By Scott Nyquist
And one I’m not so sure about.
There’s a saying that where you stand depends on where you sit. When it comes to energy, that holds true. For example, while I am an energy guy in general, I have spent much of my time in oil and gas. That colors how I see the future (and the present, for that matter). People who are deep into solar almost certainly have a different perspective. A mother in Africa cooking over a wood-burning stove might have a third. And a coal miner in West Virginia yet another.
Finding a consensus about what to do next and how, then, becomes difficult. And that is one reason why I find Bill Gates an interesting voice on energy issues. Having spent his life in IT and philanthropy, his views do not fit into a single box—and are all the more refreshing for that. He does have skin in the game. In 2015, he founded a $1 billion clean-energy fund, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which is devoted to research and development on clean energy. He also has been active on issues related to climate change and nuclear power.
If I were to sit down with Gates over a latte in Redmond, we probably wouldn’t agree on everything. But I think he asks the right questions, in the right way. Here are a few comments Gates has made over the years on energy that I found particularly interesting, and my responses to them.
1. ‘Some people argue that deploying today’s technology and developing new ideas are competitors in a zero-sum game—that doing one means you can’t do the other. I disagree.’