Visiting Distinguished Senior Fellow
Jonathan Silver is currently a Visiting Distinguished Senior Fellow at Third Way, where his work focuses on energy policy and energy finance. He is also a Senior Advisor on Energy Investments to The Riverside Company, a multi-billion dollar investment firm, a member of the board of the energy efficiency company, EEmax, a leading player in the tankless water heating industry, and on the Advisory Board of Sol Systems, the largest SREC (solar renewable energy credit) aggregator in the U.S.
Prior to joining Third Way, Mr. Silver held a senior Presidential appointment at the U.S. Department of Energy, where he led the largest single-purpose investment fund in the world, the federal government’s $50 billion dollar investment program in alternative energy. His team underwrote financing for the largest and most complex energy projects in the country, providing capital to a wide range of wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, fossil, nuclear, and advanced automotive technology projects. These transactions were twice named “Deal of the Year," and one was nominated for “Deal of the Decade,” by leading trade publications. Mr. Silver built out the organization, set the agency’s strategic direction, and led the structuring, growth, and management of its loan portfolio. He frequently represented the agency before Congress and in public forums. In 2010, Mr. Silver was named one of the country’s top ten “influencers” in the green tech industry.
Under Mr. Silver’s leadership, the program grew to become the largest project finance effort in the United States. During his tenure, the agency committed over $40 billion to 42 clean energy projects with total project costs of over $63 billion. The program’s 23 generation projects will produce over 32 million megawatt hours, enough to power nearly 3 million homes. Cumulatively, the portfolio avoids over 38 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to taking 4.5 million vehicles off the road.
Among the many transactions underwritten, the deal teams Mr. Silver led provided financing for the world’s largest wind farm; two of the of the world’s largest solar thermal power plants; the next generation of wind and solar manufacturing companies; the nation’s first nuclear power plant in three decades; several large geothermal projects; and one of the country’s first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants. His group also made $4 billion dollars of investments in leading electric vehicle manufacturers.
Prior to leading the federal government’s investments in clean energy, Mr. Silver was the co-founder of Core Capital Partners, a successful venture capital investor in battery technology, advanced manufacturing, telecommunications and software. Core managed $350 million and its two funds were top quartile performers. Earlier, Mr. Silver was a Managing Director and the Chief Operating Officer of Tiger Management, one of the country’s largest and most successful hedge funds. He has also held senior operating positions in several media companies and he began his business career in the Financial Institutions Group at McKinsey and Company, a global management consulting firm.
Mr. Silver has served as a policy advisor to four U.S. Cabinet Secretaries: Energy, Commerce, Interior and Treasury. While at the Commerce Department, Mr. Silver was a member of the team that negotiated the first clean car agreement with the nation’s auto manufacturers.
Silver has served on or chaired numerous corporate and non-profit boards. His philanthropic activity includes membership on the boards of the Federal City Council (business organization), WETA (public television), American Forests (conservation), Arena Stage (theater arts) and a stint as special advisor to the Chancellor of the DC public schools.
An honors graduate of Harvard University, Mr. Silver did graduate work at the Institute of Political Studies in Paris and the Graduate Institute of International Studies in Geneva. He has received both Fulbright and Rotary Graduate Fellowships.
Mr. Silver is married and lives with his wife and two children in Washington, DC.