The directors of the MIT Energy Conference announced this week that John Doerr, Partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers - one of the world's most famous and successful venture capital firms, has agreed to keynote this year's conference, to be held April 11-12, 2008. Congrats to the MIT Energy Conference Organizing Team on this huge win!
I couldn't be more excited about the Conference team's choice in having John Doerr as a keynote.
Doerr has emerged as a clean energy icon representing the new wave of capitalism-driven clean energy deployment that has taken the world by storm in the last few years. His impassioned plea for the need to deal with climate change at last year's TED conference in Monterey, CA (my home town) represented the mix of shrewd business acumen and emotional furvor that will be required to transform the global energy apparatus to a more sustainable one over the next 50-100 years to avoid political and/or environmental and/or economic catastrophe.
Kleiner Perkins has majorly committed to funding and supporting green technology development and currently has 10 publically-announced "clean energy" porfolio companies:
Local Firms in Their Portfolio:
- Great Point Energy - Coal-to-Gas
- Liluputian - Micro Fuel Cells (out of MIT)
- Mascoma - Cellulosic Ethanol (out of Dartmouth)
- Altarock: Geothermal (Seattle, WA)
- Altra Biofuels (Los Angeles) & Amyris Biotechnologies (Bay Area): Synthetic Biology for Biofuels
- Ausra: Solar Thermal (Bay Area)
- Bloom Energy: Regenerative Solid Oxide Fuel Cells (Bay Area)
- Miasole: CIGS Thin Film Solar (Bay Area)
- Verdiem: Software to Reduce "Vampire Loads" in PC usage (Seattle, WA)
Doerr will join Jim Rodgers, CEO of Duke Energy, to round out the MIT Energy Conference 2008 keynote line up. These two global clean energy leaders come from two opposite ends of the clean energy industry spectrum, with Rodgers being a progressive leader of one of the largest existing utilities in the U.S. and Doerr representing the nimble energy entrepreneurs and investors who hope to change the energy game. I believe they both will bring incredibly valuable perspectives to to the table: innovation and change will have to come from both the top-down and bottom-up in the energy industry to effect real progress toward reducing carbon emissions and environmental degradation associated with our energy usage.