Larry Ellison has huge, impressive plans for the Hawaiian island of Lanai, which he bought in 2012.
It will become “a laboratory for building the next generation two-way power grid, which will be a mix of photo-tech (solar), with a little bit of wind with a backup of liquefied natural gas,” he told attendees at an event in Las Vegas Thursday evening.
The island is a “special case” that can be used “to demonstrate that green energy can be economical,” he explained.
Ellison is CEO of Oracle and the event was held to talk about the company’s HR cloud software. But in the Q&A session, he invited the audience to ask him “anything,” and that was a part of the evening that he clearly relished.
An Oracle employee and Hawaiian native stood up and asked about his long-term plans for Lanai. Since buying the island, Ellison, though his company Lanai Resorts LLC, has also bought two Lanai airlines, refurbished the hotels and invested in everything from wind farms to local businesses.
“I was just looking at the Lanai five-year budget and wow, it’s expensive,” Ellison joked. He’s one of the world’s richest men, worth $41 billion, Forbes estimates.
But his true motive has less to do with running a profitable resort than saving the planet.
Ellison says that North America is not running out of fossil fuels, especially a “transitional energy called liquefied natural gas.”
In the past five years, North America has found 100 years worth of natural gas, he says, and we’re sure to find more. In order to compete, the green energy industry needs someone to show that it can be just as affordable as traditional energy.