Bill Gates doesn’t think so. He recently told an audience at the ARPA-E energy conference “It’s crazy how little we’re funding energy,” gigaom.com reports. Gates says Energy research is underfunded by a factor of two, referring to the amount of current U.S. government investment in energy research.
Gates fears that a lack of energy funding may inhibit the nation’s ability to deliver needed energy breakthroughs, and that the energy revolution will be much slower to come than the “IT Revolution.” This is due to a high failure rate and needing thousands of companies to be working on solutions to find those that will work.
Gates is part of the American Energy Innovation Council, which about two years ago called for a government investment of $16 billion per year into basic research. He says he is “stunned” the government hasn’t shown more support. Gates admits that Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu’s hands have been tied, as far as budget goes with an election year and the Solyndra situation.
But is Gates right, is it time to focus on funding energy now? Should it be a top priority? How much should be devoted to renewables?
Tell me what you think.
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Ulrich Bonne says
I agree with Bill Gates, that given its vital importance, we are not funding nor doing enough R&D on renewable energy:
1. Promote PHEVs by demonstrating their use in conjunction with home PVs, adequate FIT (Feed-In-Tariffs), and availability of charging stations at work, rather than large batteries at home. Stopping Chevy-Volt production for a month is a shame
2. R&D on geothermal and utilization of the ~30C rise in temperature for each 1000-m greater depth
3. Mapping of geothermal energy potential by drilling enough test wells, to reduce business risk
4. R&DD on kite-based generators
How can I help, as a semi-retired chemical physicist?