Will cheap oil affect green innovation?

Will cheap oil affect green innovation?

Summary: At a Churchill Club event in Santa Clara, Calif., Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, calls on the government to require using alternative fuels to protect biofuel innovators from the cyclical nature of the oil market and to make it easier to invest in wind, solar, and geothermal energy.

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Topics: Emerging Tech, Government, Government US

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31 comments
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  • Protection from Competition

    How innovative can the green fuels be if they are protected from competition by having their customers forced to use them?
    johnnylumber
    • Protection ?

      If their ideas are sound then they will come to market and be successful. No other industries are "protected". This is anti-capitalist. I believe that we need to go to alternative fuels but it will take time and it will be a while until they are cost effective for everyone to use.

      I will not be bullied into this though ! The average consumer will make the decision. I am not going to spend $50,000 on a car. I will wait until it becomes more reasonable.

      We need to drill for our own oil here in the US until the day comes where Alternative Fuels can take over. We have enough oil to last us decades.

      Obama though is not very smart and I think he will try to add more taxes to gas prices or attempt to manipulate them. I think he will also do the same with our energy program. This will be another catastrophic decision (like his "stimulus" bill) which will only hinder alternative energies and anger consumers.

      Let's also not panic. More and more information is contradicting the myth of global warming. Let's do this to reduce pollution not because of junk science.
      pizzaman7
      • That's not ture

        So it's ok for the government to make investments in the oil and gas industries of our country, but the alternative energy industry should be left to fend all for itself? Because the government already protects the oil and gas industries when they buy up oil reserves.

        When gas prices go up, people start looking at more efficient and cleaner alternatives. But then the government feeds back some of their oil reserves, which allows the oil and gas prices to fall. Then, after that happens, most people forget all about the more efficient, cleaner alternatives to gas and oil, which allows this whole process to start all over again.

        The way I look at all of this is that people will either learn that clean energy is an investment in everyone's future, and something that everyone should be interested in, or human life as we know it will soon be gone. Because life goes on, it's just whether or not humanity can survive its own stupid mistakes.
        Crash2100
        • Green energy is a lie

          There is no such thing as green energy.

          This is all a marketing ploy to make a small handfull of people rich at the expenice of us all.
          rparker009
          • I think you have this mixed up

            >>This is all a marketing ploy to make a small
            >>handfull of people rich at the expenice of us all.

            I think you have this mixed up, that's what oil does for everyone right now.

            So how is generating energy from the wind or from solar panels on a building not green energy?

            For crying out loud, Iceland sets a darn good example that a clean energy economy can be created. For the past 10 years renewable energy has supplied Iceland with more than 70% of its energy needs.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renewable_energy_in_Iceland
            Crash2100
          • What oil does for me right now

            Is feed me.
            The food I eat, from around the world, was brought to me by ship, plane, train and particularly semi-truck. Much of the food was raised to be edible thanks to fertilizers and pesticides based upon petrochemicals.

            Oil gives me my standard of living, and I'm not giving it up for any human-hating cult.

            If you people were as convinced of our imminent demise due to "globular warming" or "population bomb" or whatever your 2-minute hate of the week is, you'd be going ape trying to develop the technology to get Mars and Venus terraformed. Not only would it give us someplace to go (to get away from you), not only would it provide us a chance to survive any catastrophe (no doubt man-made) that may take place here on Earth, but it will help us learn how climates work without messing around with our own.

            But that takes "hard" technology, the kind you birkenstock wearing wimps hate the most.
            hiraghm@...
          • How stupid are you?

            Why do you think that green innovation has anything to do with taking away your precious luxuries? First of all, they can't take away what's already here because its grandfathered in. It just sets higher standards for what's being made in the future. And where's the harm in asking that things run more efficiently? Efficiency even makes it less costly to run things!

            So why is it better to develop technology at random by sending fools to mars, than investing money directly into the specific technologies here on planet earth?

            Many of the world's most powerful trains are powered by electricity, and electricity can easily be generated using clean technologies like wind, solar, and maybe even with semi-clean technologies like nuclear power. We're just behind in using the newer, cleaner technologies here in the USA, thanks a lot to clueless fools like you.
            Crash2100
        • Those "Oil Reserves" are not "reserves"

          It appears you're referring to the strategic reserves, which are not for controlling market fluctuations, but for keep us supplied in time of emergency, particularly war.

          It is irresponsible to release them to control prices.

          Your religious doctrine that insists upon crippling mankind is what will bring about our doom, not our failure to adopt your Earth-worshipping religion.
          If it's such a big deal, we should start learning how to terraform other planets before messing with our own based on nothing more than the rantings of misanthropic fear-mongers.

          "Clean energy" is an oxymoron, and is not part of MY future. My future is big, noisy, smelly, POWERFUL energy. We have no need for "cleaner" energy.

          And we use oil for a lot more than just burning as fuel.

          What we need is a bold President and Congress, who will really fund NASA into constructing a fleet of easily modifiable, reusable intra-lunar and interplanetary vehicles, particularly those which can be converted into tankers to bring back the exotic petrochemicals from Titan. It's no more outrageous than the spice trade or the regular trade routes between Europe and the Americas in the 16th to 18th centuries.

          It's certainly no more insane than trying to replace the energy produced by petrochemicals with solar panels, windmills or squeezing crystals. The big difference is that it expresses a belief in Man's nature and ingenuity, and offers us a future as more than living like animals on a ball of rock that couldn't care less among other species that couldn't care less.

          Hey, I've a 'green' cure for the economic crisis: hire the unemployed to walk in giant hamster cages to provide "green" electricity.
          hiraghm@...
  • RE: Will cheap oil affect green innovation?

    What cheap oil ?
    JO_ACT
  • RE: Will cheap oil affect green innovation?

    This is mandated speculation. Repeatedly Bill says "if it is possible." This is not a valid basis for a law that reaches into every pocket and threatens our economy and way of life.

    Innovation needs to be market driven, not government driven. Now that E85, which was government mandated, has been shown to cause significant food shortages and to have a much higher energy cost than petroleum, we should have learned to question the wisdom of our legislators.

    While we wait for new technology to be proposed, developed and dispersed, we need energy to live, travel, work, and manufacture goods. To get that, we must continue to drill, refine and utilize our existing petroleum. In addition , we will continue to need coal fired electricity and new atomic power plants.
    Tropel
  • Gawd, I hope so.

    Freedom is letting the market decide.
    Let people vote with their wallets.

    Just because weirdos like Bill Joy are ecophreaks, that doesn't mean they should be allowed to impose their religion on the rest of us.

    Is there anyone left out there with money or in charge of a business who isn't some wild-eyed left-wing Green religious zealot?
    hiraghm@...
    • Closetman listen up.

      have you not paying attention to the current world situation over the last
      10 years?
      We are all in trouble, and most (70% of the American public),wants to find
      a viable intelligient solutions, so we can survive in the ever changing
      world. We just spent a $trillion dollars, thousands of dead and crippled
      American and Iraq's, in Iraq, for oil. And we screwed that up also. They
      don't want to share with us because of the stupid occupation, we
      incurred on them.
      DUH !
      wallis2004
  • If green is so valuable, why does it need a rigged market?

    If green energy needs marketplace protection from competition, then how is it a viable product? Viable products, products that offer a compelling argument for itself can compete and succeed in the marketplace. If green energy requires high gas prices to be economically viable, that implies that it is a high cost alternative. What is the reason that we should willing choose a higher cost, uneconomical alternative? To cushion these technologies, government would have to articially inflate the price of existing energy choices, i.e. higher taxes, fees, cap and trade systems to make the business case for green energy. Thus, there is not a strong economical argument here.

    Another possibility is that green energy provides more value and, as such can command a higher price. But if that value were readily apparent, green would not need article price floors for its competing alternatives? People would see the value and be willing to pay the price premium.

    So why would we make a choice that is neither economical either in lower cost or greater value? Simple. Blind faith in global warming. If global warming were so convincing, people would willingly pay the price premium and price supports would not be necessary. However, this is evidently not the case. The people in charge in Washington would willingly force a uneconomical choice on us based on their blind faith. Rigging the market is hardly capitalistic free markets. We are having the green economy forced upon because the market is certainly not demonstrating the level of fervor that the Obama administration has.
    FinanceBuzz
    • Because the petroleum market IS rigged

      $4+ per gallon being the latest case in point.

      Historically, every time oil prices have risen, alternative energy becomes more cost effective. As soon as noticeable progress starts being made, the oil industry deliberately deflates their prices to kill the alternatives, thereby ensuring their virtual monopoly on energy supply.

      The ONLY way to break their monopoly is to forge ahead with alternate energy. Otherwise, they can cut us off at the knees any time they feel like it.
      Dr_Zinj
  • If green is so valuable, why does it need a rigged market?

    If green energy needs marketplace protection from competition, then how is it a viable product? Viable products, products that offer a compelling argument for itself can compete and succeed in the marketplace. If green energy requires high gas prices to be economically viable, that implies that it is a high cost alternative. What is the reason that we should willing choose a higher cost, uneconomical alternative? To cushion these technologies, government would have to articially inflate the price of existing energy choices, i.e. higher taxes, fees, cap and trade systems to make the business case for green energy. Thus, there is not a strong economical argument here.

    Another possibility is that green energy provides more value and, as such can command a higher price. But if that value were readily apparent, green would not need article price floors for its competing alternatives? People would see the value and be willing to pay the price premium.

    So why would we make a choice that neither economical either in lower cost or greater value? Simple. Blind faith in global warming. If global warming were so convincing, people would willingly pay the price premium and price supports would not be necessary. However, this is evidently not the case. The people in charge in Washington would willingly force a uneconomical choice on us based on their blind faith. Rigging the market is hardly capitalistic free markets. We are having the green economy forced upon because the market is certainly not demonstrating the level of fervor that the Obama administration has.
    FinanceBuzz
    • Warming is real, oil greed is destructive

      Oil companies, large companies, have $billions of YOUR money to fight
      new industries related to greener solutions. They have the money to kill
      them, thus we have to give them a break to develop, florish, and become
      competitive.
      wallis2004
  • Say "No" to government meddling

    Why is it that when we need innovation, we always turn to the government to push it along? Look what happened when it was decided that educational content was needed in children's television and the government regulated that, requiring a certain amount of educational content? The quality of children's television went down.

    Govenrment should be kept out of market situations. Green innovators need to be asking the question "How can we put this technology into the hands of consumers in a manner that's low-cost and convenient?" This technology has to benefit consumers, not just offer a warm fuzzy feeling.

    For cars, for instance, consumers just want a way to power their vehicles economically (and offer, secondarily, a health benefit). Solar and biofuel can potentially do that.

    The guy here said "In [whereever] people were willing to pay extra for..." Guess what, that's not going to happen here. You want green alternatives in use, you need to benefit the pocketbook and make it easy to get, and all the government meddling isn't going to do that.
    ilnaras
    • No meddling in Wall Street got us where?

      They stripped financial regulation, and we got screwed, and we will be
      screwed for maybe the next 5 to 10 years. Thanks Bush/Cheney for
      f_cking up America.
      We need government help to move us along in a positive direction in
      energy areas.
      wallis2004
  • Green innovation doesn't take anything away

    Why do so many people think that green innovation has anything to do with taking away existing luxuries? First of all, even if the government sets cleaner standards, they can't take away what people already have, because its grandfathered in. This just sets higher standards for what's being made in the future. And where's the harm in asking that things run more efficiently? Efficiency even makes it less costly to run things!
    Crash2100
  • RE: Will cheap oil affect green innovation?

    It might be cheap coming out of the ground or water, but they'll tax the hell out of it so it won't be worth the trouble for greenies.
    atari8bit@...