Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Entrepreneur Bill Gates has announced a one billion dollar green tech fund, to try to make renewables fit for purpose.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald;
If successful, the Paris meeting could spur a fundamental shift away from the use of oil, coal and gas to the use of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power. But that transition would require major breakthroughs in technology and huge infrastructure investments by governments and industry.
Where that money would come from has been a question leading up to the Paris talks. Developing countries like India, the third-largest fossil-fuel polluter, have pushed for commitments by developed nations to pay for their energy transition, either through direct government spending or through inexpensive access to new technology.
India has emerged as a pivotal player in the Paris talks. The announcement by Mr Gates appears intended to help secure India’s support of a deal.
As US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton pledged that developed countries would send $US100 billion ($139 billion) annually to poor countries by 2020 to help them pay for the energy transition. Indian officials have demanded that the Paris deal lock in language that the money would come from public funds — a dealbreaker for rich countries.
This summer, Mr Gates pledged to spend $US 1 billion of his personal fortune on researching and deploying clean energy technology, but the people with knowledge of his plans said the new fund would include larger commitments.
This isn’t the first time a project to make renewables viable has been attempted. Back in 2014, WUWT reported about a similar attempt led by Google, which was a total failure.
At the start of RE<C, we had shared the attitude of many stalwart environmentalists: We felt that with steady improvements to today’s renewable energy technologies, our society could stave off catastrophic climate change. We now know that to be a false hope … Renewable energy technologies simply won’t work; we need a fundamentally different approach.”
I applaud Bill’s enthusiasm – who wouldn’t want cheap magic solar panels, which eliminated the need to ever pay another electricity bill. But if the Google experience is any guide, it seems unlikely that another billion dollars will make a significant difference.