White House Seeks $2B in Private Funds for Investment in Clean Energy Projects

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By Ari Natter

Feb. 10 — The Obama administration announced Feb. 10 a goal of raising $2 billion from the private sector to fund clean energy projects, saying more funding is needed to fight climate change through “innovative technologies.”

The Clean Energy Investment Initiative, to be run by the Energy Department, is designed to help investors reduce transaction costs and share investment models, the White House said in a fact sheet.

“Further clean energy innovation to improve the cost, performance, and scalability of low-carbon energy technologies will be critical to taking action against climate change,” the White House said. “Substantial technological progress has been made in recent years in solar photovoltaics, wind power, advanced batteries, energy-efficient lighting, and fuel cells. But additional investment is needed.”

According to the White House, groups such as the University of California Board of Regents, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Wells Fargo have agreed to participate, and a Clean Energy Investment Summit will be hosted by the White House this spring.

“Mission-driven investors—such as foundations, university endowments, and institutional investors—can play a catalytic role in accelerating the transition to a low-carbon economy,” the White House said.

The White House announced the plan at a summit held by the Energy Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, which finances energy projects deemed too risky to gain traditional financial backing.

The agency, known as ARPA-E, has invested about $1.1 billion in more than 400 energy technology projects.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at anatter@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com