reporting needs with more granular data, improving progress measurement in achieving long-term needs. 
  • Getting serious about GETs: The order could signal a regulatory tipping point for adoption of Grid Enhancing technologies (GETs), like Dynamic Line Ratings (DLRs), advanced conductors, and power flow controls. We got serious with GETs at the end of last year, refresh here.

Deals of the Week (5/12 - 5/19)

Late-Stage / Growth

enspired, a Vienna, Austria-based energy market trading-as-a-service platform, raised $26m in Series B funding from Zouk Capital, 360 Capital, Banpu, EnBW New Ventures, Helen Ventures, and other investors.

🏭 ndustrial, a Raleigh, NC-based industrial energy intensity optimization platform, raised $18m in Series B funding from ABB, GS Energy, Clean Energy Ventures, and ENGIE New Ventures. 


🔋 Cylib, an Aachen, Germany-based battery recycler, raised $60m in Series A funding from Porsche Ventures, World Fund, 10x Founders, Bosch Ventures, DeepTech & Climate Fonds, and other investors.

💨 Allozymes, a Singapore, Singapore-based enzyme engineering and discovery platform, raised $15m in Series A funding from Entrepreneur First, HAX, ID Capital, NUS Technology Holdings, SOSV, and other investors.

trawa, a Berlin, Germany-based renewable energy procurement platform, raised $11m in Seed funding from Balderton Capital, AENU, Magnetic, Speedinvest, and Tiny VC. 

🔋 Princeton NuEnergy, a Bordentown, NJ-based lithium-ion battery recycler, raised $10m in Series A funding from LKQ Corporation, SCG, and Tech Council Ventures. 

☀️ Enteligent, a San Jose, CA-based solar optimization platform, raised $10m in Series A funding.

Orange Charger, a Redwood City, CA-based multi-tenant EV charging provider, raised $6.5m in Seed funding from Climactic, Munich Re Ventures, Baukunst, Crow Holdings, Lincoln Property Company, and Spacecadet Ventures. 

ULEMCo, a Liverpool, England-based solutions provider for transitioning commercial vehicles to hydrogen fuel, raised $6.3m in Seed funding from Mercia Ventures, Equity Gap, North West Fund, Northern Powerhouse Investments, and Scottish Enterprise. 

🍎 Relocalize, a Montréal, Canada-based hyper-local food supply system platform, raised $5.8m in Seed funding from Desjardins Capital, RGS Ice, Waterpoint Lane, and i4 Capital. 

☀️ Active Surfaces, a Cambridge, MA-based solar integration technology provider, raised $5.6m in Pre-Seed funding from Safar Partners, Lendlease, New Climate Ventures, QVT, Sabanci Climate Ventures, and other investors.

Spoor, an Oslo, Norway-based AI platform for detecting birds near wind farms, raised $4m in Seed funding from Futurum Ventures, Nysnø, Ørsted Ventures, and VC Superorganism.

🌱 Jejakin, a Kota Administrasi Jakarta Barat, Indonesia-based carbon management platform, raised $2.7m in Seed funding from East Ventures and Indogen Capital.

 💸 Ekko, a London, England-based sustainability fintech solutions platform, raised $2.5m in Seed funding from Fuel Ventures and Sorven Capital. 

Correntics, a Zürich, Switzerland-based climate risk analytics platform, raised $1.6m in Grant funding from Eurostars. 

🌾 Metrovate, an Auckland, New Zealand-based biostimulant developer, raised $1m in Seed funding from Sprout Agritech, Finistere Ventures, Fonterra Co-operative Group, OurCrowd, and Te Pokapū Auaha Callaghan Innovation.

🚆 Gridmatrix, a San Francisco, CA-based traffic analytics solutions company, raised Seed funding.


HIF Global, a Santiago, Chile-based e-fuel producer, raised $164m in Corporate Strategic funding from AME, Baker Hughes, EIG Global Energy Partners (EIG), Gemstone Investments, Idemitsu Kosan, and Porsche.

David Energy, a Brooklyn, NY-based electricity supplier bundled with DERs platform, raised $16m.

New Funds

Hassana Investment Company, a Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based investment firm, announced a $1.5bn strategic partnership with TPG Rise Climate. 

Norrsken VC, a Stockholm, Sweden-based investment firm, held a final close of their $345m fund that invests in early-stage impact-driven companies. 

PeakBridge, a Luxembourg, Luxembourg-based investment firm, held a final close of their $187m food-tech fund. 

Momentus Capital, an Arlington, TX-based investment firm, held a final close of their $171m fund that invests in growth-stage impact-driven companies. 

Blisce, a Paris, France-based investment firm, announced a new $162m fund that will invest in companies targeting solutions across sectors including materials, food, and construction. 

Starshot Capital, a Los Angeles, CA-based investment firm, announced the launch of their debut $35m fund that invests in early-stage companies working on decarbonization solutions. 

Zero Carbon Capital, a London, UK-based investment firm, held a final close of their $25m fund that invests in companies working on hard-science technologies. 

Can’t get enough deals? See full listings and deal analytics on Sightline Climate

In the News

The White House unveiled new tariffs on aluminum, batteries, electric vehicles, solar cells, and steel. The most significant part — a 100% tariff on Chinese-made EVs, aiming to boost domestic manufacturing and complement the Inflation Reduction Act's subsidies for EVs and critical minerals. The administration also announced new tariffs on bifacial solar panels and cells from Southeast Asia, ending previous exemptions and launching an import probe. 

Microsoft announced that it will require its main suppliers to use 100% carbon-free energy by 2030, after the news that the company’s emissions rose 30% since 2020 due to AI development. The rise complicates Microsoft's goal of becoming carbon negative by 2030 despite significant investments in renewable energy and efficiency measures.

Mining giant Anglo American announced plans to exit diamond, platinum, and coal mining. The move comes as a major restructuring initiative aimed at transforming into a copper-focused company and fending off a $43.2bn takeover bid from competitor BHP.

Australia’s budget is out! The Aussie government introduced its 2024 federal budget including a $22.7bn total investment in renewable energy manufacturing and exports to combat climate change. The federal budget also included a new Hydrogen Production Tax Incentive, offering developers almost $2 per kilo of green hydrogen produced over a ten-year period starting from 2027.

In more hydrogen news, Electric Hydrogen secured a $100m credit facility from HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Stifel Bank, and Hercules Capital to support the manufacturing and deployment of its 100MW electrolyzer plants for decarbonizing critical industries. 

FOAKs for cement around the world! SCG Cleanergy and Rondo Energy began construction of the world's first heat battery for cement production. Meanwhile, Holcim broke ground on a $500m project in Belgium to produce 2 million tons of net zero cement annually. And Sublime Systems announced its first commercial project in Boston, MA, with its "true zero" electro-chemical process to produce sustainable cement.

The largest US public pension plan, Calpers, allocated over $25bn to green private market investments, focusing on real estate, private equity, and infrastructure, in a major commitment to unlisted climate assets.

Private equity firms in the US had a record $956 billion in uninvested capital at the end of 2023, 104% more than 2016, according to PitchBook. But fundraising may again outpace dealmaking in 2024, driven by mega-firms, despite a strong year for US stock indices. (We released our own climate tech dry powder report earlier this year — see how they compare.) 

President Biden signed a ban on Russian enriched uranium imports into law to reduce reliance on Russia for nuclear power and unlock $2.7bn for US uranium fuel industry development. Following the ban, the US government issued a notice indicating it will solicit bids worth up to $3.4 billion starting in June to boost domestic nuclear fuel production.


First official portrait of King Charles includes reference to his care for the environment.

For edible bugs fans, cicadas are just the noisy lobsters of the trees.

Check this map to see how climate change is impacting homeowners insurance in your state.

Sparks fly in US-China climate tech race amid Michigan's $2.4bn battery plant backlash.

India’s election grapples with coal or climate.

Defending parasites: Nature can’t run without them, but climate change is making some extinct.

Venezuela has become the first country in modern history to lose all its glaciers.

Bison energy carbon credits? A herd of 170 bison can store the CO2 equivalent of 43,000 cars.

Climate change is a challenge of biblical proportions at the Vatican’s climate summit.

New way of recycling just dropped — New York City’s anti-rat pizza box recycling bins.

Opportunities & Events

📅 Pre Seed to FOAK Financing: Register to join From Pre-Seed to FOAK with Grok Ventures on May 21st for a unique educational and networking opportunity dedicated to helping founders navigate the challenges of building breakthrough climate companies. 

📅 EPDI Policy Chat: Register to join the conversation on May 24th for an event facilitated by EPDI executive director Ted Ko focused discussion on whether non-dispatchable DERs should be included in the definition of a Virtual Power Plant (VPP).

💡 Frontier Carbon Removal Pre Purchase: Apply by May 28th, as Frontier's 2024 pre-purchase application cycle opens for an opportunity to sign early-stage pre purchase agreements to accelerate the development of new carbon removal technologies.

📅 US Decarbonization Summit: Register to attend the US Decarbonization and Industrial Transition Summit on May 29th to discuss securing resources a clean energy future and network with cleantech leaders from the energy, mining, and commodities sectors.

📅 Geothermal Conference: Register to attend the 5th Geothermal Conference in Iceland on May 28-30th, to explore the intersection of security, sustainability, innovation, and profitability in geothermal energy.

📅 Progression 2024: Register to join Progression 2024 by June 7th as Protect Our Winters (POW) and the Rocky Mountain Venture Capital Association (RMVCA) partner to showcase six startups raising funds to advance POW's mission.

💡 Construction Startup Competition: Apply by June 30th to participate in a transformative program designed for up-and-coming Cleantech, Climate Tech, and Contech startups in the construction industry. 

📅 CDR Leaders Gathering: Apply to attend the Global CDR Leaders Gathering in Copenhagen on September 4th for an event focused on networking and knowledge-sharing. 


Senior Research Associate; Research Analyst; Data Product Manager; Data Engineer @Sightline Climate

Investment Associate @Energy Impact Partners

Policy & Market Development Intern; Associate, Energy Markets @CleanCapital

Director of Development @Terraset 

Senior Manager, Climate and Nature @Palladium

Private Equity / Venture Capital Analyst @MKB

Environmental Justice in Tech Fellow @Earth Hacks

Head of Origination @Noria Energy

Chief of Staff @Fervo Energy

📩 Feel free to send us deals, announcements, or anything else at [email protected]. Have a great week ahead! 

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