Bill Gates Says The Cost Of Switching To Wind And Solar Would Be “Beyond Astronomical”

Bill Gates points out that wide scale wind and solar energy are a farce, and that people who claim it isn’t have no idea what they are talking about.

Retired software kingpin and richest man in the world Bill Gates says today’s renewable-energy technologies aren’t a viable solution for reducing CO2 levels, and governments should divert green subsidies into R&D aimed at better answers.

Gates expressed his views in an interview given to the Financial Times yesterday, saying that the cost of using current renewables such as solar panels and windfarms to produce all or most power would be “beyond astronomical”. At present very little power comes from renewables: in the UK just 5.2 per cent, the majority of which is dubiously-green biofuel burning1 rather than renewable ‘leccy – and even so, energy bills have surged and will surge further as a result.

In Bill Gates’ view, the answer is for governments to divert the massive sums of money which are currently funnelled to renewables owners to R&D instead. This would offer a chance of developing low-carbon technologies which actually can keep the lights on in the real world.

“The only way you can get to the very positive scenario is by great innovation,” he told the pink ‘un. “Innovation really does bend the curve.”

Gates says he’ll personally put his money where his mouth is. He’s apparently invested $1bn of his own cash in low-carbon energy R&D already, and “over the next five years, there’s a good chance that will double,” he said.

The ex-software overlord stated that the Guardian‘s scheme of everyone refusing to invest in oil and gas companies would have “little impact”. He also poured scorn on another notion oft-touted as a way of making renewable energy more feasible, that of using batteries to store intermittent supplies from solar or wind.

“There’s no battery technology that’s even close to allowing us to take all of our energy from renewables,” he said, pointing out – as we’ve noted on these pages before – that it’s necessary “to deal not only with the 24-hour cycle but also with long periods of time where it’s cloudy and you don’t have sun or you don’t have wind.”

Bill Gates: Renewable Energy Can’t Do The Job | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

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8 Responses to Bill Gates Says The Cost Of Switching To Wind And Solar Would Be “Beyond Astronomical”

  1. Louis Hooffstetter says:

    Bill Gates is not one of the richest men in the world for nothing.

    • Yeah, yeah. To me, all it means is that he reads the same websites we do. It takes no special intellect to do that.

      But, while we get mostly ignored, the public will fawn over his statements, because of all the money he has. Our problem is that people keep thinking that a person having money makes it possible for them to define reality for everyone. As if every dollar in circulation is a ballot for truth, and we cast one ballot for each dollar we have, and the winning proposition is (held to be) the truth and is imposed on everyone. (Even those of us who didn’t vote!)

      • Charles Higley says:

        Don’t complain when they start singing your tune and the public hears it.

        • Well, I don’t buy that the “research” he wants done will uncover the cheap and carbon-free energy solutions that he claims to want.

          Folks like him ignore the truth for decades, then suddenly want to monopolize the discussion and force-steer us in a certain direction? Great, if it works. But, more likely it’s a misdirection. Where has he been all this time?? He just found out about it? I don’t think so.

  2. Don B says:

    From the utility grid perspective, a fundamental problem with wind and solar is intermittency.

    In the US, wind has a median capacity factor of 31%. In California’s Mohave Desert, solar PV has a capacity factor of 23%. To make up the electricity supply difference during the rest of the time, grids must either add otherwise unnecessary backup generation, or flex base load generation (dropping below optimum output so the grid can accept the intermittent renewable input). At a minimum, flexing results in costly capital inefficiency. Otherwise unnecessary backup generation is even more costly.

  3. Mickey says:

    The same week Robert Redford made a fool of himself in front of the UN, Bill Gates comes along and makes realistic, logical arguments. Well done, Mr. Gates.

  4. Charles Higley says:

    Sp many people think we just need better batteries. Lithium hydride batteries aleady use the lightest, smallest elements in the universe that can be used to make a battery. You simply cannot improve the energy density beyond this.

    We could make huge capacitors to store massive amounts of energy and eventually, perhaps, with higher temperature superconductors store energy in charged up superconducting rings. However, in both cases, if the integrity of the unit is violated, the release of energy would rival small yield nuclear explosions. There might be no clean up after an auto accident, as both cars and the occupants could be vaporized.

    They do not want to admit it, but, short of building nuclear-powered cars, which themselves have problems, mainly with containment and accident cleanup, there is no higher energy density storage of energy than gasoline and diesel.

  5. stpaulchuck says:

    “low carbon” electric supply has been sitting in front of us for decades. We need a couple hundred thorium based nukes and a couple dozen fast neutron nukes.

    We’ve got four times the thorium than uranium. The metallic salt fast neutron units would burn up all the spent fuel rods of conventional nukes eventually yielding ‘waste’ with half life of decades rather than millennia . Uranium nukes could be shut down gracefully as they reach the end of their economic life.

    Thorium units can be downsized to handle a farm town and all outlying farms in one unit the size of a cargo container with 20 year refuel cycle which takes care of grid issues.

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