Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Google's Input into the Clean Energy Sector

Here's a surprise, at least to me. has come out with its list of the 5 most influential people in the US clean energy sector. On the list is a former Google employee. writes:

Until November 2011, Dan Reicher served as Google’s director of climate change and green energy initiatives, during which time he convinced the company to invest in a number of energy projects, some of them rather eccentric and risky, others more pragmatic. He was also behind Google’s policy proposals for Washington. Prior to 2007, Reicher served in the Clinton Administration as the assistant secretary of energy for energy efficiency and renewable energy. He was also considered for the post of energy secretary in the Obama Administration, but lost out to our first pick, Steven Chu.  
Today, he’s practicing his innovation at Stanford University, which chose him to lead its new $7 million center to study and advance the development and deployment of clean energy technologies through innovative policy and finance.  Stanford alumni Thomas Steyer and Kat Thomas donated the $7 million and trust in Reicher to lead the university’s efforts, which they said “is uniquely positioned to change our nation's attitudes and capabilities regarding how we make and use energy. What our university did for the information revolution, it must now do for the energy revolution." Broadly, the Stanford center will conduct research on energy policy and finance, with a particular focus on legislative, regulatory and business tools – all intended to boost public support for funding clean energy technologies. It also hopes to produce world-class research for policymakers, the business community, and technology leaders. Reicher is influential in the renewable energy world on a number of levels, from finance to policy to advocacy. Not only does he have the ear of the government on policy, he also has the $7 million Stanford research effort at his disposal. 
Bottom line, Reicher is a crazed interventionist proposing programs that won't fly in the private sector and thus will require government funding. Thus more crony capitalism. It's a good thing Google got rid of this character.

As for the donor, Steyer appears to be your typical economically clueless billionaire, who wouldn't know the difference between Ludwig von Mises and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Steyer attended Philips Exeter Academy and graduated from Yale University, Summa Cum Laude.

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