“You won’t have the clean technology without a total, fascist lockdown. I’ve said it from the beginning, and I’m saying it now. The technology to build the techno green utopia has been around for easily thirty years. Sorry folks, that’s not how it went, and that’s not how it’s going to go. The primacy of new killing technologies and technologies of political control go hand in hand with the clean energy systems.
The Blackwater USA mercenaries and the Global Warming fart tax crowd are on the same team, whether they realize it or not.”
I think Al and Colin realize it.
But can you feel the clean, green love yet?
Forget the technology. What kind of political and economic system are the limousine liberals and the four star generals creating here? (Rhetorical question.)
It’s lunchtime on Sand Hill Road, and Al Gore wants answers. “How does the efficiency decline with latitude?” he asks. “What size community could be served by one plant? If a manufacturer like GE wanted to make smaller turbines, would the technology support a smaller scale?”
We’re sitting in the giant conference room at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, where the partners hold their weekly meetings. After loading his plate with Chinese food from a buffet, Gore is firing detailed questions at the management team of Ausra, a Kleiner-backed company in Palo Alto whose technology uses mirrors the width of a flatbed truck that focus the sun’s energy to generate electricity.
Once Gore is satisfied — sunlight lags north of South Dakota, an Ausra plant can serve 120,000 homes, and yes, smaller turbines will work fine — he shifts from inquisitor to fixer. He was chatting with California Senator Barbara Boxer “on the way over,” he reports, and he isn’t optimistic that Congress will extend the tax credits Ausra has been relying on. On the upside, he offers on the spot to organize a summit highlighting the company’s solar thermal technology to educate lawmakers and other policymakers on its potential. He also thinks a powwow at General Electric would be beneficial, even though Ausra is a tiny customer.
“I know Immelt well,” he says, referring to GE’s CEO. “We ought to set up a meeting.”
Gore appears utterly comfortable with this drill, but in fact he’s engaging in some on-the-job training. The recovering politician, environmental activist, and Nobel laureate is adding another title to his rÃ©sumÃ©: venture capitalist. After “a conversation that’s gone on for a year and a half,” according to Gore, he has decided to join his old pal John Doerr as an active, hands-on partner at Kleiner Perkins, Silicon Valley’s preeminent venture firm.
The move is more than another Colin Powell moment (the former Secretary of State signed on as a Kleiner “strategic limited partner” two years ago and has hardly been heard from since). Gore is joining the firm as Kleiner makes a risky move beyond information technology and health-care investing into the fast-growing and increasingly competitive arena of “clean technology.”
Related: EEstor: More Clues Emerge
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