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February 14, 2011
Brattle Senior Advisor Josh Lerner Quoted in The New York Times on Clean Energy Financing

Josh Lerner, a senior advisor to Brattle and the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking at Harvard Business School, was quoted in an article published in The New York Times on February 2, 2011 on private funding for clean energy projects.

The article, "Energy Firms Aided by U.S. Find Backers," discusses how six of the 37 clean energy projects that were granted funds by the federal government in late 2009 have now made enough progress to attract $108 million in private venture capital funding. The director of the federal funding program, which is called the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARRA-E), said in the article that while none of these projects are expected to produce commercial products for several years to come, private investment sends a signal that government investment is an effective catalyst.

Mr. Lerner, an expert on venture capital, said in the article that if all of the 37 projects had attracted private financing quickly, it would have suggested that the projects would have happened without government intervention. With a track record of six of 37 being picked up, "it’s hard not to feel it’s a reasonable indicator that they’re doing something right," he said.

The Energy Department wants to promote ARPA-E’s successes now in part because the program’s funding is in question. In the article, Mr. Lerner also commented on the question of whether the government should be seeking an equity stake in these start-ups. He said that had seen Energy Department labs do that in trying to commercialize their discoveries, but it sometimes discouraged private investors from joining in.

For additional information and to read the article, please visit The New York Times website.