Earlier this summer, billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates endorsed climate confusionist Bjorn Lomborg’s claim that developing countries can only emerge from energy poverty by tethering themselves to centralized power plants burning fossil fuels. But in this August 22 post on Greentech Media, SunEdison founder Jigar Shah states that “no expert on energy access is paying any attention to Gates’ folly on energy for the poor.” The International Energy Agency has reported on what it will take to deliver electricity to 1.3 billion people who currently have none, and “the truth is that an over-reliance on centralized grid extension and large-scale power plants will keep a billion people in the dark,” Shah writes. Real energy experts “know that Gates’ approach has been tried for 60 years and has failed miserably in almost every emerging market outside of China.” Everywhere else, “energy is starting to look a lot like mobile phones, as distributed solutions leapfrog outdated and ineffective centralized networks. They have done so overwhelmingly out of the desire to power the poor,” with climate solutions as a secondary benefit. A week after Shah published, ex-Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope joined the fight, arguing that fossil fuels won’t work in most energy-deprived regions. “The idea that renewable electricity costs more than fossil fuel power is simply no longer true,” Pope wrote, and Lomborg “ought to base his projections and assumptions on current numbers, not outdated ones.”
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