There is some truth in Gates's suggestion that making new clean energy tech cheap for can be more important than deploying existing clean tech.

But it neglects the fact that a big part of making clean tech cheap is deployment: driving economies of scale and learning-by-doing.
We should recognize the need to do both: accelerate the deployment of existing clean tech to further drive down costs (particularly for more nascent clean tech like EVs that are on the cusp of cost-competitiveness with fossil alternatives) AND dramatically scale up RD&D.
The quote in the original post is from @yayitsrob's excellent interview in the @TheAtlantic this week:…
I feel like we too often discount the boring part of innovation: streamlining manufacturing, distribution, installation, etc. Much of the success in the dramatic cost declines of solar in the past two decades stem from that rather than fundamental breakthroughs.
To be fair, my framing of "Gates' law" in this case is a bit of an oversimplification of his and Breakthrough Energy's views; they appreciate the role of deployment in driving process innovation and cost reductions.

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More from @hausfath

22 Feb
In recent months three different deep decarbonization scenarios have been produced from high-resolution grid integration models. In a new analysis at @TheBTI, my colleague @erikolsonn and I look at lessons they provide about what is needed:…

A thread: 1/19 Image
The three models we examine are Princeton's Net Zero America (NZA) project (by @JesseJenkins et al), the @VibrantCE Zero By Fifty scenario, and results by a team of researchers led by Jim Williams at USF. 2/
All three take a deep-dive into how US could reach net-zero emissions by 2050, down to level of where each new generating facility might be located, where transmission lines would be built, and how electricity sources can meet hourly demand in different regions of the country 3/ Image
Read 21 tweets
18 Feb
Geoengineering is not a solution to climate change, and at best might be a "break the glass in case of emergency"-type bandaid to buy us time.

That said, I disagree with Bill here that small-scale research projects will "take the heat off" of the push for decarbonization. 1/5
Here is where I could see geoengineering playing a role: say, at some point in the future we have gotten our emissions under control, but climate sensitivity was high and we've locked in 2.5-3C warming even though we thought we would limit warming to 2C. 2/5
We discover some previously unknown planetary-scale climate feedback mechanism with hysteresis that will lead to substantial additional warming if temperatures remain >2.5C. We need to actively suck lots of CO2 from the atmosphere to get temperatures down to safe levels. 3/5
Read 5 tweets
17 Feb
There has been a lot of confusion over the drivers of the Texas blackouts. While more will become clear in the coming days, neither renewables nor insufficient gas capacity were the culprits. Rather, it was the lack of resiliency of to extreme cold conditions.

A thread: 1/9
Texas has seen an explosion of cheap wind power in recent years. Wind now produces around 20% of Texas' electricity. However, at the same time Texas has also been building a lot of gas capacity; gas generally works well with wind, able to quickly ramp up to fill in gaps. 2/
Because it is intermittent, the grid manager @ERCOT_ISO does not rely much on wind to meet extreme demand events such as the one we are experiencing right now. Rather, they have enough gas (and nuclear/coal) capacity on standby just in case high demand coincides with low wind. 3/
Read 9 tweets
15 Feb
Much of the US is experiencing extreme cold temperatures. But we should not read too much into this when it comes to climate change; its both not an unusual day for global temperatures, and there is not much evidence that climate change is making cold extremes more common.
We can see that while the US and part of Russia are exceptionally cold at the moment, other parts of the world have much warmer than average temperatures. A warming world is still one with regional weather variability!
At the same time, there has been a strong decrease in the number of extreme cold events in many parts of the world. Today's event feels so extreme in part because its become much rarer in recent decades. (@RARohde has a good graph of this, but I can't seem to dig it up)
Read 8 tweets
11 Feb
There has been a lot of discussion about negative emissions technologies (NETs) lately. While we need to be skeptical of assumed planetary-scale engineering and wary of moral hazard, we also need much greater RD&D funding to keep our options open. A quick thread: 1/10
Energy system models love NETs, particularly for very rapid mitigation scenarios like 1.5C (where the alternative is zero global emissions by 2040)! More problematically, they also like tons of NETs in 2C scenarios where NETs are less essential. 2/10
In model world the math is simple: very rapid mitigation is expensive today, particularly once you get outside the power sector, and technological advancement may make later NETs cheaper than near-term mitigation after a point. 3/10
Read 10 tweets
9 Feb
Quite the tour-de-force from @Sammy_Roth on what would actually be needed to get California to 100% clean energy by 2045 and the somewhat-telling unwillingness to build fast and big enough today:…

A few highlights: 1/9
In response to rolling blackouts this summer, CA is extending the life of its natural gas plants. At the same time, however, it is failing to invest in clean firm generation to ultimately replace the role that gas plays on the grid, "sowing the seeds for the next crisis” 2/9
The CPUC is planning to would make a relatively weak 2030 of 25% emission reductions as the basis for approving or rejecting new transmission lines, likely leading to a substantial underinvestment in the magnitude of transmission needed for deep decarbonization. 3/9
Read 10 tweets

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