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Bruce Sterling's Viridian Design Movement


Viridian Note 00492 Austin Green Capitalism
by Bruce Sterling
Key concepts:
Austin Texas, Corporate Green, cleantech, clean energy, venture capital, Austin Technology Incubator, start-up companies, Clean Energy Venture Summit
Attention Conservation Notice:
It's about a bunch of start-up companies asking rich people for money.


The first and possibly not-only Clean Energy Venture Summit, which planned for 300 attendees and got 400, me included.

The Austin Clean Energy Incubator, braintrust of the event.

Austin Technology Incubator.

Letter from the Mayor of Austin, who has a degree in environmental design:

"To the Guests of the Clean Energy Venture Summit:

"I'm pleased to welcome you to Austin for the inaugural Clean Energy Venture Summit. I believe you will find Austin a unique place, ideally suited for the development of the cleantech industry."

(((Where the Mayor of Austin went instead of attending this local biz event: The Large Cities Climate Summit.)))

"In Austin, we have a long tradition of creativity, entrepreneurialism and respect for our natural environment. It's the nexus of these traditions that has resulted in Austin recently being named the nation's top city for cleantech development." (((Yeah, take that, Green San Francisco, Green LA, Green Chicago, Green Seattle, and Green New York.)))

"What sets Austin apart from many cities striving to foster cleantech industry is the exceptional combination of resources we're bringing together to help us achieve our goals. The Austin team includes our municipally owned Austin Energy, unquestionably the most progressive utility in the nation; the Clean Energy Incubator, the first ever of its kind; the University of Texas, with its breadth and depth of knowledge; and the citizens of Austin == our most important resource of all.

"The Austin City Council recently adopted some of the most ambitious clean energy and energy efficiency targets in the nation. To achieve our goals, we will need new technologies to help us meet the growing energy demands of our rapidly growing community.

"Our plan is to build the cleantech industry of the future == and that means attracting the right talent, applying the right resources and leveraging a great team to achieve this. I invite you to play a role in this important endeavor. Together, we can build a tomorrow as limitless as our creativity and vision will allow. Regards, Mayor Will Wynn"

(((If you'd told me ten years ago that the Mayor of my home town would be indulging in this kind of rhetoric, I would have been turning cartwheels. The Clean Energy Venture Summit was an intensely dull event. There was scarcely a "visionary" to be seen. On the contrary: suited, duely-diligent lawyers and bankers were throwing millions of dollars at engineers. That's the work of the world, folks. This is our third swing at this particular baseball: 1970s: eco-consciousness raising; 1990s, global political accords; 2010s, cybergreen ecotech. They gotta win, they must not fail, because otherwise, by the 2030s it's gonna be Khaki Green all the way: a future of All Katrina, all the time, for everybody.)))

(((I conveyed these bracing sentiments to the attendees. I then went to my Austin home to find a tree in my yard freshly blasted by a massive lightning storm. As a Viridian guru, I'm pretty much getting what I begged for here. But, just like everybody else under our planet's overheated skies, I'm gonna pay a price.)))


The corporate darlings of the event (for you boisterous tech investors out there):

"The AgiLight Team brings a combined 50+ years of experience in the electronics and solid state lighting industry and has tremendous experience in manufacturing, sourcing, material science, and product integration of LED and other electronics solutions."

"Ausra, Inc. is developing large-scale solar electric power parks. Endless electrical energy at affordable prices without carbon emissions is now possible due to our breakthroughs in the design of concentrating solar power systems."

PCN Technologies. "PCN Technology, Inc. (PCN) designs, develops and markets advanced I/O subsystem components that leverage existing energy systems of products, devices, machinery, and installations in order to transmit triple play data.PCN products interoperate with legacy and new systems eliminating or decreasing communication hardwire in order to provide alternative RF wireless communication, convergence, and networking for companies & applications having critical needs for secure, reliable, robust data transmission."

SolBeam. "SolBeam markets and sells concentrating photovoltaic systems."

"AccuWater delivers products and Internet-based services that enable property owners to optimize landscape irrigation using landscape modelling and local weather conditions."

(((And, as they like to say, "many others.")))

Austin Energy's political pitch: a shotgun marriage of electrical utilities and a (somewhat imaginary) hybrid fleet of American plug-in cars.

Link: "Plug-In Partners is a national grass-roots initiative to demonstrate to automakers that a market for flexible-fuel Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) exists today. Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicles can reduce dependence on foreign oil, decrease greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, lower fuel costs, make American agriculture a fuel source, save and created American jobs, and increase use of renewable energy."

Media sponsors: GreenBiz, GreenerBuildings, ep Overviews Daily Report, Inside GreenTech, and Red Herring.

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