Microsoft’s Bill Gates Talks up Clean Power at CERAWeek

The big tech business owner, who also established Breakthrough Energy & TerraPower, spoke at CERAWeek 2024 in a Luncheon & Dialogue session on clean power

The oil and gas capital of the US could soon be seen in a new light following a recent proclamation by billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.

Speaking at CERAWeek 2024, which took over Houston last week, Bill declared that the state, and host city, had positioned itself as the epicentre of energy and climate breakthroughs that are set to make waves across the US and beyond.

He said his trip to Texas allowed him to meet “remarkable innovators building America’s clean energy future”, adding how Texas is slowly seeing a shift that is altering its perception, as it is now home to cutting edge next-gen clean energy innovation.

Bill Gates at CERAWeek 2024

Championing the tremendous potential of clean industries at CERAWeek, Bill shared his knowledge across the breadth of the energy industry while also taking up the opportunity to learn from peers attending and sharing their own expertise.

“A heroic effort is beginning,” he said of being in Texas in his address with Daniel Yergin, CERAWeek’s Co-Founder. “I'm very excited about it.

“But we shouldn't underestimate how incredibly difficult the energy transition challenge will be.”

He highlights how his work in clean energy is “far, far more difficult” than projects he spearheaded at Microsoft.

Texas: Powering a clean tomorrow?

Across Texas, around 500,000 people’s livelihoods are enabled by the oil and gas industry. But what Bill emphasises is how their skillsets are positioned as ones that evolve to meet the needs of a cleaner energy future. These transferable skills and the workforce bearing them, Bill advocates, are crucial to forming the backbone of the world’s new clean energy economy, securing Texas’ position as an energy leader for generations to come.

Looking back on some of the latest stats, Texas oil and gas companies produced as many as 5.6 million barrels a day in 2023, the Environmental Protection Agency states. It’s also estimated by the Texan government that oil and gas extraction and support activities for mining contributed US$161.9bn to Texas' gross domestic product in 2021.

These industries made up 1.3% of total Texas’ jobs at this time and accounted for about 8% of state GDP.

But Bill says that these are visions of the past. “The Lone Star State is showing the world how to power a clean tomorrow,” he said.

“All the companies in Texas this week are at the heart of the energy transition. They’re driving innovation, bringing good jobs to their communities and boosting the American economy. If you want to catch a glimpse of our country’s clean energy future, you should head on down to the Lone Star State.”

Breakthrough Energy and TerraPower: sustainable and ground-breaking energy companies founded by Bill Gates

Founded in 2015, Breakthrough Energy was established to contribute to the commercialisation of clean energy and other climate-related technologies. It has humanity and avoiding a climate disaster at its heart, which it drives through investment vehicles, philanthropic programmes and policy advocacy to name a few avenues. The entity has also committed to scaling the technologies necessary in reaching net zero emissions by 2050. 

Over at Bill’s other energy company TerraPower, developing groundbreaking nuclear technologies is the name of the game. Again with moral good at its core, TerraPower aims to raise global living standards through new forms of energy. It aspires to develop scalable, sustainable, low-carbon and cost-competitive energy sources to speed up the pace of economic development and reduce poverty.

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