“It’s crazy how little we’re funding energy,” Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates told the attendees at the most recent ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit.

ARPA-EWe have looked at some of the technologies that were on show at last week’s much talked about ARPA-E Summit, but what were people talking about at the gathering hosted by the US government’s innovation agency? This year’s annual event in Washington attracted a high-powered list of attendees and speakers, who were there not just to stress the importance of funding innovation and transformative clean technology, but also to shore up support for ARPA-E which, as Inside Climate News put it, is “in a pickle,” with the $455 million it was allocated in the 2011 and 2012 budgets quickly drying up.

According to reports, the DOE has canceled six ARPA-E projects since September, worth a combined $US14.1 million in funding – according to a DOE spokesperson, Treasury got $3.7 million of that back. And with the appetite among private investors for these projects seemingly on the wane, as the Wall Street Journal reported last Wednesday, things are not looking good. As Inside Climate News points out, it’s private investors who can bankroll the factories that “moonshot” technologies need to deploy.

Among those throwing their support behind ARPA-E, and its role in incubating new technologies, were Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, former Walmart CEO Lee Scott and Susan Hockfield, outgoing president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says the blog. All argued that projects supported by the ARPA-E – which is modeled on a Department of Defense program that helped create the Internet and GPS systems – could change the global energy landscape given more time and funding. And funding, in particular, is what’s lacking.

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Source: Sophie Vorrath | Renew Economy
Image: Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy