Bill Gates and other tech billionaires are investing in a billion-dollar clean energy fund to fight climate change. The new ‘Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ fund directors will include Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, Reid Hoffman, co-founder of LinkedIn, and others. According to digital news outlet Quartz, the directors of the fund have a combined net worth of 170 billion dollars. The fund will focus on projects to reduce emissions and to generate and store renewable energy, adding to the rising momentum of renewable energy around the world.
Gates said, in a Sunday statement:
“I am honored to work along with these investors to build on the powerful foundation of public investment in basic research. Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free energy to the world.”
On his blog, Gates said the fund will invest in “scientific breakthroughs that have the potential to deliver cheap and reliable clean energy to the world.”
In 2015, tech giants including Gates and Mark Zuckerberg created the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, and the recent launch of the BEV fund is a step to allow the coalition to take tangible action to promote renewable energy.
LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman described the goals of the coalition:
“Attempts to solve global problems frequently fail because they require collective action from governments, universities, and the private sector. Producing large-scale, reliable, affordable, and carbon-free energy is one of these key global problems. The swords that cut this Gordian Knot: breakthrough technologies built and deployed by entrepreneurial companies with global scope.”
The new fund will begin to invest in clean energy startups and other companies in 2017.
Gates announced last year that he would personally commit 1 billion dollars to researching clean and renewable energy alternatives. In the 2015 announcement, Gates said:
“In addition to mitigating climate change, affordable clean energy will help fight poverty. If we create the right environment for innovation, we can accelerate the pace of progress, develop and deploy new solutions, and eventually provide everyone with reliable, affordable energy that is carbon free.”
Since Donald Trump’s surprise victory in the US presidential elections in November, many have looked toward the private sector to maintain the momentum of President Obama’s robust climate change legacy.