Posts Tagged ‘Silicon Valley’

MendoCoastCurrent, May 20, 2009

Mendocino-Energy-Mill-SiteAt this core energy technology incubator, energy policy is created as renewable energy technologies and science move swiftly from white boards and white papers to testing, refinement and implementation.

The Vision

Mendocino Energy is located on the Mendocino coast, three plus hours north of San Francisco/Silicon Valley. On the waterfront of Fort Bragg, utilizing a portion of the now-defunct Georgia-Pacific Mill Site to innovate in best practices, cost-efficient, safe renewable and sustainable energy development – wind, wave, solar, bioremediation, green-ag/algae, smart grid and grid technologies, et al.

The process is collaborative in creating, identifying and engineering optimum, commercial-scale, sustainable, renewable energy solutions…with acumen.

Start-ups, utilities companies, universities (e.g. Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford), EPRI, the federal government (FERC, DOE, DOI) and the world’s greatest minds gathering at this fast-tracked, unique coming-together of a green work force and the U.S. government, creating responsible, safe renewable energy technologies to quickly identify best commercialization candidates and build-outs.

The campus is quickly constructed on healthy areas of the Mill Site as in the past, this waterfront, 400+ acre industry created contaminated areas where mushroom bioremediation is underway.

Determining best sitings for projects in solar thermal, wind turbines and mills, algae farming, bioremediation; taking the important first steps towards establishing U.S. leadership in renewable energy and the global green economy.

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MendoCoastCurrent, February 11, 2009

President Obama chose two Silicon Valley notables as members of his new Economic Recovery Advisory Board.  The 15-member board shall advise Obama on decisions about the US economy and announced to spur Congress into passing legislation for his economic stimulus plan.

President Obama said he created a panel of outside advisers to enlist voices from “beyond the Washington echo chamber.”

Among his picks is Charles Phillips, president of Oracle and John Doerr, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist who serves on the boards of Google, Amazon, and Symantec.

“We will meet regularly so that I can hear different ideas and sharpen my own, and seek counsel that is candid and informed by the wider world.”

The board is headed by Paul Volcker, the former US Federal Reserve chairman and one of Obama’s top economic advisers.

“We’re also going to count on these men and women to serve as additional eyes and ears for me as we work to reverse this downturn,” said Obama. “Many of them have a ground-level view of the changes that are taking place.”

Phillips became president of Oracle in May 2003 and was previously with (the then-investment bank and now-bank holding company), Morgan Stanley.

Doerr is a venture capitalist associated with KPCB, who’s backed quite a few big names of Silicon Valley in their early years. Like Compaq, Sun Microsystems, Intuit, Netscape, and Amazon. He’s also been a major advocate for carbon trading and green tech causes.

Other names on the board include Martin Feldstein, professor of economics at Harvard University; Jeffery Immelt, CEO of General Electric; and Robert Wolf, CEO of investment bank UBS Group Americas.

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SCOTT DUKE HARRIS and MATT NAUMAN, San Jose Mercury News, January 27, 2009

obama-hope2As President Barack Obama and Congress hammer out an economic stimulus package expected to be in the $825 billion range, Silicon Valley clean tech leaders are heartened by an energy agenda that starts with an emphasis on “smart grid” technologies that encourage energy conservation.That agenda will add jobs and bring dollars to several Silicon Valley companies, they say, especially those making smart grid components, solar panels, electric cars and green building materials.

It’s “a good start,” said venture capitalist Pascal Levensohn, whose portfolio includes clean tech investments. “There is a lot of optimism.”

Details of the new stimulus package are still being worked out, but talks suggest that about $60 billion will be applied toward promoting clean, efficient “energy independence” and creating jobs in the process.

Billions of dollars are expected to be applied to weatherizing government buildings, schools and homes. Billions more would go to loans and grants to promote renewable energy such as solar and wind. And still more billions would be spent upgrading the infrastructure of America’s power grids.

Bringing the power grid into the Internet age is a priority. The bill presented by House Democrats includes $11 billion to boost the IQ of electrical grids by employing sensors to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. An alternative bill introduced in the Senate would raise that sum to $16 billion.

“We’ve been swimming upstream,” said Peter Sharer, chief executive of Agilewaves, a Menlo Park maker of a product that monitors electricity, gas and water use in homes and businesses. “We’re finally swimming with the current. That’s what federal support means to us.” 

While initiatives like solar power have cosmic cachet, upgrading the power infrastructure is the logical place to start, some clean tech investors say. “We know that efficiency is the low-hanging fruit,” explained Levensohn, of Levensohn Venture Partners in San Francisco. 

America’s aging power grids now waste 10 to 30 percent of electricity from the generator to the plug, industry experts say. Foundation Capital partner Steve Vassallo likened the grid to a leaky bucket. Instead of simply putting more energy into the system, “the first thing you should do is fix the bucket,” he said.

The weaknesses in California’s energy grid and marketplace were starkly exposed in 2000 and 2001. Then, as Californians were hit by brownouts and ballooning electricity bills, President George W. Bush refused to support temporary price caps and blamed the energy crisis on environmental rules and a shortage of power plants. Only later was it discovered that energy dealers including Enron, a major supporter of Bush and adviser on Vice President Dick Cheney’s energy task force, were gaming California’s dysfunctional energy market, profiteering with schemes nicknamed “Death Star” and “Get Shorty.” Enron would later implode from its own culture of corruption.

The energy crisis inspired Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to seek solutions. Menlo Park’s Foundation started investing in clean tech in 2002, including smart grid companies Silver Spring Networks, based in Redwood City; eMeter, based in San Mateo; and EnerNOC, based in Boston.

The “smart grid” approach employs real-time monitoring and sensors to minimize waste and help identify parts of the grid that are leaking energy and need repairs. In an age of Internet connectivity, utilities typically remain unaware of outages until consumers call with problems, Vassallo said, and still rely on human meter readers walking door-to-door to check energy use “30 days in arrears.”

Pacific Gas & Electric plans to spend more than $2 billion to install 10.3 million smart electric and gas meters. Installations started in Bakersfield in late 2006, and are scheduled to reach the Bay Area by the end of this year.

This digital, wireless device will allow PG&E to get quicker notification of power outages, and also allow it to cut or reduce power during periods of high demand, if a customer agrees. Eventually, PG&E says, smart meters will allow it to better tap into energy that is put into the grid from solar panels installed on homes and businesses.

While California’s grid is “getting smarter,” Vassallo said, most states are served by power grids without the benefit of any information technology and, unlike California, have pricing structures that do not encourage conservation.

Valley companies are keenly scrutinizing the potentially devilish details. SunPower, the San Jose maker of solar modules, is pleased with the “wide, broad, deep effort” to promote cleaner energy as part of the stimulus, said Julie Blunden, a vice president. But she doesn’t think the effort will generate jobs until the second half of 2009.

SunPower, Blunden said, is ready to ramp up work in areas where it has expertise, such as putting solar systems on government buildings, as well as “beefing up areas where we don’t have strong, established channels.”

Weatherizing buildings and promoting new “green” development might benefit companies such as Serious Materials, a Sunnyvale maker of energy-saving building materials, such as heavily insulated windows and greener drywall.

Kevin Surace, the company’s chief executive, sees a lucrative market — 1 million to 2 million homes a year plus tens of thousands of government buildings. His company just bought two window factories, and Surace expects to grow his head count from 150 to 250 or 300 by year’s end.

Project Frog, a San Francisco company that builds green school buildings, is also encouraged. “We’re ready to help schools make use of these funds,” said Adam Tibbs, the company’s president.

Government support may help stimulate more private-sector investments in energy, says Agilewaves’ Sharer and other clean tech executives. But Lyndon Rive, chief executive of Solar City, which was expanding rapidly until the credit crunch hit, said the most important thing for clean tech is for financing to flow again.

“We want to get banks back into buying solar, wind and other renewable” energy assets, Rive said.

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PRESTON GRALLA, GreenerComputing.com, January 22, 2009

In a briefing to the Obama transition team in December, IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano recommended that Obama require that all federal data centers go green in three years.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Obama advisers had asked IBM shortly after the election to give a briefing about what impact investing in IT could have on job creation. In response, Palmisano made his presentation in a conference call. 

Most of the call was devoted to how an investment in technology could create jobs. IBM had worked with the think tank the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation to look at three areas: broadband, IT related to health care, and smart grid technologies to make electric power more efficient. 

IBM told the Obama tteam that spending $10 billion for broadband networks to give high-speed Internet access to locations that now don’t have it would create 498,000 jobs in a year. Investing $10 billion in health-related IT would create 212,000 jobs. And investing $10 billion in a smart grid would create 239,000 jobs. 

Doing all that, of course, takes legislation. But according to the Journal article, Palmisano was also asked what steps the Obama administration could take that didn’t require Congressional action. The article says:

Mr. Palmisano suggested an executive order mandating that the government convert all its data center to be “green” data centers, optimized for energy efficiency, within three years.

Here’s hoping that Obama follows the advice. Not only would it directly help the environment and save the federal government money, but it would spur private enterprise to follow suit as well.

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MATT NAUMAN, San Jose Mercury News, October 1, 2008

Venture capital investors continue to look beyond the current financial crisis and see clean technology innovations as a prime place for their money. The segment posted another record period in the third quarter of 2008, with a total of $2.6 billion worth of investments globally.

In fact, a report to be released today by the Cleantech Group reveals that investments in companies working in solar, the smart electrical grid, algae for fuel and other categories so far this year already have topped all of what was invested in 2007. That’s $6.6 billion in the first nine months of 2008 compared with $6 billion in all of 2007.

Nearly $419 million in the third quarter (and more than $1 billion so far in 2008) went to companies based in Silicon Valley, the research and financial services company said.

“Clean-tech venture investing has continued to show strong growth despite the unprecedented turmoil in the credit markets,” Michael Goguen, managing partner of Sequoia Capital, said in a statement. Goguen is a member of the Cleantech Group advisory board.

Of the $2.6 billion invested in 158 companies during the quarter, $1.1 billion of it went to California companies. Of the top investors ranked by number of deals, local entities Google.org, Khosla Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, ranked in the top five.

The third quarter’s biggest deal of $200 million was invested in Solopower, a thin-film photovoltaic solar company in San Jose. The group expects fourth-quarter investments to fall, due to the various economic headwinds, but didn’t offer a specific forecast.

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Bruce V. Bigelow of the UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER on November 29, 2007

Funding by venture capital firms in “clean tech” topped $2.6 billion through the first nine months of 2007, a number that exceeds the $1.78 billion invested in all of 2006.

Of the total, more than $726 million was invested in 68 companies in California, according to data released yesterday by Thomson Financial and the National Venture Capital Association.

Silicon Valley accounted for more than 84 percent of the California funding and 49 of the deals, with Thomson Financial counting $11.5 million going to two clean-tech deals in the San Diego region.

Actual numbers may vary.

PowerGenix, a San Diego startup that has been developing rechargeable nickel-zinc batteries, got $15 million in venture funding this year, Chief Executive Dan Squiller said.

The Thomson data, which are based on a survey of venture-capital firms, showed that PowerGenix got $8.5 million from Palo Alto’s Technology Partners and an undisclosed venture firm.

The data also showed a $3 million investment in Enviance, a Carlsbad company offering software as a service that helps customers better manage their compliance with environmental, health and safety regulations.

The underlying trend, though, reflects a surge in venture-capital funding for new “clean and green” technologies that range from substitutes for petroleum-based fuels to new types of solar power, fuel cells and energy-saving software and computer chips.

“San Diego is typically known more for its biotech companies,” Squiller said. “But San Diego also is a hotbed for clean-tech companies.”

Investments by U.S. venture firms in clean-technology startups have been increasing rapidly, from $590 million in 63 deals in 2000 to $1.78 billion in 180 deals in 2006, according to the Thomson data.

The $2.6 billion invested so far this year went into 168 deals, although the three largest ones were outside the United States: a $500 million investment in the Netherlands’ Delta Hydrocarbon BV, a $200 million deal with Brazil’s Brazilian Renewable Energy Co. and a $118 million investment in China’s Yingli Green Energy Holding Co.

The largest segment of U.S. investments involves solar technologies, with nearly $665 million in 35 deals nationwide. Investments in alternative energy, which excludes wind, solar, geothermal and cogeneration, amounted to almost $318 million in 33 deals, with venture funding for power-supply technologies amounting to $184 million in 25 deals.

Bruce Bigelow: (619) 293-1314; bruce.bigelow@uniontrib.com

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TED GREENWALD, Wired, November 12, 2007

Gore, Doerr & Joy is not a folk rock supergroup but an investment power trio with a common goal: To use market forces to stop global warming.

Former vice president Al Gore has become a partner in Silicon Valley’s top venture capital firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers.

In return, John Doerr — KPCB founder and early investor in Amazon, Google and Netscape — has joined the advisory board of Gore’s three-year-old green investment firm, Generation.

And Bill Joy, the boy genius behind Sun Microsystems, Java and the latest generation of Unix operating systems, is a KPCB partner who established his cred as a techno activist by advocating limits on research in potentially dangerous technologies like genetic engineering.

Together, they’re inviting all comers to submit eco-friendly business plans in need of capital.

The climate situation is so dire, and the investment opportunity so enticing, that the principals are determined to leave no possible solution unexplored.

Doerr, who confessed his fear of climate change in an emotional presentation at last year’s TED (technology, entertainment, design) conference, predicts that $200 million in KPCB capital will target global warming within a year, in addition to the $270 million currently allocated to environmental issues.

The alliance with Generation will help him figure out where to put the new money. The alt-fuels market is estimated to be worth $1 trillion, the global energy industry worth six times as much. All of which makes the new Green Revolution the new internet on Sand Hill Road.

“It’s going to be fun and wildly profitable, and really good for the planet. How can you not be excited about this?” says Joy.

Well, a flood of dodgy proposals soon to arrive at KPCB-Generation central might give the VCs pause.

Wired talked with Gore, Joy, Doerr and Generation co-founder and managing partner David Blood during a Monday conference call.

Al Gore: If I could start up with a brief opening comment. We are announcing an international alliance between Generation Investment Management and Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield and Byers to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis. These two firms, in alliance, cover the full spectrum of the investment marketplace, and we’re asking entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and technologists around the world to send us their ideas, business plans and new technologies.

We have geared up to give a full and fair hearing to those ideas. Though we will, no doubt, make mistakes, we will pledge our best efforts to give a full hearing — including to ideas and technologies that perhaps have been given short shrift in the past — and we look forward to seeing many that have not yet seen the light of day.

We believe that Sir Nicholas Stern is right when he says, along with others, that there is an investment gap of up to 1 percent of world GDP over the next several decades that needs to be closed if we’re going to succeed in quickly developing a low-carbon economy. We’re very excited to have this chance to work together and bring these two world-class teams together.

Bill Joy: It’s widely recognized that we’re going to need to invest more, but we also need to buy things we can afford.

If we look at the technologies out there today, there’s a lot of things that can be profitably deployed. People can get a lot more efficient. But the scale of the problem is very large. We’re going to need new technologies to fully solve the problem.

Investing in new technologies and more rapid deployment of technologies that are farther along and sharing intelligence about the best way to allocate capital will yield not only good investment returns but also better results for the planet. That’s why we’re so excited to be working with Generation and Al Gore.

Wired News: So you’re inviting all comers to pitch you?Gore: The tone of your voice conveys some question about the wisdom of this invitation.

WN: It does make me wonder how you’ll cope with the inevitable flood of — how can I say it politely? Un-actionable ideas.

Gore: Between Generation and Kleiner Perkins, we’re already seeing 3,000 plans per year. So we have already developed the capacity for this review and we have scaled it up in anticipation of increased flow. And, of course, we recognize that there are a lot of proposals that should never see the light of day. But we also recognize that there are a lot of great ideas and technologies that have not been given adequate consideration and aren’t (given adequate consideration) because of the heavy subsidies for high-carbon technologies that are enormously profitable for incumbent enterprises. As the world shifts away from a high-carbon economy, we need to do a better job, all of us, in recognizing the new opportunities.

David Blood: The challenge that Bill Joy just outlined is an enormous challenge. We’re in the process of moving from the carbon-based economy to something different. It would be probable that that would undergo a change over the course of decades.

Our guess is — given the challenges associated with climate change — which transition is going to need to occur much more quickly. Over a 10-year period, possibly a five-year period.

So the need for entrepreneurship and creativity in ways we can’t even fathom, not only as investors or business people but across civil society, is so great that, in some ways, the call seems to be, we’re asking for a lot.

But it’s also symbolic, to say we need to take a different approach here. We need to have a total change of mindset. We need creativity. We need existing businesses to change — entrepreneurs, capital markets professionals and public policy.

WN: It’s laudable and intriguing to open the doors wide, but my immediate sense is that, given the stature of the participants, you probably already have your fingers on the pulses of the most significant developments available and probably already have personal connections with many of the people.

Gore: Here’s what I would encourage you to add to your way of thinking. Even though we do, in fact, have some good ideas about who we think some of the likely winners will be, the scale of this is larger than any challenge our global civilization has ever confronted.

This is going to be larger than the industrial revolution, in a shorter period of time. The initiatives involved will be the equivalent of the Manhattan Project, the Apollo Program, and the Marshall Plan combined and scaled globally.

There are a lot of people who are going to be actively involved in trying to catalyze this transition. We want to do our part and bring the skills, discipline and experience of these two world-class teams together to bring to bear on this challenge and to do our part.

Joy: If you saw the TV show, Connections, you saw how breakthroughs come after a series of small steps. We’ve been looking actively for years, figuring out what we can do that would make a real difference and addressing energy and renewability of the way we do things. And, in many cases, we have a whole picture — except there may be one or two pieces missing.

So if someone has something they think is new and could be a piece, that could be interesting because our preparation yields us the opportunity to take that small piece and maybe make it the final piece of the puzzle.

That’s across a wide range of mechanical engineering disciplines, chemistry, physics, biology, all sorts of technical areas where a higher price for carbon, higher price for oil makes things more interesting than they were when those prices were artificially depressed.

Are these scenarios publicly available, so I can see what piece you feel is missing and put my mind to filling it?

Joy: That would be a job and a half in itself. We’re talking really arcane stuff here. For example, if you want to capture CO2, the material you capture it with has to be recycled. It’s not the capture that’s hard, it’s the recycling of the material that captures, cost-effectively.

Then, of course you have to do something with the CO2 once you capture it. That’s another piece. So there are pieces missing. Let’s find them.

WN: Do you have a specific set of criteria that you’ll be judging proposals on?

Joy: We get business plans, we look at the team, technology, markets — things have to go to scale to make a difference, so we’re looking for ideas that can make a big difference.

Gore: One of the criteria will be how big a contribution to solving the climate crisis will the technology represent.

Blood: I think it’s also important to put this into a somewhat broader context. There are multiple industries and businesses that will be part of the solution to climate change.

It’s not just green technology. It ranges from water to markets to the carbohydrate economy to energy efficiency. It’s a broad series of industries and businesses.

Second, it’s across all stages of companies’ development. We’re talking, at this moment, about early-stage businesses, but that’s just part of the solution. Part of the challenge is to work with later-stage businesses as well as larger businesses.

Some of the largest companies in the world are the largest participants in these markets. So it’s not just the small startup that you’re familiar with, that Kleiner is so great with. It’s that among other types of businesses.

Joy: At the moment, in my funnel, personally, I have about 100 ventures. They start from “somebody has an idea” or “I saw this patent,” or something, and at the far end are the things we work on with Generation.

There’s probably 10 such ventures. We looked at one just a couple of weeks ago. We went into diligence on it. We didn’t end up making the investment.

One of the partners here is seeing one of those a week. So if the flow picks up here, we’re going to be pretty busy. You do that for a while and you can pick out the ones that are going to matter pretty quickly.

Ten times the volume isn’t 10 times the work. You still have to be polite, that takes a little time, get a good process for being polite to people for sending us their stuff, but it doesn’t take anywhere near 10 times the work to process 10 times more once we know areas — and we do. That’s the strength of these two firms. We go all the way from the earliest ideas to the public markets.

WN: The approach of investing in technologies that you think will solve an environmental problem has been around for some time. But I do wonder about the dual goal of doing well and doing good and whether you can actually maximize your returns and your environmental gains at the same time. How has that been going?

Blood: The biggest challenge, when people ask this question, “is it possible to make money and do well by society or the planet?”, where that question is off the mark is when you think of it as two separate points.

We don’t think of it that way. The whole question of sustainability is integral to how you manage businesses. Any industrial business has to understand what their carbon footprint is. It’s pollution, it’s waste; they need to find ways to mitigate that. Clearly, with the price of carbon, that will be a big deal.

In the case of other aspects of sustainability, like how you operate in your community, license to operate matters to a retailer, it matters to a financial institution. How you attract and retain employees matters. Corporate governance matters. Long-term demographic and economic factors matter.

The best business leaders in the world have already internalized this. They don’t think of it as two separate points. They think of it as how they run their business in a thoughtful, effective way for the long-term profitability of their shareholders as well as their multiple stakeholders. It’s not hard for us to understand how that operates. We think it’s best practice.

WN: But when you’re trying to fill in holes in larger systems, as Bill pointed out, how do you strike a balance between filling the hole and making a profit?

Joy: The secret here is we’ve got an enormous amount of capital that needs to be replaced. Add up all the capital that’s out there and it’s basically not very valuable, or worth anything at all, given how much carbon it puts out and how expensive carbon is and is going to be.

So we need companies that can provide efficient capital and systems, so companies that have this now-unaffordable system in place are going to look to low cost of capital, low operating cost, low carbon footprint to replace it.

Revolutionary technologies like we’ve seen in the semiconductor industry, and revolutions in chemistry and physics, electronics, and whole systems … things that are already existing, can be deployed in large public companies. The kind of intelligence we get from Generation lets us know where these large markets are. We help give an idea of what can come along. Put those things together — I think this is the most profitable place to be because you’re displacing things that are so incredibly inefficient.

Personal computers were profitable because people didn’t have computers before. It wasn’t a displacement market.

This is almost as good; it’s probably better. It’s a bigger market, and what we’re displacing is largely stupid. It should be easy to displace. So I think it’s going to be fun and wildly profitable, and really good for the planet. So why not do it? How can you not be excited about this?

Blood: There’s two points to make. The fact that there is no price on carbon means that we’re inefficiently, inappropriately allocating capital to businesses that are not properly accounting for their cost.

Second, we’re not advocating that capital should be allocated in a subsidized way. That’s not sustainable in the long term. We like philanthropy, but that’s not what we’re arguing for here. We’re talking about getting a proper price on carbon and then making thoughtful allocations to capital to address these challenges, which will be profitable for these entrepreneurs as well as existing businesses that have worked it out.

Joy: We have a petrochemical industry. We can think of a renewable chemical industry based on biological inputs. Cargill estimated that that’s a $1 trillion market. That’s big enough. I think we can make good progress working against that opportunity. That technology doesn’t exist today.

WN: I accept your premise. My question was directed at how you find the balance.

Joy: We look for great ventures within the universe of ventures that are applicable to this problem. We find ones that are as good as any we’ve seen in the history of the partnership.

I think Generation is seeing, and the public markets see, companies better positioned for the future than companies that aren’t green. The green companies are in better shape as the true price of these inputs becomes apparent to make it wildly profitable. But you’ve got to understand what the driving forces are, and that’s what we’re going to do together.

Gore: We may be beating a dead horse, but let me add one more comment. There were two earlier waves of efforts to integrate sustainability factors into equity investing. Thirty-five years ago so-called ethical investing relied on a negative screen that did result in the impression that’s at the base of your question — you have to choose between doing well and doing good.

Then a second wave came along called best-in-class investing, or positive screen investing. That left that basic conflict in place.

But the third wave of global equity investing that Generation represents, that’s based on full integration of sustainability factors into every facet of this process, is powered by intensive research into how the sustainability factors uncover perspectives and knowledge about business opportunities that you can’t get in any other way.

It actually does serve to increase the returns compared to an approach that is not based on integrating sustainability factors.

In the same way, in early-stage investment opportunities, there are similar factors at work. And with the entire global economy poised to make this enormous shift, with the first signs of this shift already evident, we think this is a fantastic opportunity to match up the investment dollars with the opportunities that need to be developed quickly.

WN: When I hear people talk about technologies like solar, the business case always depends on government subsidies. I wonder whether you have a parallel effort to work on policy.

Gore: We think the opportunity we’re pursuing will come to fruition with or without changes in government policy. There are consumer preferences, business shifts in perspective; the entire economy is moving very forcefully.

There have already been policy changes in Europe and Japan and some other areas. The state of California has already made a policy shift, more than 700 U.S. cities have already made a policy shift.

Even if there’s no national government policy change, these opportunities are well worth pursuing in the marketplace.

If, as we expect, there will be policy changes forthcoming, then the opportunities are even greater. Will we join in the discussion of why those policy shifts should occur? Yes.

We have already been part of that. At Generation we have been deeply involved in it. Kleiner Perkins has as well. John Doerr is probably more responsible than any single person for AB32, the bipartisan legislation that passed in California that caused an earthquake in the policy world. We’ll all continue that policy advocacy.

WN: What are your favorite approaches to reducing carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases, in technology terms?

Joy: Number one, I learned from Amory Lovins many years ago, start by reducing demand. When everyone thinks of renewable energy, they think of solar panels, but that’s the wrong end to start from.

First you’ve got to cut down the amount you use. The number one cost-effective demand reduction is insulation. It’s not sexy, but it saves a huge amount of energy. So companies that find ways to get businesses and residences to improve their insulation would make a huge difference.

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ERICKA MORPHY, E-Commerce Times, November 12, 2007

Former vice president Al Gore can add high-profile Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to his already extensive resume. The Nobel Peace Prize winner will join the VC firm as a partner and help guide its investments in green businesses and technologies. Kleiner Perkins already has an established reputation as a supporter of environmentally friendly technology — especially when it makes money.

Former U.S. vice present and Nobel Peace Prize-winning environmental activist Al Gore has linked up with a Silicon Valley venture capital firm with similar street cred in the investment community.

Generation Investment Management, which Gore cofounded, and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have announced plans to collaborate on identifying and funding green businesses, technologies and policies that have the greatest potential to solve the climate crisis.

The partnership will provide funding and expertise to both public and private companies as well as one-person shop entrepreneurs. As a part of the collaboration, Gore will join KPCB as a partner. The firm will also co-locate its European operations at Generation’s offices in London. John Doerr, partner at KPCB, will join Generation’s Advisory Board.

Under the alliance, KPCB will continue to invest in startup venture capital while Generation will continue to invest in global public equities. The two firms will collaborate on opportunities in such sectors as renewable energy technologies, building efficiency, cleaner fossil energy, sustainable agriculture and carbon markets. As part of the agreement, all of Gore’s salary as a partner at KPCB will be donated directly to the Alliance for Climate Protection — the nonpartisan foundation he chairs that focuses on accelerating policy solutions to the climate crisis.

The tie-up, Gore observed, brings together world-class business talent. Indeed, it would be difficult to locate a firm that has a better reputation than KPCB among investors.

“KPCB has been a very active investor in clean technology for the last few years, which is more than most other firms,” Dan Pullman, a principal with investment banking firm McNamee Lawrence, told the E-Commerce Times. For instance, there were some 10 companies focusing on investing in this area a few years ago, of which KPCB was one. Today that number is between 30 to 50. “KPCB has a real lead and strong expertise in this area,” Pullman said.

KPCB’s pull in the investment community is due in part to its approach to emerging technologies, be it in the tech or life sciences or clean or green technology sectors, Pullman continued.

“It doesn’t specifically look at investments as just a function of, say, tax credits” or for other non-business related reasons. Rather, KPCB “looks at potential investments to see which has the best chance of becoming economically viable businesses.”

Besides the economic sustainability issue, he said, the KPCB name also lends even more political credibility to the environmental movement. “It is a great move for Gore to step in with a deep player like” KPCB.

Global Ties

The partnership should also bring new blood to this issue, Eric Koester, member of the law firm Heller Ehrman, told the E-Commerce Times, noting that the partnership will be leveraging KPCB’s presence in Asia and the United States and Generation’s presence in the United States, Europe and Australia.

“It will be interesting to see what cross-border cooperation can bring to the table,” he said. This space is continually evolving as new regulations, new money and new technologies are established. “Making this a three-continent play should really push momentum,” Koester said.

For instance, zero-emission manufacturing — designing facilities for optimal energy use and alternative energy application — should benefit from greater visibility and increased investment, said Lou Ronsivalli, senior executive with Trane, which works with organizations in the military, healthcare, education and business sectors to help them to improve energy efficiency.

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