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Energy Solutions Coming, Vinod Khosla Tells TiE

Energy Solutions Coming, Khosla Tells TiE

The world’s energy problems are “much worse than we think” and the solutions coming to solve them are “much better than we think,” leading venture capitalist Vinod Khosla told attendees at the annual conference of The Indus Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley May 13.

….Khosla gave the audience a choice of hearing a presentation about entrepreneurship or one on energy. A show of hands tipped the decision toward the latter by about a two-to-one margin.

The Khosla Ventures founder was scathing in his undisguised contempt for forecasters and pundits who use the past to predict the future and have been wrong on everything from the economy to crude oil prices.

One professor, he said, did a rigorous study looking at 80,000 forecasts over 20 years by so-called experts and found that there would be better results produced by dart-throwing monkeys, Khosla said with some glee.

Regarding energy forecasts, Khosla said there are about five billion people who want the “energy-rich lifestyle” enjoyed by 500 million people currently in the world, meaning a “20X more need for everything. We need a lot more than people think.”

He then rattled off about a half dozen companies that are “inventing the future.”

They included KiOR, a renewable energy company converting non-food biomass into a crude oil substitute; EcoMotors, designed to be 15 percent to 50 percent more efficient, lighter and less expensive to make than conventional internal combustion engines; Ciris, which is able to clean coal without taking it out of the ground; and LightSail Energy, which is improving energy storage through a compressed air system at a price point five times cheaper than the current electrical grid.

Panchabuta has earlier mentioned that innovative solutions need to be developed in clean energy in the offgrid and micro-grid applications for electricity and cleaner safer fuels, where these solutions address what is called the “energy poverty” which we believe is more “energy availability” as applicable to India.

Such solutions not only have an economic impact on rural India but also far-reaching social impacts as can be seen by the early success of the solar lantern companies with traditional distribution models. This we believe is the “cleantech rural 1.0 solutions” in India and their early success has provided the platform for developing “cleantech rural 2.0 solutions. ”

This model will be evolved by innovative cleantech-clean energy solutions providers in conjunction with rural and social networks as a financing and distribution partners that not just help but participate in the scalability of such solutions.

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