Big Rat Jumps Sinking Green Energy Ship (sort of)

The January edition of Scientific American contains an eye-popping interview with Vinod Khosla.  Khosla was a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.  He is a leading venture capitalist in “green” energies and an advisor to Scientific American. Khosla is starting to change his tune about the economic viability of “green” energy.

Khosla on government subsidies for green energy:
Anything that does not achieve unsubsidized market-competition within seven years of starting to scale is not worth subsidizing. … There are no subsidies in India. There are no subsidies for solar in Chile or Africa or most of the world.
On solar and wind power:
Solar and wind form a very narrow definition of clean tech, probably the least interesting segment.
On environmentalists and energy:
I believe most environmentalists most of the time are getting in the way of answers that make economic sense. Economic gravity always wins. That’s why I have the mantra about unsubsidized market competitiveness.
SA’s Mark Fishetti, who conducted the interview, becomes more and more demanding that Khosla toss the environmentalists and statists some kind, any kind, of bone:
But what about legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions? A tax on fossil fuels, a cap-and-trade system or renewable energy standards requiring that a percentage of a state or nation’s energy supply come from renewables are politically stuck. [Translation: Please tell our readers more socialism is the answer.]
Khosla obliges -- to an extent. But by this stage of the interview, he has made it clear that the market, not Obama, will determine the fate of “green energy.”  On that point, Khosla is surely correct.


The January edition of Scientific American contains an eye-popping interview with Vinod Khosla.  Khosla was a co-founder of Sun Microsystems.  He is a leading venture capitalist in “green” energies and an advisor to Scientific American. Khosla is starting to change his tune about the economic viability of “green” energy.

Khosla on government subsidies for green energy:
Anything that does not achieve unsubsidized market-competition within seven years of starting to scale is not worth subsidizing. … There are no subsidies in India. There are no subsidies for solar in Chile or Africa or most of the world.
On solar and wind power:
Solar and wind form a very narrow definition of clean tech, probably the least interesting segment.
On environmentalists and energy:
I believe most environmentalists most of the time are getting in the way of answers that make economic sense. Economic gravity always wins. That’s why I have the mantra about unsubsidized market competitiveness.
SA’s Mark Fishetti, who conducted the interview, becomes more and more demanding that Khosla toss the environmentalists and statists some kind, any kind, of bone:
But what about legislation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions? A tax on fossil fuels, a cap-and-trade system or renewable energy standards requiring that a percentage of a state or nation’s energy supply come from renewables are politically stuck. [Translation: Please tell our readers more socialism is the answer.]
Khosla obliges -- to an extent. But by this stage of the interview, he has made it clear that the market, not Obama, will determine the fate of “green energy.”  On that point, Khosla is surely correct.