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Obama Administration and Private Partners Make a Clean Energy Push

Yesterday, the White House hosted a Clean Energy Investment Summit where Vice President Biden highlighted more than $4 billion in pledges from major foundations and long -term investors to fund climate change solutions. Coupled with these commitments, the Obama administration also announced several executive actions to stimulate further private sector investments in clean energy technologies. Together, these initiatives surpass the Administration’s earlier announced Clean Energy Investment Initiative goal of catalyzing $2 billion. Read on for more details about this exciting day for cleantech from Washington!

  • Private Sector Commitments: Many investors are making significant asset allocations to fund clean energy innovation. Goldman Sachs is targeting $500 million of financing and co-investments in companies that create advanced clean energy technologies, including smart grid infrastructure and advanced battery solutions. Additionally, a consortium of long-term investors, including the University of California’s Chief Investment Officer, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, and the Alaska Permanent Fund, are building a nonprofit investment intermediary to identify high-potential projects for commercial investment that could also produce impactful and profitable climate solutions. The group is initially allocating a total of $1.2 billion, with an eventual goal of $2.5 billion over five years.
  • Philanthropic Pledges: Over 250 foundations and family offices are collaborating on clean energy investing. As an example, the CREO Syndicate, a merger of the CREO Network and Cleantech Syndicate, launched yesterday to bring to together over 100 family offices and other investors with a plan to invest $2 billion over the next five years. Another coalition, Divest Invest Philanthropy, is committing at least 5% of their total $4.8 billion in endowments to investing in new energy solutions over the next five years.
  • Executive Actions: The White House announced several actions of its own to further spur private sector investment. Among them, the DOE will establish a Clean Energy Impact Investment Center to make information about departmental programs more publically accessible as well as provide connections to points of contact and subject matter experts. The U.S. Small Business Association will also expand access to capital for innovative cleantech companies by strengthening its Early Stage Small Business Investment Company
  • Innovation Acceleration: Several nonprofit programs that nurture early-stage clean energy startups are building on past success with new public-private partnerships. This includes a $10 million seed capital expansion for the Chicago-based Clean Energy Trust, a new $3 million fund for Hawaii’s Energy Excelerator, and a $5 million public private partnership for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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Thomas R. Burton, III

Member / Chair, Energy & Sustainability Practice

Tom Burton has helped to shape the clean energy industry by drawing on his passion for innovation. As a Mintz attorney, Tom counsels investors, entrepreneurs, and Fortune 100 companies. He also guides start-up organizations and accelerators to foster the next generation of energy leaders.