Bill Gates is investing in clean energy. He’s joining up with nearly 30 other billionaires, from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg to Virgin Group’s Richard Branson, to form a new clean energy investment group. Their goal: a world where clean energy is not more expensive than today’s hydrocarbon energy.
Gates’s initiative, called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, was announced at this month’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris. The coalition will fund early-stage companies that are working on new technology to make clean energy available to everyone.
While there have been some advances in zero-carbon technology, energy companies tend to under-invest in new energy solutions. Research into energy technology can take decades to play out, with little reward for investors. By comparison, pharmaceutical companies can know within a couple of years whether their research and development investments will pay off.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition hopes to reduce the risks associated with funding R&D by forming private-public partnerships to support a wide variety of energy innovations. The coalition will make investments across an array of sectors, including electricity generation and storage, transportation, industrial use, agriculture and energy system efficiency. This investment strategy will give a variety of creative but yet unproven energy solutions a chance to succeed. Once the investments are de-risked, Gates expects that other private entities will invest in later stages.
“The renewable technologies we have today, like wind and solar, have made a lot of progress and could be one path to a zero-carbon energy future. But given the
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