Sustainable energy Archive

TechCrunch / Could a Nobel Prize-winning innovation have almost been overlooked by Silicon Valley?

I want to congratulate Shuji Nakamura (pictured above), the founder of Khosla Ventures portfolio company Soraa, and his fellow collaborators who were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics yesterday. They join an esteemed group of Nobel laureates that includes Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Niels Bohr, all of whom have changed the course of human history. Read More

Open letter to 60 Minutes and CBS

On January 5, 2014, CBS’ 60 Minutes aired a segment titled, “The Cleantech Crash” that grossly misrepresented the state of the sustainable energy industry. At Khosla Ventures, we are focused on finding real solutions for energy independence, rather than just pontificating. Read More

The Sacramento Bee / Investment needed in new low-carbon fuel

Oil companies would have you believe that the goals of the fuel standard are either impossible or obscenely expensive. Since the LCFS was first passed in 2008, the oil industry has spent millions of dollars trying to convince legislators and the public that low-carbon alternatives don't exist or that they can't be produced in large enough volumes to meaningfully reduce demand for traditional fuels or that corn ethanol is the only biofuel technology around. This is one of the biggest myths perpetrated by oil companies. Read More

Forbes / The big green opportunity: Transforming clean tech into “main tech”

Clean tech as we see it continues to be a large opportunity – one that we believe will create significant impact and positive returns – despite what the pundits are saying. Clean tech as we see it continues to be a large opportunity – one that we believe will create significant impact and positive returns – despite what the pundits are saying. Read More

Where will biofuels and biomass feedstocks come from?

When it comes to biofuels we have a few choices and options – we can do it poorly, with short- run approaches with no potential to scale, poor trajectory, and adverse environmental impact, or we can do it right – with sustainable, long-term solutions that can meet our biofuel needs and our environmental needs. We do need strong regulation to ensure land use abuses do not happen. Read More

Black swan thesis of energy transformation

The looming twin challenges of climate change and energy production are too big to be tackled by known solutions and time-­‐honored traditions. Incremental remedies are fine for incremental problems, but they are insufficient for monumental, potentially life-­‐altering threats, which need to be approached with a disruptive mindset. There are 5 billion people coveting the energy-­‐rich lifestyles currently enjoyed by 500 million people, mostly in the developed world. Read More

Accelerating climate change or climate progress?

Climate change is a substantial risk, and the risk of global inaction is real. In the long-­‐term, for rapidly developing nations, carbon intensity targets are more feasible than absolute carbon caps. In the near-­‐term, technology-­‐driven carbon reduction capacity building is more important than absolute carbon reductions. Read More

greentechmedia / What matters in biofuels and where are we?

Given the likely continued dominance of the internal combustion engine, cellulosic and sugar-derived fuels offer one of the lowest risk advances to quickly and affordably achieve low-carbon transportation. Furthermore, substituting higher value bio-chemicals for petro-chemicals, will promote enhanced sustainability across a wealth of industries and offer a critical step along the path to weaning the world off of oil. There also are measurable economic and national security benefits to drastically reducing the reliance on global oil. Read More

Scientific American / In search of the radical solution

In a one-on-one dialogue, conducted before an audience of energy entrepreneurs and financiers at the recent GoingGreen conference in San Francisco, Scientific American’s Mark Fischetti asked Khosla to assess with his venture capitalist’s eye, which new energy innovations are most likely to succeed and why. Edited excerpts of the conversation can be found here, in addition to the full podcast and transcription. Read More

greentechmedia / Corn ethanol: Time to move on

We are approaching the expiration of tax subsidies for corn ethanol. Established in 2004, the initial purpose of the subsidy was to help nurture a nascent biofuels industry, help reduce America’s oil dependence, and serve as a stepping stone to cellulosic biofuels. However, the time has now come for us to stop subsidizing corn ethanol and let it compete as a fuel on its own economic and environmental merits. Read More

greentechmedia / Building carbon-reduction capacity

Let's first think through the effects of a utility-only carbon cap like the one currently being discussed in Washington, D.C. In order to comply, utilities will pursue small incremental changes in efficiency and emissions. For example, a utility can achieve virtually all of the carbon reduction goals slated for 2020 by closing their oldest coal plants, upgrading a few burners to more efficient ones, repowering some coal plants with natural gas, and increasing the capacity factor of existing or new natural gas plants. Read More

The Washington Post / A simpler path to cutting carbon emissions

If our goal is carbon reduction, a cap-and-trade or carbon-pricing bill, with its likely compromises, would be worse right now than no regulation. Pricing carbon below $40 per ton will not change how industry does business or drive adoption of new technologies. With legislation unlikely to support such prices, uncertainty is better than a low price that disincentivizes the development of technologies that have radically less carbon. Read More

greentechmedia / What really matters in thin film solar startups?

Thin film modules have always promised to disrupt the PV industry landscape because they utilize significantly less material and vastly simpler processing than traditional crystalline silicon panels. Thin films have pushed new cost and scalability frontiers. Unfortunately, many have relatively low efficiencies and yields. Most current thin-film startup efforts do not appear differentiated enough to justify the hundreds of millions invested in them. Read More