Hedge fund manager Tom Steyer is contributing his time and $5 million of his money to fight off a California ballot initiative that he says could stifle the clean-tech industry in the state.
On July 26, Mr. Steyer — founder of hedge fund Farallon Capital Management and a managing director and executive committee member of private equity firm Hellman & Friedman, both in San Francisco — took on another title. He was named co-chairman of Californians to Stop the Dirty Energy Proposition, serving beside former Secretary of State George Shultz.
Mr. Steyer's group is fighting a new proposition initiative, Proposition 23, which would suspend a state climate-change law approved by the state Legislature in 2006. That law sets emission standards and creates demand for clean energy by requiring utilities and others to produce energy from renewable sources.
A report last month by Clean Economy Network, an advocacy group, claims that private investors, mainly private equity and venture capital firms, have invested $9 billion in clean technology in California since the law was passed.
California state regulators are also creating demand by requiring that 20% of utility power be from renewable sources by 2013 and 33% by 2020. This has made utilities such as Southern California Edison one of the country's largest purchaser of solar power, the report said.
Proposition 23 would suspend California's clean energy law until the statewide unemployment rate drops to 5.5% for four consecutive quarters.