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Silicon Valley Innovation Can Solve The Energy Crisis

The innovation inherent in Silicon Valley is the key to solving the energy crisis and building the foundation for a sustainable future, according to a trio of CEOs from the valley speaking at EcoChip 2009, a media roundtable held at Actel Corp. John East of Actel, T.J. Rogers of Cypress Semiconductor Corp., and Brian Halla of National Semiconductor shared their provocative thoughts and insights on the environmental and economic challenges facing the world.

All three companies have focused on power-saving technologies. The executives called on CEOs of other high-tech companies and on entrepreneurs to focus their R&D and investments on solving the crisis.

“We should invest in new innovation, not old innovation,” Halla said. He went on to list new energy “megatrends,” adding that semiconductor technologies are now, more than ever, enabling new power-wise products. These include portable medical devices, battery-management devices for electric cars, and solar panels, among others.

Rodgers unveiled a new smart thermostat application created by Cypress’ new Envirosystems division and called the valley to action saying, “We need 10,000 other ideas like this to solve the energy crisis.”

Meanwhile, East said, “We can solve a lot of these problems because the technology is here.” However, he expressed some frustration over the slow adoption of alternative energy and redefined a new spending metric. “The U.S. spends one bailout annually ($750 billion) to import oil, and the Iraq war has so far cost the equivalent of a trillion dollars, or roughly four bailouts,” he said. “Add all that up and we could end the recession.”


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