Ken Novak's Weblog
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Renewable energy investor letter

Energy, the new new thing:   Possible letter to the editor about NYT article, "Can Energy Ventures Pick Up Where Tech Left Off?" by Amy Cortese, Feb 9 2003: 

It's not just dot-com fatigue driving these innovators. 

Today, there are important carry-overs from information technology to energy.  Adaptive computerized control is central to collecting natural energy, from wind turbines to biodigesters to solar collectors.  Quantum physics and materials science are critical to both: Photoelectric effects drive solar cells as well as laptop displays, and nanotechnology promises catalysts and semiconductors to transform both electronics and energy.

Not least, these tech innovators carry on a desire to change the world. In the individualistic 60s and 70s, the prospect of personal computers that would augment and expand human potentials motivated a generation of innovators.  Back then, the Whole Earth Catalog covered PCs and hypertext -- and alternative energy.  Now, technology that can restore the environment (and replace our dependence on hostile societies) offers a new way to "change everything".

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The author was a 2002 Reuters Digital Vision Fellow at Stanford University, where he studied the links among information technology, sustainable energy, and international development.

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Last update: 11/25/2005; 12:18:12 AM.
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