Venture Capitalist Warns U.S. Is Lagging Behind On Green Tech Revolution

by | Jan 12, 2009

clean_tech.jpgJohn Doerr, a venture capitalist whose early investments helped launch Google and Amazon, told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that the U.S. is on the verge of being left behind in the green tech revolution, San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which is betting billions on clean energy technologies, told senators that two of the firm’s biggest investments were with foreign firms because U.S. companies did not have the most advanced technology. Of the top 30 companies in solar, wind and advanced batteries, only six are U.S. firms.

Doerr offered five recommendations for Congress to jump-start a green-tech revolution:

1. Congress should invest in a more efficient electric grid that can deliver solar and wind power to
consumers across the country.

2. Put a price on carbon through a cap-and-trade system and a carbon tax that’s refunded to taxpayers. Doerr says this could drive up the cost for coal plants and make low-carbon sources such as wind and solar more competitive.

3. Establish a national renewable energy standard. Doeer says the federal government should follow the example of California and two dozen other states that require utilities to generate more of their power from renewable sources.

4. Provide new incentives for utilities. The state of California, which will spend $3 billion on energy efficiency measures over the next 18 months to give companies incentives to conserve energy.

5. Spend more on federal energy research and loan guarantees to help new technologies get off the ground.

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