U.S. Bringing Up the Rear in Race to Green

“Silicon Valley venture capitalist John Doerr, whose early investments helped launch Google and Amazon, delivered a stark warning to Congress on Wednesday that the United States is on the verge of being left behind in the green tech revolution.

“Doerr, a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which is betting billions on clean energy technologies, told senators that two of his firm’s biggest investments were with foreign firms because U.S. companies did not have the most advanced technology. Of the top 30 companies in solar, wind and advanced batteries, just six are U.S. firms.

“Notice the trend here,” Doerr told members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “We won the space race with the Soviet Union. Now as (New York Times columnist) Tom Friedman says, we’re in an Earth race with other nations to see who can invent the technology so that men and women can stay on Earth. And we are not winning today.”

“But Doerr and other evangelists of green technology believe the environment could change under President-elect Barack Obama, who has pledged to make tackling global warming a top priority. Doerr has been meeting with Obama’s transition team and leaders in Congress to urge them to use the new economic stimulus package to modernize the electric grid and offer new incentives to help clean energy startups get off the ground.”

Coile at SF Gate