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Martenson Interviews Khosla Ventures: The US Is Massively Underfunding The Innovations Critical To Its Energy Future

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Khosla Ventures: The US is Massively Underfunding the Innovations Critical to Its Energy Future

"The age of cheap oil is over," agrees Andrew Chung, partner at Khosla Ventures, arguably the most knowledgeable venture capital firm spearheading next-generation energy projects.

While perhaps more optimistic than Chris on the odds that the world can transition off fossil energy sources without experiencing some duration of lower overall energy output, Andrew is clear to point out that large and near-term capital investments are essential for such a smooth transition.

The size and scale of the investments necessary to evolve and replace our existing (and increasingly outdated) power infrastructure are enormous, and too big for private companies alone to address the issue on an acceptable timeline.

And as of now, the U.S. is decidedly NOT treating the matter with the urgency it deserves. Of the total U.S. budget, the Department of Energy receives only 8%; and only 0.1% of the total budget is directed to the alternative technologies we hope will one day replace our fossil-based sources. By contrast, China alone is dedicating $800 billion over the next ten years to help support the development and commercialization of alternative technologies and cleantech.

In the coming decades, the efficient and effective use of energy is going to be a real determinant between winners and loser across the global landscape. Affordable, sustainable energy will increasingly determine the prosperity of world powers -- and America is at a growing relative disadvantage until it starts talking honestly with itself about the un-sustainability of its current energy policies and prioritizing its resources (both monetary and human) accordingly.

Despite these concerns, Andrew and Khosla have a lot of optimism for the impact new technological innovations will have in addressing the energy challenge -- a number of which are discussed in this interview. And they encourage companies, capital and workers to enter the sector, as demand for expertise and solutions will be high for a very long time. And the future price of NOT investing ourselves wholeheartedly at this time is unacceptably dear.

On the End of the Age of "Cheap Oil"

I think that the scarcity of oil -- hitting Peak Oil -- and the increasing cost of being able to extract and discover new oil deposits is making it more and more costly. And importantly, the demand for energy and oil is going up dramatically with a lot of the emerging countries like China and India just exploding in demand as the countries develop into more urban economies.


If you look at the demand for electricity and energy in China, that has gone up tenfold over a period of about 15-20 years. India has gone up about fivefold, whereas the U.S. has only doubled in that period of time. So you can see that with these emerging economies being very aggressive in their domestic growth, the demand for oil and the demand for electricity is just going to go up dramatically and that is going to make the cost of oil at a minimum, stable, if not going up over time.

On the Obsolescence of the U.S. Energy Grid

We are looking at an energy infrastructure that is 40-50 years old. If you have ever been to an actual power plant or looked at the inside of a transformer substation, it is a spaghetti of wires that was designed in an era where we don’t have the computing capability and the circuitry and so forth that we have today.


So a lot of the initiatives right now are really around making the software on the backside much more up to date. The sensing capability, like the smart grid and smart meters that you would have at your home, and then adding additional infrastructure like storage capability that did not exist in a cost-effective form 10 or 15 years ago -- or even, frankly, two years ago.  So, there is a lot of opportunity over time to upgrade that infrastructure in a massive way to make more efficient use of the energy generation that we have right now. 

On the New Energy Arms Race

It is going to be difficult for the market to solve the problem alone without government intervention and capital dollars, just because of the massive scale of the problem. If you look at manufacturing, whether it is solar panels, or producing biofuel, manufacturing LEDs -- these are all large manufacturing businesses that if you want to even scratch the surface on the amount of energy that we need, fuel that we need, it requires substantial, substantial investments.


When you are talking about the scales that you need to reach in order to make a real difference, again sources of capital can really help here  I think the government needs to really help support and foster these types of technologies so that promising entrepreneurs and promising startups don’t get lost in a private capital-unfriendly environment today. China, as you mentioned, is really trying to lead the way here, in a very aggressive way.They already are number one today in terms of the amount of capital that they are committing to alternative energy sources, electricity production, and fuels production. In their most recent announcement on their next five-year plan, they are essentially pledging $80 billion every year for the next ten years to help support the development and commercialization of alternative technologies and cleantech.  That is a massive number: $800 billion that is being committed over a period of a decade to do this.


If you look back at what we were doing in Washington just several years ago with the stimulus package, there was a lot of excitement and strain and stress about putting several tens of $billions into the stimulus package for various types of renewable energy, energy infrastructure improvement. Today, some of that money has gone out, some of it may not get fully deployed.  Then, with a lot of negativity in the press today, a lot of the folks in Washington are actually pulling back a bit in terms of their support of the clean technology ecosystem. So, if you think about us putting the brakes on a relatively modest level of investment in clean technology and you compare that to what China is doing and other countries are doing (there are a number of countries in Europe, for example, that are investing a significant amount per capita in clean technology), it just puts us at a disadvantage relative to the long-term viability of scaling up alternative technologies in the U.S.

Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Andrew Chung of Khosla Ventures (runtime 44m:45s).

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Sun, 04/08/2012 - 07:03 | 2325425 i-dog
i-dog's picture

LOL ... au contraire, dimwit ... It is you who have just publicly demonstrated your own failure to comprehend sarcasm! Project much?

Should I have provided a "/strawman-spotted" tag just for your benefit!?!

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:03 | 2324731 Uncle Remus
Uncle Remus's picture

Actually, it is filled with a nice rich self-replenishing hydrocarbon nougat.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:51 | 2324575 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Tony.... c'mon, you don't really think that do you?

You might want to explain the Suess Effect to me.... I am all ears...

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:34 | 2324663 Matt
Matt's picture

"there are no fossil fuels"

So .. abiotic coal then?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:42 | 2325159 smiler03
smiler03's picture

Of course, it oozes up from the Earth's core ;O)

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:18 | 2324497 ebworthen
ebworthen's picture

No doubt people in the Department of Energy and General Electric are negotiiating with China on contracts to rebuild our energy grid.  GE won't supply parts or do the work, just take a consulting fee and some kickbacks.

J.P. Morgan and the FED will provide financing, and illegal immigrants will provide the labor.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:01 | 2325090 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Don't you dare speak that way about GE. The socialist 0bot goons will stomp your face in if you question any of their lucrative no-bid government contracts.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:15 | 2324500 ThisIsBob
ThisIsBob's picture

When (if) China gets it right we can just steal their tech.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:50 | 2324568 hamurobby
hamurobby's picture

How about the three gorges dam? Why we dont do more public works like that is beyond me. Are they not a good, relatively clean energy source or do they not produce enough roi? Yes it would displace alot of people, just think how rich, er, how we could fix the banks if they could unload their shadow inventory for the greater good to all the displaced people from massive dam building projects. Might even put a few hundred people to work and cost a little less than a trillion dollars per dam.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:01 | 2325091 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

The EPA wo't allow it. If the EPA was around in the 1930's, the Hoover Dam would have never been built.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:34 | 2325144 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

All of the large rivers in the Western US have been dammed already multiple times.  One of the key reasons why development spurred in the West and SW US after WW2.  We could build more dams but it is simply not just the EPA that becomes an issue.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:16 | 2324503 Spaceman Spiff
Spaceman Spiff's picture

No more upfront money to this b.s.


Set some goals for these alternative energy companies and back end the reward.    99 tax free years to the entity or the entity that buys out the creator that comes up with a fuel alternative that can be easily be replenished and has the abilty to fuel small and large vehicles.   Science-fy that up a bit, and you will have these major companies falling over themselves to help out.


billions upfront just aren't cutting it for us or in actually producing solution. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:03 | 2325092 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture


How will 0bozo be able to enrich his political cronies without an $800 billion slush fund to hand out as he pleases?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:20 | 2324509 jplotinus
jplotinus's picture

Wait. An enormous amount of invective has been directed at Obama on Solyndra and all manner of other alternate initiatives. Now Tyler posts up a piece calling attention to the need for more emphasis and $ for alternate energy?

That is rich, coming from ZH...


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:25 | 2324523 Death and Gravity
Death and Gravity's picture

No. It is necessary, considering how much mindless, purely emotional crap is poured into the comments track here at ZH as soon as the subject of energy and its natural associate, global climate, is mentioned.

It's like the otherwise (imo) healthy distrust of government economic activity/intervention morphs into a cultist ragefest, not unlike Dr. Jekyll -> Mr. Hyde.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:06 | 2325095 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

We shouldn't have any distrust of government. After all, look at what they've done for us lately. We have a $16 trillion national debt, high unemployment, high food and energy prices and a police state grabbing crotches at the airport soon coming to a highway near you.

In Government You Trust. You are so mindful and wise.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 07:18 | 2325866 Death and Gravity
Death and Gravity's picture

"In Government You Trust. You are so mindful and wise."

I'm curious how you managed to read that out of what I wrote.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:10 | 2325105 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

Most here aren't useful idiots who demand that billions more be handed over to political cronies for their ponzi schemes.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:21 | 2324511 Uncle Keith
Uncle Keith's picture

Has anyone else noticed the orchestrated denial of nuclear's place in Clean/Alt/Green conversation, hosted by MSM?

Thorium, kids... Thorium. It aint my idea - I'm just a bar tender. It was the USAEC's conclusion going back to Nineteen-Hundred-and-Fifty-Three. And, a pesky Nobel Laureate who bothered to publish the same conclusion in April of 2009. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:35 | 2324539 jekyll island
jekyll island's picture

Thorium is unnecessary, the problem is the design of the nuclear reactors.  A redesign of the core is all that is needed.  Gravity wells that allow the fuel to flow away from critical mass with a catastrophic failure will be much safer than current units.  

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:35 | 2324541 SpykerSpeed
SpykerSpeed's picture

Exactly.  Thorium is being denied fair coverage in the mainstream press because it destroys the elite "green energy" meme.  Elites need the Western middle classes to be frightened into believing we're on the verge of massive energy scarcity and a reduced quality of living.  But if most people are aware of the potential of Thorium nuclear power, they will ask tough questions:  "Why isn't the government allowing this to happen?  Why are we focusing on windmills and solar panels?"

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:12 | 2324621 hamurobby
hamurobby's picture

 After reading about it on wikipedia, I believe we are not nearly as critical on energy supplies as we are led to believe, otherwise this would be on the table right now. Thanks for the information!

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:50 | 2324700 Blindweb
Blindweb's picture

Thorium, and all other nuclear energy technology has a very low net energy.  That is why after 50 years we still depend on oil

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:08 | 2325099 sun tzu
sun tzu's picture

You haven't a clue. Oil and electricity are not the same thing. The reason cars run on petroleum and not electric power is due to battery limitations. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:35 | 2325146 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

I saw a Bill Gates talk on a nuclear energy process that actually uses the spent fuel as nuclear feedstock.   Sounded interesting but don't know how close it is to practicality.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:42 | 2324679 Urban Roman
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Thorium's no good, it doesn't breed Plutonium for their bomb projects.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:35 | 2325148 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

I'm sure that was the initial resistance. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:59 | 2325186 smiler03
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"Thorium reactors do not eliminate problems: The bottom line is this. Thorium reactors still produce high-level radioactive waste, they still pose problems and opportunities for the proliferation of nuclear weapons, they still pose catastrophic accident scenarios as potential targets for terrorist or military attack, for example."

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:38 | 2325153 MeBizarro
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That changed after Fukushima and with good reason.  I agree nuclear probably still has to be in the mix because globally there is no way we can replace its current electrical production power over time.  

Besides the obvious diasaster of potential fallout, the US still hasn't worked out the issue of nuclear waste disposal and transport and even small-scale nuclear would need some kind of gov't loan-backing because no way private capital would touch it without it given all of the risks.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:24 | 2325484 Milestones
Milestones's picture

I basically agree with your posts. This one no. Fukushima may well be the tipping point for nuclear An earthquake of 7.0 or higher may well bring down the house of cards as the article in todays ZH brought up in Fuky. The size of the risk is such that I look at it as sheer folly to continue with this technology.

We are so caught up with the here and now we we ignore what Nevil Shute brought up in his book of 1957--On the Beach. The potential possibility of extinction of the life on this planet is sitting there in front of us, yet potentially mankind is standing on the Beach, blissfully thinking --"it can't happen here and now.

Yes it can.           Milestones


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:23 | 2324518 Misean
Misean's picture

Yes!!!!!!! MORE SOLYANDRA'S and other government pick the winner by flinging debt around to political cronies! That'll work GREAT!

Yes, the great fascist "INFRASTRUCTURE" needs massive fascist "INVESTMENT" by robbing the citizenry and giving it to "MEGA-GLOBO-ENERGY-AND-DEFENSE-CONTRACTOR-CORPORATION" to solve the "CHALLENGES"!

What horse shit.

Get the motha-f---ing government out of the way and all kinds of people and engineers will do really interesting stuff that NO bureauRAT and corporate-lawyer-lobbyist could ever dream of.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:27 | 2324528 Death and Gravity
Death and Gravity's picture

"What horse shit."

The horse shit here is the inflation in the use of the word 'fascist', which you participate in, by comparing redistributionism (regardless of future utility) with fascism.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:01 | 2324598 Catullus
Catullus's picture

Whose future "utility"?  The corporate interests lobbying for more "investments"?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:16 | 2324865 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

Correct, it seems amazing at the current moment that people still don't get it - the government is the enemy - they can be trusted to steal, or pay off theior friends with every single dollar they can bleed out of anyone they can force to pay them taxation.


Stop paying the mafia its protection money - taxation without representation is slavery  -the US is a slave farm.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:29 | 2324532 Gully Foyle
Gully Foyle's picture


I read that the S&L crisis of the 80's was actually due to CIA slush/black op funding.

It makes me wonder if Solyandra and those other big budget Green projects aren't doing the same thing. If the company makes a profit money still gets funneled and no one complains and cash flows. If the company goes under then CIA still gets it's funding but the money trail is hidden.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:31 | 2324980 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

i don't think the CIA is the big cheese regards funnelling funny money to bankrupt projects... the big one is the entire US Govt which is one mega slush fund for parasites 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:29 | 2324530 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

Wasn't Khosla a big booster of corn ethanol a few years ago?

Despite an existing study showing that you burn more BTUs in natural gas, diesel, and / or coal to make it than you get out in ethanol?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:30 | 2324531 jekyll island
jekyll island's picture

Here, I found the problem:  "Of the total U.S. budget, the Department of Energy receives only 8%".      

It should be 0%.  What does the DOE really do, anyway?  It was created to control the price of oil, right?  How's that working? Oh, I know, Pelosi said it is the evil speculators, my bad.  We could close Dept of Education (redundant), Bureau of Indian Affairs (shameless porkbarrel) and cut the Dept of Agriculture budget in half (a starting point), that would free up some money for investment in energy infrastructure, wouldn't it?  Only problem would be the government would still be involved.  

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:51 | 2324574 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

There was an article recently that said they will be funneling the renewable energy spending through the Pentagon/Defense department.

There already is some money going through Defense to energy research.  But I guess they found that neither the Dems nor the Repubs will object to spending if its in the "Defense" department.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:54 | 2324581 digalert
digalert's picture

The USSA has armed forces in 150 countries, and we're starting wars today. We've got SS and medicare, pensions, obligatory government grift. The highest taxes in the world and now the UN wants a global tax. We've got the highest prison population per capita. DHS/TSA with sexual assault hands in your pants nude X-rays coming to malls and ballparks near you. 30,000 drones to fly over the homeland, for safety of course. 350 million people and TSA orders 450 million hollow point bullets (these are the hand in pants bag checkers) to help save the people from the evil al CIAeda. Where are we gonna get the money?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:12 | 2325206 smiler03
smiler03's picture

What does the DOE do anyway?

I have no interest whatsoever in the DOE but for the sake of completeness...

Mission Statement (which Dept of Bullshit ever came up with the concept of a "mission statement"?)

"The mission of the Energy Department is to ensure America’s security and prosperity by addressing its energy, environmental and nuclear challenges through transformative science and technology solutions.".

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:30 | 2324535 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

The problem is: throwing more money at those people the gov't deems "experts" on energy is not going to solve the problem.

Just like any other gov't funded projects, we are now misallocating capital to solar projects in the desert (that need water to operate), subsidies to corn farmers for ethanol (on land that may better be used to produce food), funding going to friends of lobbyists to fund "new ventures" that write paychecks to the administrators and come up with no new solutions.

Everyone knows you can get funding if you come up with a business with the "green" or "sustainable" or "alternative" in the name.  Its a joke.

Solutions to the energy problem will come from some genius in a basement who doesn't have a friend of a friend in Washington.  Will this kid get funding to build his project or will he get overlooked while billions go out to politicians and their friends?


Secondly, it can't be assumed that the country that doesn't spend on the R&D doesn't get any benefits.  Solutions invented in one country will be adopted by other nations.  Intellectual capital crosses borders. 

Money can currently be spent on boondoggle alternative energy scams (face it, the majority of these companies don't plan on coming up with anything useful, they plan on milking the gov't for all its worth), OR we can direct some money toward infrastructure that reduces dependency on oil/electric here and now.  The simple fact is, if energy is going to be a problem, Americans are going to have to give up the 4 hours a day they spend in their cars.  I'd rather see a train put in that I can use to get to work, than see an administrator of "clean energy tech inc" get $200K a year to not do a damned thing.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:46 | 2324564 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

Exhibit 1:

Did anyone ask where the water was going to come from BEFORE they spent billiions to build solar plants?  Or did they take both public and private funding and write themselves big checks, hoping that nobody could deny them the water once the plant was built?  When you are an administrator spending someone else's money, who cares?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:05 | 2324606 Lednbrass
Lednbrass's picture

Nice catch, thats an aspect of solar plants I wasnt aware of.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:25 | 2324640 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

I was made aware of solar's use of water through another Martenson podcast, interview on water with Keller (nov 2011).  

They also discussed the heavy use of water by other energy production.  And I was astounded by the cost of transporting water.  It isn't like transporting oil.  And it takes oil to tranport the water.

Alternatively, it takes water to get alternative forms of energy.  Catch 22.

And since both oil and water will likely become more costly to obtain, at the same time, we cannot count on one to help us obtain the other.

Uh oh......

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:48 | 2324691 Matt
Matt's picture

I don't see why the solar plants need to consume water; it sounds like cooling your car by having the radiator open to let the hot water out, and then just pouring new water in (or like steam trains of old).

As mentioned further in the article, other plants have had to adapt to using less water from similar disputes (likely, they just made the cooling systems closed-loop).

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:34 | 2324806 AustriAnnie
AustriAnnie's picture

I imagine it comes to the cost of obtaining the power.  If water conservation reduces the cost-benefit of the power produced?

I'm not a solar expert.  So I was surprised to find that water is so important to solar production.  

"Some of the most widely used and economical solar-energy technologies require significant amounts of water, as much as or more than the coal, natural-gas or nuclear power plants the solar projects are meant to replace."

There are apparently differences in photovoltaic and thermal, but both use water.  We can talk about ways to reduce their usage, which types use less, etc, but the fact is that this water would have been used for something else. 

The other problem seems to be that locating solar on sites with water supply means those solar plants are replacing agriculture.  So, as ethanol subsidies encouraged farmers to switch crops, I wonder if in the Southwest especially, we might see conversion from farms to solar.   The point is, water and the land otherwise used for growing food, may be re-directed through government incentives for "renewable energy" grants.  

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:02 | 2325023 memyselfiu
memyselfiu's picture

a workaround (albeit a more expensive one) would be to provide horizontal loops to dissipate the heat from a closed loop cooling system

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:46 | 2325523 Milestones
Milestones's picture

Interesting, interesting post--got me to thinking. I've truck farmed (garden produce) before. If some farms (small--40-60 acres) do go this route as suggested, a farmer could still raise 10 acres of produce for today and put in a 2-3 acre greenhouse and use the solar power to heat for the winter growing and sell offf the excess power or heat a pig or cow barn.

whether we like it or not solar is going to be the answer long term. Where the hell does everyone thing oil, gas coal etc come from but ultimately the sun. 

Thanks for the post.                         Milestones

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 12:42 | 2326088 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

small localized production and passive solar is indeed the best way forward. growing year round removes the energy need to ship from brazil and brings the production output per acre up exponentially. Passive solar designed homes with hay bale or other thick wall construction is another key. It's cheap, it works, and it's low tech   

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:31 | 2324799 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"Solutions to the energy problem will come from some genius in a basement who doesn't have a friend of a friend in Washington."

Perhaps so, but perhaps not.  Remind me from whose basement the Manhattan Project came?  Whether or not some guy in a basement came up with the building block ideas, it took public funding and collectivism to make it happen.  And that is not some detail that can simply be ignored as it is by every single ideologue who preaches "government, get out of my way."

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:59 | 2325187 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

I agree with some basic tenets of your post but this is 100% dead wrong regarding energy breakthroughs:

"Solutions to the energy problem will come from some genius in a basement who doesn't have a friend of a friend in Washington."

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:34 | 2324537 Mr. Lucky
Mr. Lucky's picture

If not for the fake start ups that bilked the tax payers;  lined the pockets of cronies; and enhanced the coffers of re-election campaigns all is well.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:38 | 2324544 loveyajimbo
loveyajimbo's picture

First, hang the lobbyists and end all subsidies to big oil.  Then MANDATE that 50% of all service stations add LNG capability by 2015, ditto mandate to all car manufacturers that 25% of all cars offered must run on LNG, 75% of all trucks.  End the ethanol money pit. Approve 20 new nuke facilities/year.  Subsidies for make-sense wind farms.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:51 | 2324557 Bob
Bob's picture

But, but--government "investment" is bad, right?  A misnomer, even.

If this were legitimate, then the energy giants like Exxon and BP would be all over it, right?

Sounds just like a buncha commies to invest $800B into "alternative energy."  What could it possibly get them but a thousand Solyndras?

Shit, even if we were as stupid as the commies, where would we get the money?  WE'RE BROKE!!!


Sounds like some damn environmental fascist has an axe to grind against the military-industrial complex.  This ain't hard to grok. 

Sure, take the money from our $800B per year DEFENSE budget, right? 

Then how we gonna police the world to make it safe for corporate capitalism?

Think about it. 

PS Two words: Al Gore.

It must be bad.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:48 | 2324692 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture

You must be a Communist. Take money out of the defense budget? No way.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:33 | 2325237 smiler03
smiler03's picture

"If this were legitimate, then the energy giants like Exxon and BP would be all over it, right?"

"BP is investing in biofuels and wind businesses that we believe can play significant roles in meeting the energy needs of the future

When we launched our Alternative Energy business in 2005, we made a commitment to spend $8 billion over ten years on alternative energy. With $6.6 billion already invested (as at 31 December 2011), we are set to achieve this ahead of time"


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:27 | 2324693 Urban Roman
Urban Roman's picture


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:47 | 2324566 Catullus
Catullus's picture

VC has bought this "underinvestment in the grid" meme for 10 years now. 

The smart meters have been an unmitigated disaster and regulators have lucked out that no one is calling them out for basically subsidzing GE and Siemens in this garbage.  Fact is, there's been no meaningful impact to the customer on the retail end for residential users with the smart meters.  A few utilites have been not hiring meter readers to replace their increasingly aging workforces and there's been talk of Time-Of-Use pricing, but electricity is just not that expensive for a resi customer to shift load.  Your A/C is your biggest energy user and it's worth the $.15-$.25/Hour to have a comfortable dwelling environment. 

The green tech space is in a massive bubble right now.  The utility-level solar and wind developments make little sense given their intermittent nature and risks to transmission.  Everyone is moving down the supply chain to the retail level to develop demand and load response for C&I customers and distributed generation. This distributed gen only pays off because of the low interest rates, the government subsidies, and certain capacity markets AND it is still doesn't make sense with the 20 year PPAs. 

The smart meter is the failure of central planning.  When I think of how cool they could have made the devices (integration with other home systems), I get pissed off that all GE and Siemens had to do was lobby a few PUCs to get a PO for their manufactured, incompatiable garbage.  The utilities didn't give a shit because their profits are guarenteed.  The banks don't care because they know the bonds will be repaid via government fiat. 

Industrial demand in the US has been declining for years.  Your jobs went to China.  They aint coming back.  Electric power consumption is being driven by the consumer acquiring more garbage in their homes.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 17:05 | 2325026 KK Tipton
KK Tipton's picture

"The smart meter is the failure of central planning."


Here is the real deal. Decentralized personal smart grid:


Why the current "smart grid" stuff is fail:

How much $$$ the big boys are wasting:

He moved to Costa Rica to set up his production facilities.




Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:50 | 2324573 Vince Clortho
Vince Clortho's picture

The garage or Basement solution may not work with the quest for alternative energies.  Not saying its impossible but think about the scale of the problem.  The cheap, easily accessible energy sources have likely all been discovered (animal, fossil fuels, wind, hydroelectric, geo thermal).

The possible alternatives being considered include fusion, more manageable materials for nuclear, hydrogen fuel cells, etc.  The development and testing for these requires the use of materials and equipment that alot of folks don't have around the house.

Its obvious that putting a group(s) of talented researchers together, adequately staffed and funded would be an excellent idea.

The trick is to take the Politics and Cronyism out of it.  The coming years will reveal if we are capable of doing that.

Just one more item:  The MSM is doing the best job they can to convince everyone that there is no energy crisis, and all that is needed  is just let Big Oil keep drilling.  So a good portion of the population thinks there is no issue here.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:04 | 2324602 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

Here's a super cool one: Make methane out of CO2 and water.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:39 | 2324674 ucb
ucb's picture

and you get energy from where?

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 21:52 | 2327026 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

It's a conversion mechanism, silly.  Natural gas can run combined cycle power plants at 60+% efficiency--more if you use the waste heat for combined heat and power--which is the best thermal/baseload power setup we have.  Think of it as storage.  So you can take the solar or wind, electrolyze water for hydrogen and convert if to methane using an exothermic reaction.  Now you can run the whole system on renewables. 

I still like biomass gasification better, as well as pumped storage hydro in places, but a portfolio is a portfolio.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:13 | 2324861 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

Hmm - I think home generation of alcohol is a good idea - so long as you have something that burns it, some vehicles might need tinkering - so might switch over.


I also think cold fusion really works - I think it was discredited because it gets in the way of the 'master plan' - where oil is used as a policial tool.  I think if you use cold fusion you will be a terrorist - maybe Iran is actually building cold fusion plants, wouldn't surprise me much.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:42 | 2325245 smiler03
smiler03's picture

If Cold Fusion really worked then it would be in use in millions of places, and it isn't.


Sun, 04/08/2012 - 03:22 | 2325731 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

No it wouldn't - if you understand the nature of the Fed, then you might agree that the US govt is controlled - if you understand and agree with that, then you might start understanding that in fact everything else is also controlled - patent offices, and also what is 'approved' science.

The impact on geoploitics of an energy source that basically only has a capital cost would destroy the main monopolistic power of those who control the world through the control of oil - despite all the talk of alternative energy, anything that actually works will be demonized, attacked, destroyed - this is the reality for many real alternatives, and there are many things we could use right now to replace oil entirely.


The problem is - you will never hear about them on the MSM - why?  Because the power brokers first acquisistion was media and public opinion - without control of the media, they have little power.  They also control scientific 'authorities' - because most people simply won't understand whether a complex scientific idea will work or not, all they need to do is control peer review - then they just say 'thats rubbish' and who are we to argue with supposedly the top scientists?  Scientists who are part of the club, just like the MSM talking heads.



Sun, 04/08/2012 - 03:41 | 2325749 Colonial Intent
Colonial Intent's picture


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:54 | 2325327 MSimon
MSimon's picture

Fusors and Polywell Fusion.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 12:58 | 2324585 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

This is what happens when you take fiat and turn it into something real:

Check out the price of electricity as a a function of time of day in Germany, you know  that Northern overcast and cloudy place that is now a solar powerhouse:

Almost a two fold reduction in price at peak demand....

Compared to removing mountain tops in W.Va and otherwise destroying the planet, the above is clearly "winnning"...

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:14 | 2324761 Matt
Matt's picture

home users with up to 10 Kw installs were getting a feed-in tarrif worth 10 times the going rate of electricity in 2011; 570 euros per MwH, compared to a market price of around 57 euros per MwH. Those tarrifs are rapidly being reduced. Would be interesting to see if anyone has paid off their solar systems yet, or if they will before the tarrifs completely disappear. If not, the utilities sure took advantage of them.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:29 | 2324797 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You miss the point.... here is a fistfull of fiatcos..... here is a bunch of installed solar panels... which would you rather have?

Another way of putting it.... what was the total impact on the German budget for getting ~30 GW of installed PV solar capacity?

I have read that the feed-in tariff resulted in a net 3% increase in power bills and paybacks are still in the 6-8 year range...Even if is 10-12 years, BFD...

It ain't my fault the the discount rate used currently used to evaluate the financial viability of a project is so far removed from reality by not counting the true cost.....

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:41 | 2325278 smiler03
smiler03's picture

Flakmeister: I call complete bullshit shenanigans on your claims.

The article you quote is from "German photovoltaics magazine Photon ".  They aren't likely to be neutral in this matter. 

Here are some quotes from an article in Der Spiegel, January 18th this year. Sources quoted are somewhat less biased than "Photon" Magazine. 

"As is so often the case in winter, all solar panels more or less stopped generating electricity at the same time. To avert power shortages, Germany currently has to import large amounts of electricity generated at nuclear power plants in France and the Czech Republic. To offset the temporary loss of solar power, grid operator Tennet resorted to an emergency backup plan, powering up an old oil-fired plant in the Austrian city of Graz.

Solar farm operators and homeowners with solar panels on their roofs collected more than €8 billion ($10.2 billion) in subsidies in 2011, but the electricity they generated made up only about 3 percent of the total power supply, and that at unpredictable times.

The distribution networks are not designed to allow tens of thousands of solar panel owners to switch at will between drawing electricity from the grid and feeding power into it. Because there are almost no storage options, the excess energy has to be destroyed at substantial cost. German consumers already complain about having to pay the second-highest electricity prices in Europe.

Until now, Merkel had consistently touted the environmental sector's "opportunities for exports, development, technology and jobs." But now even members of her own staff are calling it a massive money pit.

Under Germany's Renewable Energy Law, each new system qualifies for 20 years of subsidies. A mountain of future payment obligations is beginning to take shape in front of consumers' eyes.

Solar lobbyists like to dazzle the public with impressive figures on the capability of solar energy. For example, they say that all installed systems together could generate a nominal output of more than 20 gigawatts, or twice as much energy as is currently being produced by the remaining German nuclear power plants.

But this is pure theory. The solar energy systems can only operate at this peak capacity when optimally exposed to the sun's rays (1,000 watts per square meter), at an optimum angle (48.2 degrees) and at the ideal solar module temperature (25 degrees Celsius, or 77 degrees Fahrenheit) -- in other words, under conditions that hardly ever exist outside a laboratory.

In fact, all German solar energy systems combined produce less electricity than two nuclear power plants. And even that number is sugarcoated, because solar energy in a relatively cloudy country like Germany has to be backed up with reserve power plants. This leads to a costly, and basically unnecessary, dual structure. Figures indicating the peak performance of solar energy systems are easily misunderstood, a report by the German Physical Society says. "Essentially," the report concludes, "solar energy cannot replace any additional power plants."

"From the standpoint of the climate, every solar system is a bad investment," says Joachim Weimann, an environmental economist in the eastern German city of Magdeburg. Hans-Werner Sinn of the Munich-based Ifo Institute for Economic Research calls solar energy a "waste of money at the expense of climate protection.""


Re-Evaluating Germany's Blind Faith in the Sun,1518,809439,00.html



Sun, 04/08/2012 - 02:05 | 2325669 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

You are a fool...

Here you are are ZeroHedge and you look at me and say straight up...

"I turned some paper fiatcos into a real asset and I fucked up..."

If so, you clearly do not get it.....

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 11:04 | 2326098 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

The sun is the largest, cleanest, longest lasting energy source around and the basis of all life and other energy sources. It's not the dumbest idea to figure out how to harness it. All the other life forms do. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:01 | 2324597 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture



Hot gas clean up for coal and biomass gasification.

There.  That's the one, massively underfunded, piece of energy R&D we need.  Now all you market geniuses go and do it, OK?

PS you'll need about $250 million for a scaled up demo plant.  I'm sure it won't be difficult to finance.  Oh, and you'll need up to ten of those.  And, right, one more thing--some of them won't work.

K, get back to us on that.  You can find some starter info in International Energy Agency Task 33.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:22 | 2324782 Matt
Matt's picture

The big players in the energy business are not doing it; therefore, it probably is not profitable. I mean, who better to determine what to invest in; a successful company or a bunch of acedemics?

Your solution, then, is that we should take some money from everyone and give it to a group of people, to try and see if this works?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:09 | 2324852 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

We know oil is going to run out - may as well take the pain now and get prepared before the price curve starts looking like a hockey stick - the best policy would be to start taxing all energy imports - when it becomes profitable, people do it.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:54 | 2325012 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

I was making fun of the facile glibness of the 'market solution' tribe.

Thank you for demonstrating.  Now enjoy the electricity system the market didn't build for you.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:32 | 2324656 Zone1
Zone1's picture

It is pretty natural that Khosla is trying to get more DOE spending on biofuels.  More DOE spending means more companies like Range Biofuels.  Here is the current model: DOE funds these companies, and the money is used to build a Rube Goldberg plant that will not ever work.  Then Khosla makes a billion on the 1 out of 1000 companies that actually works out.  The tax payer will have had to taken 100% losses on all the other 999 companies, and will not see a dime of return from that 1 company.  I'd love to trade binary options with someone else's money too.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:36 | 2324672 ucb
ucb's picture

Khosla shifted from  espousing free market to suckig at the tit if the government as his ventures in energy went bust

for technical analysis see

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:45 | 2324685 FrankIvy
FrankIvy's picture

All over it, but not on it.


There is ZERO chance that there is not a constant decline in energy available per capita, globally for the next 20-50 years.  ZERO. 


Oh wait.  Unless the population declines dramatically.  So not ZERO.


On the other hand, it is entirely possible that per capita energy available in a region/country may hold steady or increase - that's just zero sum game logic there.


Think about those things and the reason for most geopolitical events is pretty obvious.


By the way - don't think for a second that there are "alternatives" to oil or "future energies."  There aren't.  PV and Wind and Biodiesel are all heavily dependent on oil.

Look at it this way.  When diesel is 20 bucks a gallon, if you can get it, then how do you dig the silicon out of the ground to make PV panels?  Electric back hoes?  Steam back hoes? 


Per capita energy will decline, there is no way to stop it, and there is no "solution," if by "solution" you mean something that allows us to keep the status quo going a few decades more.


Loved the oil age.  Truly a blessing to have lived through it.  I'll miss it.  Mostly.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:44 | 2325163 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Ding ding.  You eliminate a few billion people and yeah per capita energy doesn't fail.  Who wants to volunteer though?

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 11:08 | 2326103 DaveyJones
DaveyJones's picture

the oil age was a blessing and a curse.

It produced what any parent of a spoiled child produces 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 13:51 | 2324705 batterycharged
batterycharged's picture

We need to focus on 3 things like a laser beam. Health care, transportation and education.

We need a man-on-the-moon effort to make the insane health care and education industries more competitive. Education costs are a joke as are health care.

Transportation needs to adapt to energy peak like the article suggests.

We're such reactive society, we only address issues when it's too late.

We really do need to address these issues now.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:01 | 2324843 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

The best policy is to eliminate any government 'help' in everything, especially health care, and education. 


Cut the government to the bone, cut it to say 10% of the current 'Defense' budget, and some spending on police and emergency services - the govt should honor contracts to people who have paid into social security, and cut the rest.  I would also fire all the legal services - judges and so on and privatize the legal system, the US should repeal all laws and just use a jury system - where arguments are not about law, but about justice, and let juries decide guilt, innocence and sentencing.  The US should also release all non violent drug offenders, abolish their drug war and war on terror nonsense, and stop invading everyone.

Then you can cut taxes to zero across the board - except add a 15% tax on imported manufactured goods.


Then for the coup de grace, add an incremental tax on gas that increases every year, show the 10yr plan for tax increases at the start - then give that money to a venture capital companys with conditions; they eat any capital loss, but they can keep anything they earn if it is lent into the alternative energy sector.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:51 | 2325166 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Entire federal budget is then $80-$100B?  Not even enough to main basic infrastructure.  Ugh. 


Sun, 04/08/2012 - 03:14 | 2325727 Amagnonx
Amagnonx's picture

Just privatise everything, and basically eliminate govt - it has no business building roads - let private organizations build and maintain roads, energy, water etc.  Why do people think govt is going to do a better job.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 03:05 | 2327349 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Here's a crazy thought.

Infrastructure can pay for itself because it's a) necessary and b) people using it make money

Here's an even crazier thought: with all the market trading we do sub-second in timing you'd think just maybe we could fucking move funds in & out of BUDGETS using the same transaction-systems so we wouldn't ever need to elect a fraud-fuck liar to delegate that job FOR us to cronies who show up with bribe envelopes.

You know, total insanity here.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 03:03 | 2327347 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

USA gov't is hopelessly inept & corrupt but various others, Netherlands, Iceland, Canada, seem to do government health-care with really good results including cost-per-patient (which is of course a big deal to all the citizens).

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 02:57 | 2327342 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Can't imagine why anyone junked your comment. Without health care people will work less or not at all. With expensive health care people will fail to have it & therefore not work - in addition to any economic problems already pushing employment way down. Without affordable transportation there will not be affordable FOOD or means of getting to work. Goods need shipping: trucks wo'nt cut it, planes are a waste. Ships & trains are the way to go for max-haulage per input kW or BTU.

Again, you're right on education. When loans can't be forgiven by bankruptcy, when frauds run "colleges" and drive up prices, when banks have incentives to give massive loans, when quality of education keeps dropping so that one is not competitive with skills upon graduation, the entire system needs to be sunk & restarted.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 14:29 | 2324792 GernB
GernB's picture

How can you possibly make a coherent case that we are underfunding anything whithout discounting the massive private sector investment and funding already occurring. what is really meant is "i'm too gutless to risk my own funds on speculative ventures that probably will never bear fruit, but i am more than willing to enslave others to the priotites i feel are important by confiscating there money and spending it on what the New York Times and NBC have lied and brainwashed me into thinking are more important han human freedom."

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:10 | 2324847 earleflorida
earleflorida's picture

'Thorium [no meltdowns & no melt ups - Period] Nukes' ___ ie. for all the mysterious shutdowns of certain Nuke's in America

'Natural [blue-gold] Gas', [LNG/ CNG] Conversions

'Superconductivity' Power [ main lines to transmission using Cloud Computing] Lines  ___ AMSC - 2x > 3x buy low/ sell high

*Great interview Chris as always :-))

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:45 | 2324920 mholzman
mholzman's picture

Absolutely agree that the grid is strained. It's too old.


Much of the problem, I think, is that the nimbys (not-in-my-backyard) and concerned organizations controlling costs, "concerned" politicians for their voters, old boundary restrictions, regulations between territories .... time bomb. It will probably remain a time bomb because it's assumed that delivery is met on plug-in as though the plug was a natural part of our existence. It's assumed; it's expected. As it goes currently, without the grid, there isn't even any drinking water.


If you look at the charts, and consider them even semi-believable, the demand for electricity is exponential. If you think it is not believable, think about what your great/grandparents need was and compare it to your own. That should make it obvious. Lucky for them, many had their own wells.


What I disagree with here is not that that dollars are not needed to be spent on energy. We need a fix fast with what is currently reliable technology. That will take a decade to replace. In addition, research into new technologies is crucial. We are beyond scientists' playtime.


Everyone will forget about the banks, the currency, the US printing press, ... their health insurance .... as the lights begin to dim.


Cyber-terrorists/cyber-pirates are becoming increasingly aware of this too.

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 02:49 | 2327336 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

All we need are DC and AC wireless grids, not to mention the TESLA power-broadcast technology he never fully finished (but it did work, Wycliffe). That grid will last much longer.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 15:50 | 2324924 css1971
css1971's picture

Corn ethanol...

Enough said...

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:17 | 2324958 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

"The age of cheap oil is over.."

Rubbish ...oil is monopolised by global giants... get rid of Govt regulation of the entire sector, from planning permissions to all the rediculous licensing (Govt strangling) and let the free market (small/medium enterprises) wipe-out the big dinosaurs 

"..large and near-term capital investments are essential for such a smooth transition."

More rubbish is the huge capital projects that are the problem by Govt design to favour the Big Boys... the free market would build smaller and faster and more flexible units ...100's of refineries and power stations versus all these sloathful mega-projects

The problem is Big ...Big Govt and Big Oil ...the solution is the free market and lots of smaller competitors

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:50 | 2325172 MeBizarro
MeBizarro's picture

Who is go to come up with the huge amounts of capital needed especially for oil extraction in increasing extreme environments including deeper off-shore and arctic environments?

It isn't going to be dinky wildcat drillers.


Sun, 04/08/2012 - 16:32 | 2326568 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

nobody needs to go to "extreme enviroments" to find oil... it's under your feet ..America has probably the largest reserves of oil on the globe, but the US Govt through hundreds of restrictions won't let anybody drill it

the "dinky wildcat drillers" would have a field day if the US Govt (aka Oil majors) would get outta the way

Mon, 04/09/2012 - 02:47 | 2327335 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

Rubbish on YOU.

The real problem is that it's getting closer to a full barrel of oil's energy to extract the next barrel of oil. Doesn't matter WHO has what ownership, capitalization, market-share, that's raw physics telling you that yer fukt.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:16 | 2324965 Zola
Zola's picture

Correction : Khosla needs more money from the government for his startups that he invested in and which are going BK !!! Please he really needs your hard earned money. Be patriotic come on !! Its for your own good !!! VC model explained- see that was simple !

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 16:22 | 2324973 Zero Govt
Zero Govt's picture

your correction is absolutely correct

it also comes to something when T Boon Pickens idea of an energy project is to go around the US Govt lobbying for gas powered transport subsidies instead of competing with his own investment direct to the market

i'm not saying T.Boon is wrong to do so, i'm saying it's a sign of the times in energy a businessman has to go cap in hand for a public-private project that without exception is always an economic failure

Get the US Govt out of the market completely

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:35 | 2325147 gitta4437
gitta4437's picture

Khosla Ventures has enormous self-interest in seeing the government dump money into alternative energy.  Plus, Vinod Khosla is a huge Obama supporter.  Take everything their firm says with a grain of salt, or we will have more Solyndras on our hands.  Khosla made Netscape work without government assistance (if memory serves me correctly), so he should be able to make these new ventures work too, or else they shouldn't exist.  And the FED has dumped so much "liquidity" into the market, that if these alt energy cos.  can't get the funding through the private market, then it tells you something about their viability to begin with.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 18:40 | 2325155 Common_Cents22
Common_Cents22's picture

obummer admin is announcing a new round of "clean" energy loan guarantees.  No shit.   they are doing another round.    But, they say, they will do a real good due diligence check this time!  haha.....

Does the "clean" in clean energy mean clean taxpayers wallets out?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 19:25 | 2325226 mogul rider
mogul rider's picture

If each of us here agreed to boil and eat one communist -we could save the world.

And also have a wonderful shrunken head keychain keepsake to show our grandkids

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:22 | 2325430 Jim in MN
Jim in MN's picture

But it might also contribute to the Obesity Epidemic....

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:32 | 2325301 MSimon
MSimon's picture

Uh. The Chinese are going to buy our electricity? Thus leading to shortages or higher prices? Well I suppose he might know more about oil. But maybe not.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:33 | 2325302 dieyoung
dieyoung's picture

The state cannot fund anything. The state has no money of its own and can only use the money generated from tax revenues or the money simply printed out of thin air to finance its spending. The state moves the market in the direction it wants while the people have less voting power with each of their dollars. I didn't listen to this interview yet, although I like Martenson a lot, but I already disagree with the premise. Plus it seems like a way for Khosla to make more money off tax payers.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:49 | 2325315 Tom Green Swedish
Tom Green Swedish's picture

The USA would have to cut Military spending to fund alternative energy funding thus weakening the oil companies and the military's control of regions with oil.  Increased spending of anything other than the military is not going to happen.  Put simply they would rather kill those with energy than try and invent an alternative.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 20:53 | 2325326 MSimon
MSimon's picture

You have heard of the Navy's Polywell Fusion program. Haven't you?

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:40 | 2325509 Tom Green Swedish
Tom Green Swedish's picture

Ever hear of sarcasm.  I know the Navy wants to use Coal to Oil, Solazyme, Cold Fusion and Polywell.

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 21:20 | 2325351 grunk
grunk's picture


Having said that, maybe Tyler you could do some articles on promising projects.

Lots of smart people read this blog.

You know Beck is reading it, Limbaugh refers to it.

Break out of the JPM/Goldman/Fed thing. They're holding us hostage. 

Let's look at innovative projects and who will finance them. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 22:23 | 2325429 Stuck on Zero
Stuck on Zero's picture

Admit it guys.  A good government can accomplish miracles. 

Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:02 | 2325462 Monk
Monk's picture

That's because these alternative sources of energy can't replace oil. No amount of money added to the system will improve energy returns or add petrochemicals.


Sat, 04/07/2012 - 23:23 | 2325480 El Hosel
El Hosel's picture

" The age of cheap oil is over"..... Yeah and we have $Natgas up the wazoo for $2, and falling. Zero energy policy Bitchez.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 02:16 | 2325681 SoundMoney45
SoundMoney45's picture

Khosla Ventures is very highly respected in Silicon Valley.  If you have interest in alternative energy, it is likely worth a few minutes to peruse their portfolio companies.

The VC business model is that one company in ten returns 20X the investment or more, and Khosla appears to be looking some distance down the road.  Keep in mind that half the companies will likely be losers.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 12:14 | 2326201 Zola
Zola's picture

To all those who say big projects are impossible, keep in mind the "death wish project" or "legacy project" for major capitalists. just like Bill Gates founded the Bill & Melinda foundation, doing probably more work and more good than the government funded programs (also on a more sustainable footing through an endowment and proper capital planning) , it is perfectly conceivable that someone having acquired a lot of wealth in his life as he nears death will want to create a major project for posterity... Also keep in mind that because one thing is not possible to build in one go, it can also be built up from smaller, more solid pieces in greater numbers... Just because something does not exist now doesnt mean it cannot exist... you must envision how each future would look like...

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 14:33 | 2326423 Zodiac
Zodiac's picture

Fine, let the Chinese spend $800 billion to develop some new technology; we can then use their technology, reverse engineer it, and steal it from the fukers, just like they have been doing for more than the last 25 years.

Sun, 04/08/2012 - 22:17 | 2327072 MeelionDollerBogus
MeelionDollerBogus's picture

I liked the interview but I don't like the "public money" aspect being pushed here. Bottom line is public money means public risk. Public risk due to losses & environmental damage are NEVER matched with public profits to reduce debts, pay for taxes in lieu of us PERSONALLY paying them, or to provide the same services taxes pay for (e.g. roads).

Until someone addresses how public risk-mismanagement leads to public losses & private profits, we may as well do nothing for at least we aren't then being robbed and/or poisoned or worse. USGS reports, which I'm not yet 100% sure of, suggest even small earth-quakes result from fracking activities. Now that's something to ponder.

Just imagine if public losses from damages from a localized quake are added to public cash losses while profits, if any, are secured to private hands perhaps even with immunity from prosecution for any wrong-doing and/or negligence?

I don't be fuckin' thinking so.

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