Environment Forum

Steve Jurvetson on clean tech innovation that will change the world

(This article by Felicity Carus first appeared on Clean Energy Connection and has been edited for length. Any opinions expressed are her own.)

What venture capitalists really think and what they say aren’t always the same thing.

Steve Jurvetson, from Draper Fisher Jurvetson, last week gave his overview of disruptive innovation in clean tech at the Always On Going Green conference in San Francisco.

The man who famously invested $300,000 for a 30 percent stake in Hotmail and made $250 million for his VC firm when Microsoft bought the company two years later says there is an “explosion of possibilities” of synthetic genetics in clean tech.

In August, one of Jurvetson’s portfolio companies, Genomatica, filed an S-1 form with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The company uses computerized biotechnology modeling to design high-volume chemicals from renewable sources such as cellulosic biomass.

Who hates Al Gore?

Whenever Al Gore raises the bull’s-eye of global warming, darts start to fly — aimed at him.

Google the phrase “I hate Al Gore” and 42,000 entries appear, including a Facebook page called “Telling Al Gore he’s full of crap” that has 17,000 fans.

Critics of the former vice president and Nobel laureate point to his multiple homes and use of a private jet as hard-fast hypocrisy, and his investments in clean technology as a conflict of interest. Add to that the specter of an old misquote from a CNN interview that won’t go away, about “inventing the Internet.”

Factbox: Renewable energy targets around the world

(Reuters) – Several countries have introduced subsidies or incentives to encourage clean energy production, such as feed-in tariffs or green certificates. Listed below are countries which have established renewable energy targets from 2013 to 2020.


Source: Reuters, Renewable Energy Policy network (www.ren21.net)
(1) See individual EU member state targets here


(2) The Japan target may be subject to change as the Japanese government
plans to submit Climate Change Law to parliament in coming months
(3) In pending climate change legislation, the United States has proposed a
target of 15 pct by 2020. Twenty-nine out of 50 U.S. states have set targets for
minimum amounts of electricity generation from renewable sources, while another
five states have voluntary goals.
(Compiled by Nina Chestney; Editing by Sara Ledwith)

from Summit Notebook:

Global warming: Economic opportunity or not?

Stephan Dolezalek, Managing Director of VantagePoint Venture Partners and Tom Werner, Chief Executive of solar power company SunPower, sat down at Reuters' Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco and shared their views on global warming, investment and cleantech.

Dolezalek sees industrialization in developing countries as a more predictable impetus for investment than global warming.

Werner sees global warming as a stimulus for new business and a tool for adaptation.