John Doerr: Lack of energy R&D is almost criminal

solar thermal array

John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins super VC, told a group of students, investors and entrepreneurs at the Berkeley Energy Symposium on Friday that “it’s almost criminal that we’re not investing more in energy R&D.” And Doerr, who’s firm has already put almost $300 million into clean technologies, is advocating several green policies to help fight this “crime”.

Doerr sees huge potential in solar thermal and cellulosic biofuels. In case you’re wondering he is one of the big dogs of venture capitol and played a major role in the funding of Google, Amazon, Netscape, Sun Microsystems and many others. Al Gore recently became a partner and the firm is moving strongly into cleantech and renewable energy.

He’s right. The comatose response of the US, particularly at the governmental level, is virtually criminal. Imagine what we could accomplish with a government that led the way rather than fighting against needed change.

  • Eminence Grise

    Doerr is dead on. Look at this in Popular Mechanics:

    This year could bring the Silicon Valley-funded renaissance in solar power we’ve all been waiting for. First, San Jose-based Nanosolar began delivering its affordable thin-film solar coating, followed by a construction boom in American solar thermal power plants—essentially the reflective equivalent of geothermal power. Now, for the first time, the solar cell revolution is arriving by droplet.

    Konarka Technologies, the Massachusetts-based company we first recognized with a 2005 Breakthrough Award for its affordable Power Plastic solar film, said this week that it has successfully manufactured those thin solar cells using an inkjet printer. In addition to decreasing production costs because it relies on existing inkjet technology, the printable Power Plastic cells can be applied to a range of small-scale, highly variable power opportunities, from indoor sensors to small RFID installations.

    With frickin’ *inkjet* technology. Just imagine how far along we’d be if we had invested some of that Iraq war money into R&D…

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