There were many lessons to be learned at the 14th annual REFF Wall Street conference, such as: Not everyone's mother works for a hedge fund.

  • One panelist recalled his initial excitement at the birth of the yield company, which he saw as a way to bring renewable energy investments into the mainstream. “I thought: ‘My mother can buy stock in a company that builds wind and solar projects!’," he recalled. The enthusiasm was short-lived, however: "My mother never bought it. It was all hedge funds.” The moderator was astounded. “Your mother doesn’t work for a hedge fund?!” he spluttered.
  • Finance doesn't have to be all about the money. The moderator of one panel, an investment banker, was coaxed into admitting to financing merchant wind projects. “That’s not commercial, that’s just for educational purposes,” he explained, to laughs.
  • “One of the companies up here is for sale, isn’t it?” a moderator remarked on one panel. The four panelists maintained their poker faces, though one, attendees later remarked, noticeably blushed.
  • It turns out the U.S. Department of Energy is still hiring. An attorney revealed on the sidelines of the conference that she had turned down a job offer from the department after November's election, but not before politely asking for more details about the role. "I asked: 'Who would I report to? Steve Bannon?'"

The American Council on Renewable Energy and Euromoney Seminars jointly hosted the conference at the InterContinental New York Barclay Hotel from June 19-21. For more coverage, see pages 1 and 5.

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