Bill Gates knows a thing or two about driving change in the world. In 2015, he started the billion dollar “Breakthrough Energy Fund” to further the development on clean energy.
Over the years, he has shared some of his thoughts on the state of our energy industry. Here are three of those thoughts from Bill Gates, and our reaction to them.
1. Carbon capture and storage (CCS) will never make energy less expensive than it is today.
Solar Consultant: We definitely agree with this comment from Bill. The main purpose of CCS is to clean up coal power generation. However, the technology hasn’t lived up to expectations (so far), and has increased the cost of power generation when implemented. CCS has great potential, but the technology has to be further refined and studies have to be done on the effects of long term carbon storage.
2. Developing countries such as India should be allowed to use coal.
Solar Consultant: This one is up for intense debate, but overall we agree with this. The reason is that developing countries need cheap energy in order to lift their people out of poverty. Even if these countries develop more coal power generation, they still emit less greenhouse gas per person when compared with the United States over the last century. The good news is that a lot of these developing countries are implementing green energy in conjunction with coal power plants.
3. The world should spend more money on researching clean energy.
Solar Consultant: Absolutely. Currently the world only spends a few billions dollars a year on research into clean energy technologies, and that is nowhere close to enough. In our opinion, the yearly research spend on clean energy should be at least 10 billion. Currently, the bulk of the clean energy spend goes into subsidies. This makes sense from the government’s point of view as they want to encourage installation of existing technologies. However, the subsidies are taking dollars away achieving truly revolutionary improvements in clean energy.