Clean Power

Published on April 18th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Bill Gates Never Ran an Energy Company

April 18th, 2012 by  

Bill Gates is hit or miss when it comes to his comments on cleantech and climate change, in my opinion. He’s fully behind the scientific consensus on climate change (that it’s a huge threat and caused by humans), and he’s behind deployment of clean energy solutions. However, he’s largely investing in nuclear and cleantech companies looking for a breakthrough, as well as geoengineering, so he seems to have a habit of belittling market-ready and extremely fast-growing cleantech options such as solar energy, wind energy, and LEDs.

Of course, these days, Gates isn’t the only one — there’s a lot of misunderstanding about the state of solar energy (and clean energy, in general) after the conservative media and political frenzy last year when one solar company (out of thousands) went bankrupt… in the midst of some staggering price drops of solar technologies from competing companies. I feel like I’m correcting clean energy myths half the time here on CleanTechnica.

But misguided comments from Gates or others with a lot of influence are something to be concerned about, because they influence public opinion, which can influence policy. So, I’m very happened that the informed, intelligent Jigar Shah has taken time out to respond to Gates and others, and I’m happy I can easily share that response with you all via this Ecopreneurist repost below. Enjoy and share this with others:

Bill Gates Never Ran an Energy Company (via Ecopreneurist)

Last year, Bill Gates noted in an interview with Alan Murray of the Wall Street Journal that technologies like solar photovoltaics and LED lights were “cute” but could never deal with the bigger issue of climate change and powering the developing world. And, this week, writer Marc Gunther wrote…

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Exat

    Gates is an anachronism. Also the fact that his wife preaches birth and population control with three children, tells a lot.

    • lol. good point.

    • Now that’s unfair.  She rolled a a pair of dice before deciding to have her third child and it came up snake eyes and so she had the .2 part of 2.2 children.

      And more seriously, she’s into allowing woman to control their own fertility rather than just straight reduction of birth rates. 

  • anderlan

    Bill Gates has nearly been run over by giant tractor-trailer size trends he didn’t see coming before. More than once. Great wealth, and now great philanthropy, doesn’t prove that someone is the smartest guy in the room, no matter how much Gates imagines it does.

    • Luke

      Yep. He only saw the potential in the internet a few months before it started taking off. Others predicted it years in advance.

      He’s still a legendary philanthropist and Windows will forever stay in the history books as the first revolutionary OS that brought computers to the masses.

      • mk1313

        He only saw the potential after it was significantly developed by Netscape and predecessors. Only after it was showing promise did he use his monopoly on operating systems to crush the opposition. As for it being a revolutionary OS almost all aspects of it have been stolen from the real innovators and badly copied.

        • Luke

          Please don’t bring up this ‘look and feel’ crap from the 80’s again…

        • He was good at monopolizing a market. And seems he’d like to use those skills to fight off competition to his nuclear pet projects. Don’t think it will work out for him this time..

  • ThomasGerke

    Excellent article. 🙂
    I am very annoyed with Bill Gates lack of understanding the benefits of distributed energy generation… espiecially because he basicly made his fortune with that concept AND because he is now working in charity around the world.

    The underlying problem is very common. People do not actually inform themselves about the ways renewable energy systems work, yet they feel super confident to judge them.

    At a time, when Germany is basicly moving toward a 100% solar economy (including solar in the form of wind, biomass,… of course 😉 ) I do find it frustrating to see smart people like Bill Gates jumps around the world and proclaim that the answer to our energy problems is decades away… and it’s a nuclear reactor… or some other stuff.

    There are comprehensive studies on the feasability of 100% renewable within 20-30 years…just use your imagination Bill. 😉

    • Totally agree.

      Get really irritated by his approach to this topic.

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