May 19, 2006

KPCB Fights Addiction

Oiladdict Leading venture blog SiliconBeat is facinated by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers role in influencing policymakers. Today, they report that the Bush SOU "end-oil-addiction" line was pushed by Kleiner partner Floyd Kvamme.  Kvamme also serves as co-chair on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology   (PCAST).

The rest of the post mostly highlights Kleiner's most high-profile partner John Doerr's clean-tech work (he says he is spending half of his time in this arena) and how the firm is creating a virtuous cycle of advocacy, innovation and environmentally friendly solutions.  SiliconBeat also notes how quick and how big clean tech is growing.  We agree.  See more posts from The 463 on this topic.  Also remember that the likely inclusion of the Clean Alternative Energy Act on the November California ballot will likely mean that clean tech hits a national media coverage tipping point.

And while, Floyd Kvamme only got one line in the SiliconBeat piece (he would probably prefer none), he is easily one of the most unsung heroes of Silicon Valley tech policy.  The man has been leading industry efforts on a variety of issues since the 1960s (Kvamme was one of five founders of National Semiconductor in 1967).  When the book is written about the history of tech policy, Kvamme will be seen as one of the very few key threads between past and present industry efforts.

(P.S. Kvamme is also one of the most humble and generous men you'll ever meet in Silicon Valley).

April 25, 2006

Clean Tech Initiative Nearing Ballot

Platformginalg As Republicans and Democrats both take hits on oil companies making record profits in the shadow of upwardly spiraling gas prices, backers of the Clean Alternative Energy Act in California expect the turn in twice as many signatures needed to get their November initiative on the ballot.  From the LA Times:

...backers of (the) initiative contend that collecting as much as $380 million a year from an extraction tax on all oil pumped from California fields and offshore platforms would fund research needed to break what President Bush has described as the country's addiction to oil

The campaign is expected to submit petitions with 1.2 million signatures, about twice the number required by law, by the end of the month, said Julie Buckner, a spokeswoman for the campaign. It is being bankrolled by Hollywood movie producer Steve Bing and Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla.

High oil prices and profits, Buckner said, "are causing people to stop and think."

See more on the initiative and clean tech here.

April 05, 2006

As California Goes, So Goes...

Ventura Star column today on the growing momentum in California to be out ahead of key environmental sustainability issues:

Those concerned about California's economy would do well to study the evolving political and social landscape around the global warming issue. If California is out in front now, there could be substantial economic benefits later.

Link:  See here for other green tech coverage.

April 02, 2006

Clean Tech: States Lead; Washington Talks

Texas Joel Swisher of the Rocky Mountain Institute writes in today's Denver Post that states are driving the lion's share of innovative advances in energy efficiency:

While Washington is talking, states have taken the lead in innovation and efficiency technologies. Some 20 states now have "portfolio standards" that require utilities to increase their use of wind and other renewable sources. A 2002 California law that limits light vehicles' carbon dioxide emissions, and thus improves fuel economy, has since been endorsed by 10 other states.

Swisher throws in the one-two combo of US competitiveness and smart energy policy in explaining what's at stake:

Continue reading "Clean Tech: States Lead; Washington Talks" »

March 24, 2006

California: Clean Tech Battleground

040429_national_smog_hmed7ahmedium California will likely be the site of what could be an important, seminal election battle over promoting clean energy at the expense of the oil industry (literally).  The initiative campaign is being led by Sun Microsystems co-founder and venture capitalist Vinod KhoslaThe Economist writes this week:

(Khosla's) eyes have now turned towards a new target—the oil industry. He and Stephen Bing, a flamboyant Hollywood producer, are financing a campaign to get Californians to endorse clean energy in a state-wide vote next November. “Californians for Clean Energy” will need to get more than 500,000 signatures just to make it onto the ballot. If it were then passed, its effect would be to increase taxes on Californian oil production by up to $380m a year, eventually raising billions of dollars for investments in clean energy. The plan is to help California cut its oil use by one-quarter within a decade, thereby setting a powerful example for the rest of the world.

The story continues: 

Continue reading "California: Clean Tech Battleground" »

March 07, 2006

The Coming Green Rush

From The Deal's Tech Confidential blog:

The run-up in the price of oil and other traditional fuels, along with increased public policy focus on alternative fuel development, will help fire a quadrupling of the market for clean energy technologies including biofuels, photovoltaics, wind energy, and fuel cells, from $40 billion in 2005 to $167 billion by 2015.

Full report at Clean Edge's site.

Previous clean tech coverage on The 463.

February 23, 2006

Check Out Secure America's Future Energy

Safe_logo Robbie Diamond, formerly a top policy advisor to Senator Joe Lieberman, has a great organization called Securing America's Future Energy (SAFE) that aims to reduce America's dependence on oil, addressing business and technology, politics and advocacy, and public education and media.

Check them out here.  It's a great approach that focuses on energy as a national security priority.   Many technologists are now paying attention


February 16, 2006

Drip, Drip, Drip...

When glaciers are melting twice as fast as previously believed (Washington Post), how quickly does clean (or green) technology become the biggest public policy related issue for the industry?  Our guess:  Much sooner than anyone really wants.

Update (via CNET):  "Venture capital investment firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers said Thursday that it has created a $100 million fund dedicated to green technologies, also called clean tech." 

It will be interesting to see how KPCB's politically-savvy partners approach this issue with policymakers.

February 15, 2006

Innovative Alternative Energy is Good Business

463 is a huge proponent of using innovation to improve energy delivery and conservation. Simply put, all of us, and most especially our partner Jim Hock, who was Senator Feinstein's press secretary at one point, believes that saving the environment is good business. 

As such, he recommends a number of great clean energy technology websites and blogs, including:

Clean Energy Future.  This is Arno Harris' great blog about the emerging clean energy industry where many of the business challenges are centered around market entry and initial sales traction.

Clean Tech.  A great news and commentary blog about those interested in VC funding in clean technologies.

Clean Edge.  Bills themselves as the "clean market" authority launched in 2001 by environmental and high-tech business pioneers Ron Pernick and Joel Makower.

Check 'em out and remember that there by pursuing these technologies we can realize many environmental and economic returns at the same time.

October 11, 2005

Technology and Energy: The Next Frontier?

Solar_decathlon In recent months, the 463 has spoken with prominent venture capitalists and technologists about the bright future of applying new technologies to the field of energy production and delivery.  The field of alternative energy is particularly exciting.  Take a look at the Solar Decathlon in Washington, DC.  It's a really cool program in which colleges from around the world compete to demonstrate the latest in solar technologies while providing enough energy to power a life in the everyday.

Take a peek and if you're in DC, go check it out as its pretty cool.