Is the Key to Our Energy Crisis in Silicon Valley?

Well, maybe not the ENTIRE key, but surely some solutions to our energy and transportation needs will come out of Silicon Valley in the next decade. Many entrepreneurs are flocking to the region seeking funding from venture capital companies. NPR reports:

“We think EVs [electric vehicles] offer so many advantages in terms of environment, economy and security that we thought we should put some of our investor dollars into those kinds of companies,” says Dan Reicher, the director of Google’s climate change and energy initiatives.

Google has EV charging docks on its sprawling campus in Mountain View, Calif.

“We’ve built a fleet of plug-in cars,” Reicher says. “These are Toyota Priuses and we converted them after market.”

Google has essentially turned the hybrid Prius into a plug-in so that employees can charge their cars at work. It’s this kind of garage-startup mentality that has given Silicon Valley its innovator reputation.

Sustainable transportation and energy solutions should bring an entirely new economy to the United States, one that will allow the nation to compete better in the global economy. Maybe we can bring some of this to the Lehigh Valley.

About Beata Bujalska

Beata Bujalska is the former Campaign Coordinator for Renew Lehigh Valley. She currently lives in Panama, a place that fascinates her due to (among other reasons) its recent development boom.

Posted on October 13, 2010, in Energy, Media Coverage, Transportation, Trends and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Better technology certainly has the potential to reduce energy waste and improve efficiency.

    Electric cars and similar products, however, also tend to make us believe that we can continue with ‘business as usual’ as long as we are a little more efficient.

    They will not reduce our dependency on remotely-generated electricity — in effect, we are replacing oil-fueled cars with vehicles fueled by coal and nuclear power.

    They will not discourage people from making unnecessary trips — in fact people may have *less* incentive to walk, bicycle, or use public transit.

    And there is a substantial carbon and energy burden to build a new vehicle. For those who drive a lot, the gain in efficiency may pay off the debt reasonably quickly; for those who drive less, the efficiency gain will take years to offset the energy and GHG from construction .

    So this is a useful solution, but we need to remember that there is no solution that allows us to ignore the reality that our wasteful behavior needs to change!

  2. Absolutely agree, Peter. We need to seriously look at truly sustainable transportation solutions (which include, most importantly, better land-use density planning). Still, it’s encouraging to see that solutions are being considered — and it’s nice to see a strong entrepreneurial spirit in technological innovation.

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