Monday, April 03, 2006

Silicon Valley man bankrolls Energy Initiative

Since the Legislature is slow to adopy clean energy measures, a Silicon Valley man is taking the matter into his own hands.

Vinod Khosla is bankrolling a ballot initiative that would tax oil producers and subsidize alternative energy -- technologies he invests in as one of the valley's most prominent venture capitalists.

If California voters embrace the November initiative, the tax on oil companies could generate $4 billion for projects intended to reduce the state's dependence on oil by 25 percent within a decade.

Such political moves are still new territory for the well-heeled venture capital community more accustomed to funding start-up companies than ballot campaigns. That changed in 2004, when the industry put its money behind another technology-building initiative: stem-cell research.