It looks like the end times are near for U.S. support for cleantech, at least according to a report out from the Breakthrough Institute, the Brookings Institution and the World Resources Institute.
Google’s former Director of Climate Policy, Dan Reicher, has left the search engine giant to head up Stanford’s new Center for Energy Policy and Finance that will focus on how policy and financing can deliver the future of clean energy infrastructure.
Google’s (s GOOG) Director of Climate Change and Energy Initiatives, Dan Reicher — a policy wonk that served in the Clinton Administration energy department and heads up Google’s efforts on shaping energy legislation — spent the past few days at the Copenhagen climate summit, meeting with business leaders, giving talks on the importance of energy efficiency, and leading a call to action on consumer access to energy information. I met with Reicher at the BrightGreen Expo in Copenhagen on Sunday and he had this to say about the importance of the negotiations and how IT companies should be involved.
Q). Are there specific issues that Google is looking at in terms of the Copenhagen agreement?
A). We have said clearly that we’re going to need a price on carbon, and part of being here for the negotiations is making sure that it’s sooner rather than later. There’s also the whole technology angle — how do you accelerate clean energy and energy efficiency technology development? At Google we’ve made a big push in congressional testimony to increase energy R&D. We’re at a painfully low level in the U.S. right now, compared to where we were in the 1980s.
Read More about Q&A: Google’s Dan Reicher on the Importance of Copenhagen
At an event at Google’s offices in San Francisco, the company’s director of climate change and energy initiatives, Dan Reicher, said that Google will make a step into clean energy project investing.
“The dog finally caught the car” is how Dan Reicher, Google.org’s director of climate and energy initiatives put it today — with the dog being clean energy advocates, and the car being government funding for renewables. Now, according to Reicher, who spoke on a Ceres conference panel today about innovative business models, the money has to move so fast it can’t possibly be spent with total transparency (an issue dear to Google (s GOOG)) or wisdom.
“We’ve been asking for this for 30 years, getting a billion here, a billion there [for clean energy],” said Reicher, who served in the Clinton administration Energy Department and helped develop portions of the stimulus legislation as a member of President Barack Obama’s transition team. “Now we have $80 billion.” Anyone in the audience at Ceres, he said, “could write the New York Times or Washington Post story a year from now about how we didn’t spend the money well.”
Reicher thinks the stimulus funds will be most effective if there’s more transparency and a greater effort to get the word out about how to apply. Evidently he’s unimpressed with Recovery.gov, the Obama administration’s attempt to provide easy access to information about applying for stimulus funds and how they’re being spent. The Google.org approach? Cast a wide net for pitches. Over a year ago, when Google.org was just getting started doling out its own pile of clean energy cash, Reicher told a group of entrepreneurs and investors to “send us your business plans.” Have you sent yours to the feds?