Cleantech needs sustainable business cases, not hype

1 12 2009

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Enjoy an Oprah moment with Vinod Khosla, perennial venture developer and powerhouse venture capitalist. While he wants the environmentally sustainable outcomes alternative energy and transportation systems are offering, he is very disappointed with the current status of business cases and the direction cleantech hype is currently pointing.

The first element of sustainability is always financial sustainability. If you can provide new offerings for power generation, transmission, storage, and consumption with a LOWER final cost to your users, you’ve got a winning strategy. The world’s most successful solar companies aren’t the ones that draw the most power out of sunlight (i.e. highest conversation efficiency ratio) but those that provide stable power at the most competitive cost per kilowatt. Those firms that provide project financing in order to sell power services to customers have further enabled the technology adoption by eliminating capital expenses from solar utility customers.

As in most cases, those that create and capture real value will be the ones to transform the world.

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