Saturday, November 7, 2009

Is Al Gore lying to Charlie Rose about Energy Storage?

Charlie Rose is a sort of journalist well known for his interviews of interesting people. He recently interviewed Al Gore on November 4, 2009. This is interesting to eestorians because Charlie Rose is a limited partner at Kleiner Perkins. That means he gives his money to Kleiner partners who then invest it in companies like EEStor. As we know from SEC records, Kleiner invested $3mil in EEStor. Based on the valuation of Zenn Motor Company and Dick Weir's statement that KPCB owns "twenty something percent" of EEStor, that $3Mil is now worth $300Mil even before EEStor has revealed 3rd party validation of their claims. That is a 100X return on investment and if you own shares in a Kleiner fund, you may have access to information about investments that show that much progress. Based on how Kleiner loves to tout it's success, it's very likely you do have access to that information, if you are an investor like Charlie Rose. Naturally, any time you talk with one of the key partners, you might want to inquire how your dollars are performing with that stupendous return they keep mentioning when asking you for further investment in new funds. (can you imagine looking at the EEStor returns to date and having Kleiner report something like 'Oh, that? You won't have access to any of it. We made such a silly mistake there. Every time
I'm asked about that, I wish I could find a bag for my head.' Yeah right!)

Enter the interview with Al Gore.

As you see in the above youtube video, Al Gore starts pontificating about solar technology and then abruptly turns to the "extremely important" topic of energy storage. Rose then inquires not about where we are in terms of energy storage development but rather, oddly, about "where are we in terms of dramatic developments in battery capacity?" Such wording makes one want to ask Charlie Rose the same question. Also, notice specifically, how Rose's eyes glare into Gore when he asks the question much as they do when Rose is sipping coffee in his lovely garden on weekend mornings while he thumbs through his financial statements which document what makes his lavish lifestyle possible. (emphasis mine--focus on the glare of truth on Rose's face, almost like if laser beams were x-raying Gore to see what brand of underwear he has on or if it
it made of hemp).

Gore's response is not quick because he is likely hearing the echo of John Doerr saying, "if we bring you on, you can't spill the beans, man." The pace of his voice slows initially--happy he
caught himself.... exactly like someone keeping a secret. Then, we have unusual body gyrations similar to shifting in one's chair. Gore's eyes shift in several directions (note: Gore is a southpaw). It's difficult to interpret all of these movements because what Gore is hiding, in terms of his EEStor knowledge, is not easily drawn out by the question Rose asked. Had it been a more direct question, we might be able to more easily make sense of Gore's shiftiness.

Here's what we do know. KPCB only has one interesting investment in energy storage--that is EEStor. Gore specifically mentions non lithium chemistries. Any genius out there want to show me a non-lithium chemistry that beats lithium? No? Class dismissed then. Conclusion: Al Gore was not fully truthful when he answered Charlie Rose because he knows EEStor is en route. Outside of politics, we sometimes refer to that as lying. Whether or not we can politely call it lying may best be answered by Charlie Rose. Charlie? Charlie? .......Charles! Come to! Stop drooling on your financial statements.

Note: this posting is dedicated to one of my favorite readers who happens to be a family member and who asked me to write more articles such as the one on EEStor's Carl Nelson.

Don't forget to send a tweet to @algore on twitter.


Patrick G. Leamy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Desertstraw said...

Kleiner Perkins are gamblers in the business of betting on long shots using a model that says that they will lose almost all their bets but the few wins will be enormous. It is the same psychology that drives people to buy lottery tickets. Citing their past successes proves nothing about their wisdom. If a person wins big in a lottery early in his involvement and then pursues a policy of buying lots of lottery tickets it is the same thing. Therefore the fact that Kleiner Perkins has invested in Eestor proves almost nothing. Here is a list of their other lottery tickets:

Dick Weir is like the unpublished author who will always publish the great American novel next year. His credibility drops day by day. Let him show the world what he has if he has anything. The excuses for not doing so are lame.

Thaidiamond said...

I agree: class should be dismissed.

The "prof" who wrote this post is drawing conclusions based upon suppositions -- not facts.

We are treated to your 'read' of body language and your beliefs of what you think both Gore and Rose can say given their "association" with Kleiner Perkins.

My mum always taught me that lying saying something that isn't true. Not saying something could be an omission, but it's hardly a lie.

Fact is, Rose' interview was a kind of renewable energy "primer" for mainstream news followers who aren't pouring over clean tech internet sites.

Rose may be a kind of thinking person's interviewer but he's hardly specialized. So in one important aspect he's mainstream in that non-specialized media does not approach a subject with a lot of depth.

Anyone who's followed the clean tech space knows that difference between CSP which generates steam and has baseline power capabilities vs. solar PV which actually generates electricity.

That's Solar Power 101.

And Gore then brought up the "storage" concept -- correctly noting that it's extremely important.

It is. Both in terms of "mass" electrical storage which has huge bearings on integrating renewables into the grid on a "baseline" basis and, of course, to completely power an automobile, thereby leapfrogging the "hybrid" step.

Should he have gone into EEstor? I would NOT have...not with the time allocated and the level of depth this show reached.

Nor with this interview's overall theme which is to address the anthropogenic effects of spewing carbon into our atmosphere and a review on the "headline" technologies that could be employed to fight that.

EEstor is still an UNPROVEN technology. And I mean that in the sense that their batteries also have to be demonstrably shown to be commercially viable.

You write that Gore "...knows EEStor is en route." Route to what? True if you mean the tech is still under development but false if you're implying it only a matter of time before it comes to market.

Moreover, there are other technologies that are also claiming to have the promise of storing "mass" amounts of electricity.

And if you do you homework a little bit more, it's not the only storage investment of Kleiner Perkins.

Of course, you wrote "interesting" storage investment. My take is Kleiner Perkins doesn't make any investment lightly nor does it to so unless the technology and/or product can address billion dollar plus markets.

So it appears your post is a rant that Al Gore's "sin" is that he didn't tout EEStor specifically. He didn't mention Natcore Technology's tandem cell tech either, but he did refer to new PV chemistry that are being developed that could really bring down the cost Solar PV.

I would suggest you dedicate your posts less to family members you wish to please and more towards an objective review of the facts.

b said...

Thaidiamond, yours is the longest blog post comment ever....or recent memory. Thanks.