Gates Excited by Potential for Low-Cost Energy, No Carbon

Microsoft founder Bill Gates affirmed his support for innovations in energy that lower costs and reduce carbon emissions at the third annual Climate Solutions breakfast, which Seattle City Light helped to sponsor.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates affirmed his support for innovations in energy that lower costs and reduce carbon emissions at the third annual Climate Solutions breakfast, which Seattle City Light helped to sponsor.

You can watch a video of his presentation or participate in a live Web chat with Climate Solutions Policy Director K.C. Golden via Grist.

“My interest is a solution that gets us cheap energy with zero CO2,” Gates told the audience of about 1,000 people at the Westin Hotel.

Accomplishing that goal involves overcoming many challenges, which is why Gates said he is personally investing in many different approaches.

Gates explained that total carbon emissions are driven by the planet’s total population, the amount of services used by those people, the energy it takes to provide those services and the carbon generated by the production of that energy. Within that formula, the key for making significant changes lies in reducing the carbon impact of energy.

“That’s the thing where we need to do really well,” Gates said. “This one, it’s hard, but it’s very, very important.”

While rapidly developing countries like China will have a huge impact on the planet’s carbon production, the United States is still in a dominant position to drive innovations that can provide a better future for us all, Gates said. “Any solution that turns the energy game into national one-upsmanship isn’t going to get us there.”

Since 1998, Climate Solutions has pioneered the vision and cultivated political leadership in the Northwest for the proposition that clean energy and broadly-shared economic prosperity can go hand-in-hand. Through its Business Leaders, New Energy Cities, and Harvesting Clean Energy programs, Climate Solutions builds a powerful constituency for local, regional and national action on climate and clean energy. 

Seattle City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to nearly 1 million Seattle area residents. City Light has been greenhouse gas neutral since 2005, the first electric utility in the nation to achieve that distinction.