http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/b...ment/03gore.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=al gore&st=cse WASHINGTON â Former Vice President Al Gore thought he had spotted a winner last year when a small California firm sought financing for an energy-saving technology from the venture capital firm where Mr. Gore is a partner. The company, Silver Spring Networks, produces hardware and software to make the electricity grid more efficient. It came to Mr. Goreâs firm, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, one of Silicon Valleyâs top venture capital providers, looking for $75 million to expand its partnerships with utilities seeking to install millions of so-called smart meters in homes and businesses. Mr. Gore and his partners decided to back the company, and in gratitude Silver Spring retained him and John Doerr, another Kleiner Perkins partner, as unpaid corporate advisers. The deal appeared to pay off in a big way last week, when the Energy Department announced $3.4 billion in smart grid grants. Of the total, more than $560 million went to utilities with which Silver Spring has contracts. Kleiner Perkins and its partners, including Mr. Gore, could recoup their investment many times over in coming years. Silver Spring Networks is a foot soldier in the global green energy revolution Mr. Gore hopes to lead. Few people have been as vocal about the urgency of global warming and the need to reinvent the way the world produces and consumes energy. And few have put as much money behind their advocacy as Mr. Gore and are as well positioned to profit from this green transformation, if and when it comes. Critics, mostly on the political right and among global warming skeptics, say Mr. Gore is poised to become the worldâs first âcarbon billionaire,â profiteering from government policies he supports that would direct billions of dollars to the business ventures he has invested in. Al Gore is putting out these doomsday scenerios in order to stir up fear so that he can make a quick profit.