Ted Turner: I’d Be An Energy Entrepreneur

Media mogul, environmentalist and so-called “Mouth of the South” Ted Turner says if he were to start over now as an entrepreneur, he’d work in clean energy. Turner, who’s been investing in solar for the past few years, made the remarks at the Google Zeitgeist event held in Phoenix, Ariz. this week in an on-stage interview with Tom Brokaw.

Turner’s explanation for his optimism in clean energy?

“Because everybody’s gotta have it and quick. That’s one of the things we’ve failed to do, at our peril. The sun shines right there waiting to be tapped; we just need to capture and distribute it and our problems are over.” (see video, 1 hour 24 minutes or so)

Turner doesn’t have to really start over to get into clean power, and in fact, he could already be considered a seasoned solar entrepreneur. In late 2007, Turner sold his investment, Turner Renewable Energy, to First Solar (s FSLR) for $34.3 million, in a combination of common stock of First Solar and cash. Earlier this year, Turner also announced that he’d partnered with power company Southern Company to collaborate on utility-scale solar projects.

At the Zeitgeist event this week, Turner said that he, with a group of partners, was backing a 250-acre, $100 million solar array in New Mexico that could power 9,000 homes. “I’m excited to finally get into alternative energy in a major way. And I want to make a little money, too,” said Turner.

Turner also mentioned his close relationship with oil-baron-turned-wind-and-natural-gas-advocate T. Boone Pickens during the onstage conversation. “We agree on the energy situation on most points,” said Turner, in reference to Pickens.

Turner has been a long-time environmentalist and reiterated during the interview that “global climate change is greatest problem humanity has ever faced.” Turner, who founded CNN (s twx), also said that news and journalism play an important role in helping deliver accurate information to people: “We’re not going to make it through this difficult time without solid information.”

Check out the video interview below:

To read more on the real reason Google bought wind power, check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

The Real Reason Google Is Buying Wind Power