By Mike Mulvihill
Whatever your opinion of Bill Gates and Microsoft, you have to admit he is one smart dude. So when Gates makes a plea in a guest editorial in Science magazine for more energy research & development by the U.S. government, perhaps it is worth taking note.
In the editorial, Gates says the U.S. should more than triple its R&D investment to $16 billion. The federal government currently spends roughly $5 billion annually. He urges Congress to muster political courage to spend more money even if doing do is unpopular right now. He goes on to say that failing to invest would jeopardize America’s national interest and risk its position in the global clean energy industry.
Meanwhile, Congress is busy trying to pin blame for failed investments in green energy such as Solyndra and Beacon Power to advance partisan political objectives. The likely end result will be a reduction in funding for alternative energy R&D – at a time when we should be putting more funding into this area.
Bill Gates made a lot of money spotting market needs and filling them. And our Congress has shown a remarkable inability to accomplish much other than bickering and back-biting. I would prefer to have my money on Gates. But alas, we don’t seem to have that option.