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Journal Article

Financing Energy Innovation: The Need for New Intermediaries in Clean Energy


This study aims to advance the understanding of and address the valley of death that is significantly widening in the clean energy domain due to its financing challenges. We conduct a case study on three new investment vehicles in the US energy sector (First Look Fund by Activate, Prime Impact Fund by Prime Coalition, and Aligned Climate Capital), which set their missions to contribute to bridging the valley of death in clean energy. While three cases focus on different technological development phases, they raise a consistent point that investment opportunities (and risks) are not assigned to the appropriate investors. We argue that current financial intermediaries have failed to effectively channel funding sources to entrepreneurs, as we evidence network fragmentation and information asymmetries among investor groups and companies. Therefore, we propose three intermediary functions that can facilitate intelligent and effective information flow among investors throughout the entire energy technology development cycle. Our findings highlight the emergence of collaborative platforms as critical pillars to address financing issues among new energy ventures.

So Young In
Ashby H.B. Monk
Janelle Knox-Hayes
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