Bill Gates posted his 2010 annual letter which discusses his primary focus on health and education today. On the last/conclusion page Bill discusses his own personal interest in the environment.
Visiting an Eko financial services shop in the suburb of
Uttam Nagar with my dad (Delhi, India, 2008).
There are a lot of important topics I didn’t get around to in this letter. One area that I have been spending a lot of personal time on is energy and its effect on climate. The most important innovation required to avoid climate change will be a way of producing electricity that is cheaper than coal and that emits no greenhouse gases. There will be a huge market for this, and governments should supply large amounts of funding for basic R&D. Because the foundation invests in areas where there is not a big market, I have not yet seen a way that we can play a unique role here, but I am investing in several ideas outside the foundation. I am surprised that the climate debate hasn’t focused more on encouraging R&D since it is critical to getting to zero emissions. Still, I think it is likely that out of the many possible approaches, at least one scalable innovation will emerge in the next 20 years and be installed widely in the 20 years after that.
Note the “electricity that is cheaper than coal and that emits no greenhouse gases.”
Doesn’t this sound like Google’s RE<C project?
RE<C will work to develop electricity from renewable energy sources that is cheaper than electricity produced from coal with a goal of producing one gigawatt of renewable energy capacity – enough to power a city the size of San Francisco – in years, not decades. As part of this effort, Google.org is making strategic investments and grants, advancing key public policies, and using Google products to unlock critical information.
Renewable energy is clean, abundant, and inexhaustible. However, electricity from renewables today is generally more expensive than electricity from coal. RE<C is focused on making renewable energy cheaper than coal-fired power which today is the predominant source of electricity worldwide and a large contributor to global warming pollution.
Google founders are behind the idea.
The decision to pursue this initiative reflects the strong commitment of Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to help realize the promise of renewable energy.
Can you imagine the marketing people trying to get a Renewable Energy event where Bill Gates, Larry Page, and Sergey Brin are all in the same room?