Cathy Zoi.Cathy Zoi
Managing Director, Silver Lake Kraftwerk

These days, Silicon Valley is a lot more conducive to renewable-energy advocacy than Washington, D.C. That may be one reason why Cathy Zoi left the Obama administration earlier this year to help start up a new clean-energy investment fund. Silver Lake Kraftwerk [PDF] — a joint endeavor between George Soros’ investment fund and the Silver Lake private equity firm — will invest in cleantech companies that have proven technologies and business models but need an injection of capital to really get rolling. Zoi, 50, has experience investing in promising clean-energy projects, as she helped dole out billions in stimulus funding through the Department of Energy when she served as Obama’s assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. Previously she ran Al Gore’s Alliance for Climate Protection and served as chief of staff in the White House Office on Environmental Policy during the Clinton administration. To Zoi, steering investment into cleantech R&D is critically important: “We need to drive down the costs of our technologies,” she stressed earlier this year.