Clean-energy miracles: Myth or viable strategy?

by Martin LaMonica

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–As people consider the best path to a sustainable energy future, two polar ends of a debate are emerging between those who argue for a big boost in technology research and those who advocate more aggressive use of existing technology.

Those who work at incumbent companies in the oil and gas industry don’t expect miracles with the ability to transform energy overnight, according to speakers at the EmTech conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology yesterday.

At the opposite extreme are techno-optimists, such as Bill Gates and venture capitalist John Doerr, who say that much more money should be plowed into research and development to stimulate clean-energy innovation.

Funding more energy research is a good idea, but don’t expect even a sharp increase in spending to turn energy around quickly, said Jose Bravo, chief scientist at Shell Global Solutions, during a panel.

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