Gates suggests more energy R&D, less ‘cuteness’

Bill Gates.pngWhen you’re the world’s richest man, and have committed $36bn to philanthropy, you don’t have to be politically correct.

Thus the blog was delighted to see Bill Gates’ interview on energy needs with Wired magazine, where he noted:

• “The solutions that work in the rich world don’t even come close to solving the energy problem
• “If you’re interested in cuteness, the stuff in the home is the place to go.
• “If you’re interested in solving the world’s energy problems, its things like big solar projects in the desert.”

As Gates notes, “over 90% of subsidies are on deploying technology and not on R&D. You can buy as much old technology as you want, but you won’t get breakthroughs, which only come out of basic research. If we don’t have innovation in energy, we don’t have much at all.”

And he went on to add that “sure, attaching solar panels to roofs, building windmills in backyards or deploying other small-scale energy technologies is a fine idea. But they can’t significantly aid developing nations thirsty for cheap energy“.

The blog sees reducing carbon footprint as one of the key megatrends for the New Normal. Many chemical companies are already working on potential answers to the problems.

But as Gates says, today’s ‘cute solutions’ simply distract attention from the hard work that is needed to find real solutions.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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