Monday, July 07, 2014

Telling the Truth About Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship

I will attend Intersolar North America and SEMICON West this week.  I am totally psyched about entrepreneurship disrupting the energy sector in 2014.  I'm even more psyched that renewable energy and other cleantech plays are part of this disruption.  I would like my fellow entrepreneurs and investors to get as psyched as I am.  That may be too much to ask of some would-be money makers but others will rise to the challenge.  Knowing why they should step up requires some truth-telling.

I've attended enough conclaves for renewable energy entrepreneurs to understand that not all of them take their opportunities seriously.  The majority of attendees at a recent conference I attended did not take notes during presentations.  These entrepreneurs paid serious money to hear from experts.  Perhaps they think attending a conference is enough to give their businesses a veneer of credibility without doing any work.  Other attendees insisted on taking digital photos of the slide decks during presentations, even though all of the slides would be available for download on the conference's website.  These anecdotal observations tell me that some founders are either unserious about success or just too stupid to succeed.

Entrepreneurs aren't the only crowd who may misunderstand renewable energy.  Scientists can get it wrong too.  I had lunch at that same conference with someone who said he had worked on the IPCC climate change reports.  He bristled visibly when I said the IPCC had falsified climate data.  After he calmed down, he admitted that the hacked emails showing IPCC officials lying were incriminating and wondered about the real story behind the controversy.

I have an emerging theory about policy makers who alter climate science data to fit a politically-driven narrative.  The climate change movement may be a deliberately seeded alternative religion appealing to non-religious pseudo-rationalists.  It is useful as an additional means of controlling human behavior, especially financial decisions.  The decline of monotheism in the developed Western world means large numbers of people have escaped traditional social control mechanisms.  Herding these non-sectarians into a green religion brings them back under elite control.  Climate change advocates can be just as duplicitous as "pious fraud" theologians.  New theology requires new funding mechanisms.  Carbon credit trading is the modern version of tithing to churches in the Middles Ages.  Financial institutions endorse carbon credit markets because fear-induced regulations will hand them rentier income.

Civilization needs mechanisms for social control because most humans, especially those on the left-hand tail of the IQ bell curve, would otherwise be out of control.  Scientifically derived belief systems may prove more humane than supernatural systems.  Global governance advocates have a big philosophical investment in anthropogenic theories of climate change.  The central meme is that it's all our fault, just like original sin is all our fault.  Both faults require atonement.  Paying money to atone is an easy sell.  

Renewable energy and cleantech innovation are worth pursuing even if none of these control systems' noble lies were necessary to govern mass behavior.  I look forward to a time when noble lies will no longer suffice to maintain social cohesion.  That will take a quantum leap in human evolution.  I do not lie in my own life.  The truth about renewable energy is that it is finally cost-competitive on distributed grids with hydrocarbons and does not produce carcinogenic emissions.  That is sufficient justification for entrepreneurs to pursue success in cleantech.