Blue Is the New Green: Why Energy Entrepreneurs Need to Think Different

Opinion

Many innovators lament that the time-honored VC model does not work for what they call “cleantech” or “greentech.” They raise as proof the capital intensivity and long timeframes for energy start-ups.

I say they have it backwards. Energy will get solved when the energy ecology changes to fit the VC model, not vice versa.

Take for a trivial example the names “cleantech” and “greentech,” both wrong.

Cleantech? Wrong. Energy solutions cannot just be clean—they also have to be cheap.

Greentech? Wrong. Because green is the wrong color for the energy movement. Green stands for environmentalism, fine, but The Greens are also anti-capitalism, anti-technology, anti-trade, anti-American, all those people green-tea-partying in Copenhagen—they are against all the tools we need to solve the energy problem. Green is the new red.

So, for the energy movement’s color, I urge we adopt blue. Long-term, energy solutions are very likely to come from the oceans, which cover 71 percent of Earth’s surface, and from the sky. Of course the color most associated with the oceans and skies is blue. Blue is the new green.

Bob Metcalfe, the inventor of Ethernet and the founder of 3Com Corporation, is Professor of Innovation and Murchison Fellow of Free Enterprise in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin. Follow @BobMetcalfe

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