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Green Energy Enthusiasts Are Also Betting on Fossil Fuels
the new york times ^ | March 16, 2007 | MATT RICHTEL

Posted on 03/18/2007 1:25:45 PM PDT by george76

Silicon Valley’s technology investors have taken to the ramparts, threatening to tear down the oil and gas industries’ dominance with innovations that use ethanol, solar and wind.

A chief champion of the cause has been Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of the marquee venture capital firms. Its principals, John Doerr in particular, have passionately advocated development of alternative energies as a way to create energy independence and clean up the carbon-saturated atmosphere.

But Kleiner has also poured millions of dollars into Terralliance, a company that makes technology to enable more efficient drilling of oil and gas.

The investment underscores a fact that is much less bragged about in the valley: For all the boasting in the region about investing in clean technologies, there have also been a smaller number of bets in companies set up to promote the development of fossil fuels — the source of many of the problems their other investments are meant to fix.

Joseph Lacob, a managing partner at Kleiner Perkins involved in the Terralliance deal, said the investment did not mar the firm’s overall commitment to eco-friendly so-called “cleantech” start-ups.

“We’ve made 14 investments in cleantech and greentech,” he said. “We’re extremely committed to that investment thesis.”

But others aren’t so sure.

Daniel Kammen, professor in the energy and resources group at the University of California at Berkeley, said such investments by Kleiner and other firms that portray themselves as green-friendly are inconsistent with their marketing message.

“They’re being hypocritical,” he said of the firms. The former vice president Al Gore, the billionaire Richard Branson and other figures with ties to Silicon Valley’s green movement “should hold these companies to a higher standard.”

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; US: California; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: algore; coal; energy; fossil; fossilfuels; fuels; gas; globalwarming; gore; green; greenenergy; greenmovement; johndoerr; kleinerperkins; movement; oil; richardbranson
a double standard for the elites ?

.

1 posted on 03/18/2007 1:25:48 PM PDT by george76
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To: george76

Didn't kaiser Wilhelm II once call Alfred Krupp on the carpet for similar business practices? Better cannons, then better armor, then still better cannons and the still better armor? There was even some German word for ir. Old Alfred invested in, and developed, both sides of the business, and the kaiser's treasury had to keep paying for it.


2 posted on 03/18/2007 1:32:54 PM PDT by GSlob
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To: george76
Once again, the environmentalists seek to align the dogma and doctrines of their profane religion. Their council of Trent is underway. Soon, prepare for auto de fe!
3 posted on 03/18/2007 1:40:10 PM PDT by Jagman (I drank Fran├žois Rabelais under the table!)
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To: george76

IMHO conservatives and the Republican are very, very unwisely wed to fossile fuels.

There are going to be huge fortunes made this decade, with all manner of new technologies. Gas power is a dinosaur, and the asteroid has already impacted. It's history, just not aware of that fact yet.

Electric cars, especially when solar power is effective for providing the charging, will be a true (massive) win-win for American industry. We can become almost immediately 100% energy independent almost overnight.

This will drive down all transportation costs.

Our balance of trade will turn positive.

The price of the remaining gasoline needs, will plummet.

But we need to be first. Not dragged, complaining and shaking our fists from the window of huge gas-powered boats. :)

Let's make small electric rechargable "plug in hybrid" cars with solar capability, a new Apollo Project.

We've certainly got the enterpreneurial drive, and the technological ability.

We just need to start. Full speed ahead.

Let the liberals catch up.


4 posted on 03/18/2007 1:50:22 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network (Mr. President: PARDON NACHO AND JOSE!)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
Electric cars, especially when solar power is effective for providing the charging, will be a true (massive) win-win for American industry. We can become almost immediately 100% energy independent almost overnight.

Instead of prefacing your post with an "IMHO" howabout you change your opinion from "humble" to "reasonably well informed" by actually reading about energy consumption in the United States. The suggestions in your post are beyond ludicrous.

Do you have any idea how many barrels of oil the US uses daily? How about tons of coal? How about natural gas? What about propane, butatne and other NGLs? All of this information is readily available. Convert all these forms of energy into to Giga Joules (GJ). Then figure out the energy available from sunlight that hits the surface of the United States every day. Give yourself a 20% efficiency for converting solar energy into electricity. Now figure out how much of the United States you would need to cover in solar panels to displace fossil (not "fossile") fuels. You're looking a covering several entire states with solar panels...like maybe Kansas AND Nebraska. We haven't even discussed the costs of storing the energy, since we happen to need it at night and in cloudy weather too. And batteries are made of materials that are TERRIBLE for the environment.

There is absolutely NO WAY that solar energy will ever be anything other than a niche energy provider.

No Apollo-like Project will ever figure out how to get more energy out of sunlight than is actually IN sunlight.

The reason we use fossil fuels is because they are cheap and abundant. If and when they eventually become expensive in several HUNDRED years, we will replace them with fission or fusion. But once again, it is critical you understand that there is just not enough energy in sunlight for it to EVER replace fossil fuels.

jas3
5 posted on 03/18/2007 4:04:10 PM PDT by jas3
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To: jas3

Instead of prefacing your post with an "IMHO" howabout you change your opinion from "humble" to "reasonably well informed" by actually reading about energy consumption in the United States. The suggestions in your post are beyond ludicrous.

-

(blink)

Folks must have been like this, when Edison was inventing the light bulb. :)

If you could find it in your brain to stop ranting for a moment in knee-jerk noodlehood, take a look at this link, and tell me the idea is absurd:

http://www.hybrid-vehicles.net/venturi-astrolab.htm

A full-functional, (plug in) solar car which goes 70, with a backup motor. EXACTLY what I'm talking about. They're starting production.

Unfortunately it doesn't have a roof, nor doors, and it costs $100,000, but it's a (very good) start. To make matters worse, it was created by the French. Who are going to ask us to surrender in this market if we're not alert.

Then this one (happily being built by Americans):

http://www.teslamotors.com/index.php?js_enabled=0

200+ miles on a charge, can plug into the wall outlet in your garage, and do 0-60 in FOUR SECONDS.

Oh, already being sold - they'll start delivery early next year.

Now. Let's discuss why the next Billionaire will be the first person who gets a truly affordable electric car to market.

Game over for gas engines. And FREEDOM from needing oil from people like Hugo Chavez.

So some oil companies will need to refocus. Fast.

If they're smart, they're investing in all this technology right now, to get in front of this massive wave.


6 posted on 03/18/2007 5:17:07 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network (Mr. President: PARDON NACHO AND JOSE!)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
Instead of prefacing your post with an "IMHO" howabout you change your opinion from "humble" to "reasonably well informed" by actually reading about energy consumption in the United States. The suggestions in your post are beyond ludicrous.

- (blink) Folks must have been like this, when Edison was inventing the light bulb. :)

Comparing the invention of the lightbulb with your suggestion that the US switch all consumption to solar power is ridiculous. There is no physical reason why a light bulb cannot be invented. There is a very simple reason why the United States cannot switch to solar power. The reason is that we use too much energy. You need to learn more about the energy content of sunglight before you make silly suggestions such as being able to use solar to replace hydrocarbons.

If you could find it in your brain to stop ranting for a moment in knee-jerk noodlehood, take a look at this link, and tell me the idea is absurd:

http://www.hybrid-vehicles.net/venturi-astrolab.htm

A full-functional, (plug in) solar car which goes 70, with a backup motor. EXACTLY what I'm talking about. They're starting production.


I said nothing about that vehicle being absurd. I specifically criticized YOU for suggesting that the United States has the potential to switch to a 100% solar economy. It does not. Short of covering several states with solar panels and spending a giant fraction of GDP on storage facilities for batteries for all these solar panels, it is not possible. It would certainly bankrupt the country. Even if you were King of the US for a day and forced everyone to ride around in toy cars with solar panels like the Venturi, how are you going to smelt aluminum or make steel with solar power?

Unfortunately it doesn't have a roof, nor doors, and it costs $100,000, but it's a (very good) start. To make matters worse, it was created by the French. Who are going to ask us to surrender in this market if we're not alert.

It is not a good start. It is about the very limit of what one can hope to ever do with solar power. Once again, you've neglected to notice the main problem: sunlight doesn't have enough power in it to propel a real vehicle without solar panels that would cover about half an acre in New Mexico at noon. The Venturi vehicle is a ONE person 616 pound toy for unthinking greenies to buy to make them feel better about themselves.

Then this one (happily being built by Americans):

http://www.teslamotors.com/index.php?js_enabled=0

200+ miles on a charge, can plug into the wall outlet in your garage, and do 0-60 in FOUR SECONDS.

Oh, already being sold - they'll start delivery early next year.


Did you forget to notice that the Tesla is not covered in solar panels? I have nothing against electric cars at all. But you are going to have to come to grips with the fact that the electricity being generated to power all Teslas will come from coal fired electric plants and from natural gas powered electric plants and from nuclear powered electric plants. NONE of it will come from solar power. Have you thought so little about your idea that you imagine electic powered cars' electricity comes from thin air?

Now. Let's discuss why the next Billionaire will be the first person who gets a truly affordable electric car to market.

You seem to have switched your main theme from trying to get the entire US economy to switch to solar to advocating for electric cars. You need to remember where electricity comes from. HINT: from hydrocarbons.

Game over for gas engines. And FREEDOM from needing oil from people like Hugo Chavez.

So some oil companies will need to refocus. Fast.

If they're smart, they're investing in all this technology right now, to get in front of this massive wave.

I think your career in the energy industry has gotten off on the wrong foot. Electric cars INCREASE the need for hydrocarbons and would require scores if not hundreds of new coal fired power plants. Venezuela provides a relatively small amount of the world's energy, and most of their crude is vey heavy and sour. Sadly, though, there will be NO freedom from energy from foreign companies. Every country in the world imports energy or energy products from somewhere (including Saudi Arabia).

None of the oil companies need to refocus. They are doing a great job bring us oil and gas and other hydrocarbons, of which we have hudreds of years of supplies left at current consumption rates.

So cheer up! Oil and natural gas are a tremendously low cost source of energy. We are VERY lucky to have them, and we don't need to revert back to Middle Ages-esque energy consumption based on what we could get out of solar power.

Now go ask your Mom to borrow the keys to her SUV, and be glad that you don't live in some country that generates all its energy from solar power. And pick me up a Big Gulp while you are out....

jas3
7 posted on 03/18/2007 6:03:29 PM PDT by jas3
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To: jas3

Comparing the invention of the lightbulb with your suggestion that the US switch all consumption to solar power is ridiculous.

-

Well. Actually I was not suggesting it was likely or practical to convert America to all solar power. Though it is free. Every bit we can harness, is money we're not sending to terrorist-sponsoring regimes or South American communists.

It's not necessary for America to go 100% solar. What would benefit our nation and our children, and their children, would be for America to become SELF-SUFFICIENT in energy, immediately.

We're paying people, who hate us, and want to destroy our nation.

That's insane.

Like that old adage about the two guys running away from the bear -- and one observes "I don't need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you"...

We just need to find ways to replace the energy we import.

After that, why worry? It's then about American jobs.

If 10% of the cars on the road, were to become electric cars of one sort or another, tomorrow, how much oil would that leave on the world market -- and how much would the price for that oil DROP as a result?

It's a win-win.

And it just, could, save the American auto industry.

If they wake up.

(tapping on computer screen loudly)

"HELLO?" "Detroit?" (visualizing Gordon Gecko on the beach, gazing out from the Long Island shore at the morning fog over the Atlantic in his bathrobe in the movie Wall Street)

"GET TO WORK..."

:)


8 posted on 03/18/2007 8:40:06 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network (Mr. President: PARDON NACHO AND JOSE!)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
I hesitate to reply to you, since I doubt you will bother to actually read anything about US energy production or consumption. However you can't state: "Electric cars, especially when solar power is effective for providing the charging, will be a true (massive) win-win for American industry. We can become almost immediately 100% energy independent almost overnight." in one post and "Actually I was not suggesting it was likely or practical to convert America to all solar power." in another and claim to be consistent.

Very little of our energy dollars go to "terrorist-sponsoring regimes or South American communists." Most of our energy is produced here in the form of coal, natural gas, and via nuclear. We do import about 12-15 million barrels of oil per day. Less than 10% of our oil comes from Venezuela. Maybe 20% comes from countries that you are not clever enough to distinguish from "terrorist-sponsoring regimes".

It would not benefit the United State, our children or our grandchildren for us to become SELF-SUFFICIENT in energy. It benefits all of us when we trade with our neighbors and they trade with us. Your same arguments can be made about any other product or service, in which case why trade with any foreign country at all? Lets localize your argument to states and make each state self-sufficient. We can take your argument to the household level and outlaw trade entirely. Then we would all be self-sufficient (and far poorer).

Trade is what makes us wealthy. That includes trade in energy.

Chavez aside, "WE" are not paying people who hate us and want to destroy our nation. Most of our foreign oil comes from Canada. Our oil purchases are NOT insane, although your bear analogy is.

There is NO way to economically replace the energy we import. The only way to do it would be to double the price for petroleum products which would be immensely destructive the the United States and to American jobs.

If 10% of the cars on the road were to become electric cars then then we would need massive new electic plants to generate energy for them. That would raise the price of coal, nuclear, and gas generated electricity. We use oil because it is CHEAP and ABUNDANT. Switching to electric cars is not a win-win. It is a win-lose.

And switching to electric cars would be of no help whatsoever to the American car industry. I have no clue what you could possibly mean by that comment or your odd Gordon Gecko reference.

jas3
9 posted on 03/18/2007 9:15:01 PM PDT by jas3
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To: jas3

Sorry to cherry pick a comment to respond to, but it summarizes effectively why we do not agree:

"Trade is what makes us wealthy. That includes trade in energy."

Actually, we were once wealthy.

We are now broke. In debt, in fact. Trillions of dollars in debt.

Because of unbalanced trade.

If you have a nice, paid for home you can be considered wealthy.

If you take out a second on that nice paid for home, and spend it on trinkets, you are no longer wealthy.

You are now broke.

America cannot sustain indefinately losing our manufacturing capability and spending more than we have.

We must stop.

An immediate improvement, would be to re-invigorate the US auto industry, by aggressively producing the most efficient, most competetive and most innovative new auto technology.

And stop sending our money to terrorist sponsoring regimes.

You seem to believe otherwise.

It's a FreeCountry.


10 posted on 03/18/2007 9:23:24 PM PDT by Cringing Negativism Network (Mr. President: PARDON NACHO AND JOSE!)
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To: Cringing Negativism Network
Sorry to cherry pick a comment to respond to, but it summarizes effectively why we do not agree:

"Trade is what makes us wealthy. That includes trade in energy."

No...the reason we do not agree is because you have no knowledge of energy production or consumption, and as I now see from you latest post, no knowledge of economics.

Actually, we were once wealthy.

We are now broke. In debt, in fact. Trillions of dollars in debt.


Are you unable to distinguish assets from debt? Net worth = Assets - Debt. Having trillions of dollars in debt means nothing without an analysis of the asset side of the equation. Fortunately we have far more assets than debt in the United States, and household net worth is at an all time high. Therefore, "we" are not broke, although you may be. And certainly we all will be if your cockamamie notions on trade were ever adopted.

Because of unbalanced trade.

As an exercise, figure out the trade balance for Manhattan, and then tell me whether you think Manhattan is wealthy or not.

If you have a nice, paid for home you can be considered wealthy.

This is a curious notion of "wealth." Everybody else in the world would consider wealth to be assets less debt. Home ownership is a significant part of the wealth of some people, but not all. Note that thanks to the tax deduction on mortgage interest, it makes economic sense for most wealthy people to have debt on their home first, since this is their lowest cost of capital.

If you take out a second on that nice paid for home, and spend it on trinkets, you are no longer wealthy.

You are now broke.

America cannot sustain indefinately losing our manufacturing capability and spending more than we have.

Your comment about 2nd mortgages is irrelevant to the broader discussion. Most people don't have 2nd mortgages initiated to buy trinkets. And your definition of "broke" is still incorrect.

America is not losing manufacturing capacity. In fact, manufacturing as a percentage of GDP is higher than it has been in 30 years. Employment in manufacturing is falling, which is a good thing. At one time 90% of the population was involved in farming. Now that less than 10% is, that labor is freed up to be more productive elsewhere in the economy. You shouldn't shed a tear that 80% of the people who would have been farming in 1776 are now not farmers. And likewise you need not lose sleep as manufacturing produces more product with fewer employees.

We must stop.

Nope...we are doing great just the way we are.

An immediate improvement, would be to re-invigorate the US auto industry, by aggressively producing the most efficient, most competetive and most innovative new auto technology.

Yes, well that would be an improvement. But with the idiots running the big 3 and their legacy labor contracts we both know that's not going to happen. If Carl Icahn can't force management to change, then all 3 are likely to go Chapter 11 to shed their legacy costs (which is a good thing). And in reality, the auto manufacturers are such a small part of the GDP of the United States that they could disappear without economic significant, excepting some regional effects in poorly run and heavily unionized cities like Detroit.

And stop sending our money to terrorist sponsoring regimes.

How much money and to which regimes are we "sending" money?

You seem to believe otherwise.

It's a FreeCountry.


It would be materially less free with the authoritarian and anti-free proposals that you favor. We are wealthy because we trade. If you want to discuss trade embargoes against specific nations, feel free to state specifically which countries you want to embargo and why. Otherwise, you need to spend a lot more time studying economics and learning how and why trade increases wealth for both parties.

jas3

p.s. I'm glad to see you have abandoned your weird argument that the US should switch to solar power.
11 posted on 03/19/2007 6:12:36 AM PDT by jas3
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To: george76

Oh, Good grief. If the price of oil stays up the alternatives to fossils fuels will thrive. It was the oil bust in the 80s that took them down then. Away with all this theology!


12 posted on 03/19/2007 9:49:26 AM PDT by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
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