Gates: ‘Cute’ Tech Won’t Solve Planet’s Energy Woes

Chris Anderson interviewed Bill Gates at the 2011 Wired Business Conference: Disruptive By Design. Excellent interview and a relaxed Bill Gates, who delivered some quips with sharper edges that his typical soft shoe. We appreciated his characterization of home solar projects as “cute”, where I would have said perhaps “feel good” stuff.

Bill Gates has a simple plan for the future of energy: Don’t rely on the cute stuff.

‘If we don’t have innovation in energy, we don’t have much at all.’

Sure, attaching solar panels to roofs, building windmills in backyards or deploying other small-scale energy technologies is a fine idea, Microsoft’s co-founder told a packed auditorium at the Wired Business Conference: Disruptive by Design.

Trouble is, they can’t significantly aide developing nations thirsty for cheap energy, he said.

“The solutions that work in the rich world don’t even come close to solving the [energy] problem,” said Gates, interviewed by Wired Magazine editor-in-chief Chris Anderson at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. “If you’re interested in cuteness, the stuff in the home is the place to go. If you’re interested in solving the world’s energy problems, it’s things like big [solar projects] in the desert.”

Read the whole thing » The full transcript of the interview is here. The video is at Fora.tv.