Bill Gates: Energy Solutions Need to Be Big, Not Cute

To solve the world’s energy problems and combat a rise in global warming, the solutions need to be dramatic and powerful. And definitely not cute. That’s the blunt assessment of Bill Gates, who dismissed smaller scale technologies like residential solar installations as being “cute” but ineffective.

How Japan’s Crisis Could Affect Cleantech

Japan’s massive earthquake, tsunami, and now nuclear disaster, is starting to shine a spotlight on just how important the country is in terms of clean energy technology, from solar to electric cars.

Here Comes the Backlash to Japan’s Nuclear Disaster

It’s still not clear how big a disaster Japan’s nuclear problem is yet, but what is clear is it will have far reaching effects on policy and public relations around nuclear power. It’s been front and center in global media and policy debates this weekend.

Exelon’s Power Play for NRG Could Create Nuclear Giant

Exelon’s (s exc) unsolicited $6 billion bid for its smaller rival NRG Energy (s nrg) may have been prompted by short-term concerns about raising capital and cash flow, but the longer-term outcome could reshape the nuclear industry’s landscape.
Nuclear power makes up only 5 percent of NRG’s power-generation capacity (vs. 46 percent for natural gas and 33 percent for coal). But the company has been gearing up for greater nuclear capacity for some time. In September 2007, it submitted the first application in 29 years to build a nuclear plant in the U.S.
Exelon, which at $19 billion in revenue last year was three times as large as NRG, owns 10 nuclear stations and 17 reactors, and is the largest player in the U.S. and the third largest in the world. Buying NRG will add to that total and give it enough resources and economies of scale to leverage even more plants in coming years.
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Presidential Debate: Candidates Agree, Cleantech Can Fix Economy and Planet

Energy emerged as a major topic of discussion in the second presidential debate on Tuesday night, and while Obama and McCain disagreed on the details of their energy plans, both candidates largely agreed that clean technology is necessary to both help fix the economy and fight climate change.

When the moderator Tom Brokaw asked what the fastest and most positive way to bail people out of economic ruin was, McCain’s first response was:

“I have a plan to fix this problem and it has got to do with energy independence. We’ve got to stop sending $700 billion a year to countries that don’t want us very — like us very much.”

Later on in the debate, McCain emphasized that energy independence, specifically “drilling offshore and nuclear power,” are fundamental ways to get the economy moving again.

When Brokaw asked the candidates to rate in order their priorities of health care, energy, and entitlement reform, Obama put energy at the top:

“Energy we have to deal with today, because you’re paying $3.80 here in Nashville for gasoline, and it could go up. And it’s a strain on your family budget, but it’s also bad for our national security, because countries like Russia and Venezuela and, you know, in some cases, countries like Iran, are benefiting from higher oil prices. So we’ve got to deal with that right away.”

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