It’s time wind and solar passed their subsidies along to emerging technologies that need them more, Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates says.
After decades of government incentives, wind and solar have been deployed widely enough for manufacturers and developers to become increasingly efficient and drive down costs. Now they can probably survive without them, Gates said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
“The tax benefits there should be shifted into things that are more limiting, like energy storage, offshore wind — which still has a huge premium price,” said Gates, who co-chairs a global group of business, political and scientific leaders formed in 2018 to push for investments to help the world adapt to climate change.
U.S. states including New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts see proposed offshore wind farms in the Atlantic Ocean as crucial ingredients to phase out fossil fuels and fight climate change. But the costs of building wind farms at sea are still nearly twice as high as on land. Energy storage, meanwhile, is key to allowing wind and solar plants to dispatch power even when the sun sets and breezes go slack. But big batteries remain expensive, too.
“The progress in solar and wind is very helpful,” Gates said. “But the sun doesn’t shine 24 hours a day.”