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Mercury News: Green tech’s bubble protection

Dean Takahashi of The Mercury News covered the current state of Silicon Valley clean tech affairs with yesterday’s article, “Will green tech become the valley’s new bubble?” The sub-head says a lot: “Reality of the problems makes boom, bust unlikely.”

A few highlights:

Does this green-tech boom mean the valley’s freeways will clog with smoke-laden traffic jams, just as we saw in the heyday of the Internet boom? (Although this time we may be driving hybrids or Teslas with electric motors.) Perhaps, especially if you think of all the jobs $3 billion in venture funding for clean tech in the United States — so far — can create, with much of that coming here.

….John Denniston, a partner with Doerr at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, says green tech has enormous scope because it is driven by stopping climate change, achieving energy independence and restoring American competitiveness. The valley is attacking the problem on multiple fronts, from better batteries to cheaper ethanol. These are real problems that need real solutions, in contrast to such over-hyped problems during the tech bubble as the need to buy pet food online.

In the next 25 years, electricity demand in the United States is expected to increase 50 percent. We used 139 billion gallons of gasoline last year, and that is expected to increase to 153 billion gallons by 2012.

In his State of the Union speech, President Bush said he wants 20 percent of all gasoline consumption to come from alternative sources in 10 years. Assuming gas prices of $2 a gallon, the value of the alternative fuel market will be more than $60 billion by 2012.

California is the tail wagging the dog with the passage of AB 32, which seeks to reduce emissions in the state to 1990 levels by 2020. Even corporate organizations argue that capping emissions is good for business because it will inspire innovation.

Takahashi also references a 116 page report, The Energy Imperative: Technology and the Role of Emerging Companies, published in November 2006 by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. It’s not surprising that the President’s Council on technology consists of names like Dell, EMC, Verisign, Autodesk, AMD and Microsoft. It looks like they still need some more companies that are leading the way in environmental/renewables innovation to join the ranks. Can’t affect change if you’re not part of the team setting the national agenda.

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March 2, 2007 - Posted by | clean energy, clean tech, green tech, Silicon Valley

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