Bill Gates and more than a dozen of the world’s wealthiest individuals announced yesterday (11 December) that they would open a new $1 billion investment fund to advance development and usage of clean energy production. The fund called “Breakthrough Energy Ventures“ is supported by many technology visionaries from the industry. The objective is to ensure financing for risky and long-term technology projects that could significantly reduce greenhouse emissions. The investment will focus on technologies in electricity generation and storage, agriculture and transportation.
Investors are backed by names such as Jeff Bezos, founder and chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc., Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group Ltd., Jack Ma, the executive chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., John Arnold, a billionaire natural gas trader, and Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, the founder of Kingdom Holding. “I am honored to work along with these investors to build on the powerful foundation of public investment in basic research,” Mr Gates said in a statement. “Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free energy to the world.”
Bill Gates spent much of the last year lobbying for advances in energy production. In his opinion, current available technologies such as nuclear power, solar plants and electric cars are not enough to tackle the global warming on the global scale. “The only way to halt global warming is to find an energy source that produces no greenhouse gases,“ he maintains. “The dearth of venture funding for clean energy technologies threatens to create a valley of death for the industry, with emerging ideas unable to find the necessary capital to reach commercialization,” John Arnold said and added that “as an investor led effort, Breakthrough Energy Ventures is designed as a source of patient capital to spur innovation to meet the growing demand for low-cost, clean energy solutions.”