Saturday, October 6, 2007

How Green is the Valley ?

If Mayor Chuck Reed is to have his way, very green indeed. He has very ambitious plans to make Silicon Valley, or at least San Jose, greener than it already is. His plan covers it all - cut energy use in half while the population grows by 20% in 15 years, add 25000 new clean tech jobs, add 100, 000 new trees and 60 new trails, convert all city waste to energy by 2022, have 100 million gallons of waste water be recycled and have the entire city fleet of vehicles be run by alternative energy. If he pulls off 25% of his ambitious vision, he will have set up a model for much of the rest of the world to follow and establish himself as a politican of national reckoning. It also makes excellent business sense. It will draw many manufacturing intensive clean tech jobs to Silicon Valley and further drive its growth. So, I, for one, hope he pulls it off. That would make the Valley a world leader in a sustainable future. Companies like Nanosolar already have plans for manufacturing in San Jose and this could drive the growth of a clean tech ecosystem. This would be karmic compensation for the early semiconductor fabs which arguably generated not so clean side effects. :-)

Meanwhile, Ed Gunther of the Gunther Portfolio forwarded me this interesting tidbit on the economics of solar technology in developing countries. Solar panels in public installations are being stolen. Readers will find this amusing, and something most solar experts had not counted on in solar technology expansion. But, that's the way technology is sometimes viewed by the poorer segments in a developing nation. Arguably, India is no longer a developing nation. But, there is significant poverty still in the country. I remember hearing stories of people stealing copper strips used in lightning conductors on tall public buildings, when I was a student. But, copper has gained so much in value that these thefts occur even in Silicon Valley these days :-) Clearly, there is even more incentive to cost reduce solar technology. :-)

Ed also sent me this interesting link from MIT on how students can prepare themselves for a career in solar energy. To me this is rather uncharacteristic of MIT :-) MIT rarely handheld students, lest they not learn how to blaze trails. But, the Laboratory for Photovoltaic Research has chosen acceleration of the adoption of PV as its mission, and I say more power to them :-) I would love to see MIT be the leader in yet another "hot" technology :-)


No comments:


© 2007, 2008 Madan Venugopal    All rights reserved.