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Former DOE Assistant Secretary joins Bill Gates-backed venture fund

Breakthrough Energy VenturesMany of our reader will remember David Danielson, a very visible and active Assistant Secretary of Energy during the Obama Administration. His portfolio was Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, a responsibility that brought him to East Tennessee numerous times because of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s strong role in those areas.

Danielson also headlined several events for the Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and was an advocate for that member organization. Click here to view our previous articles on the then Assistant Secretary.

On June 1, 2016, Danielson left Department of Energy to join Stanford University as a Precourt Energy Scholar. Most believed it was an interim move before a return to the private sector where he would continue to focus on his passion for energy technologies. On Wednesday, Danielson confirmed those expectations when he sent the following email to a number of individuals.

It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I am reaching out to you let you know that after seven very rewarding months as a full-time at Stanford University, I have now landed in my next long-term, high-impact opportunity as Employee #1 and Managing Director at Breakthrough Energy Ventures.  

For those of you who haven’t followed it, Breakthrough Energy Ventures is a new $1B/20-year investor-led fund supported by Bill Gates and 20 other high-net-worth individuals that will finance emerging energy breakthroughs to deliver affordable and reliable energy with the goal of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions to near-zero.  

I wanted to thank the many of you that helped me figure out what was next for me and to engage you as partners going forward to enlist your support in helping us identify, build, and scale the breakthrough energy technology innovations that will define the half century ahead of us.  

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with your ideas and thoughts on how we might best achieve our mission and I look very forward to working with all of you going forward to change the world for the better.


Tom Ballard

By Tom Ballard, Chief Alliance Officer,
Pershing Yoakley & Associates. P.C.

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