February 18, 2019 by stopthesethings
When the world’s richest entrepreneur says wind and solar will never work, it’s probably time to listen.
Bill Gates made a fortune applying common sense to the untapped market of home computing. The meme has it that IBM’s CEO believed there was only a market for five computers in the entire world. Gates thought otherwise. Building a better system than any of his rivals and shrewdly working the marketplace, resulted in hundreds of millions hooked on PCs, Windows and Office. This is a man that knows a thing or two about systems and a lot about what it takes to satisfy the market.
For almost a century, electricity generation and distribution were treated as a tightly integrated system: it was designed and built as one, and is meant to operate as designed. However, the chaotic delivery of wind and solar have all but trashed the electricity generation and delivery system, as we know it. Germany and South Australia are only the most obvious examples.
During an interview at Stanford University late last year, Bill Gates attacks the idiots who believe that we’re all just a heartbeat away from an all wind and sun powered future.
He quotes Vaclav Smil:
Here’s Toyko, 27 million people, you have three days of a cyclone every year. It’s 23GW of electricity for three days. Tell me what battery solution is going sit there and provide that power.
As Gates says: Let’s not jerk around. You’re multiple orders of magnitude — … — That’s nothing, that doesn’t solve the reliability problem
During storms, clouds cut solar panel productivity (unless hail destroys it) and wind turbines have to shut down in high winds.
The whole interview was part of a presentation at Stanford late last year:
Cheap renewables won’t stop global warming, says Bill Gates
The interview by Arun Majumdar, co-director of Stanford Energy’s Precourt Institute for Energy, which organized the conference, can be watched here.
When financial analysts proposed rating companies on their CO2 output to drive down emissions, Gates was appalled by the idea that the climate and energy problem would be easy to solve. He asked them: “Do you guys on Wall Street have something in your desks that makes steel? Where is fertilizer, cement, plastic going to come from? Do planes fly through the sky because of some number you put in a spreadsheet?”
“The idea that we have the current tools and it’s just because these utility people are evil people and if we could just beat on them and put (solar panels) on our rooftop—that is more of a block than climate denial,” Gates said. “The ‘climate is easy to solve’ group is our biggest problem.”
Typhoon takes out turbines in Taiwan.