Case | HBS Case Collection | June 2010 (Revised June 2011)

U.S. Department of Energy & Recovery Act Funding: Bridging the "Valley of Death"

by Michael J. Roberts, Joseph B. Lassiter III and Ramana Nanda

Abstract

The case focuses on the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the $38 billion of stimulus funding the DOE received to encourage clean tech. They focus on "bridging the valley of death" (i.e., helping young, innovative companies finance technically risky and very capital intensive development and commercialization programs). The case focuses on two DOE programs in particular, the Loan Guarantee Program and ARPA-E. The case raises the question of why these valleys of death exist, what can be done to deal with them, and how these DOE programs are designed and implemented.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Financing and Loans; Government and Politics; Innovation and Invention; Programs; Business and Government Relations; Weather and Climate Change; Energy Industry; Green Technology Industry;

Citation:

Roberts, Michael J., Joseph B. Lassiter III, and Ramana Nanda. U.S. Department of Energy & Recovery Act Funding: Bridging the "Valley of Death". Harvard Business School Case 810-144, June 2010. (Revised June 2011.)