As Trump continues to nominate people who will make fossil fuels great again, another group of billionnaires are making it clear that their vote is for clean energy.
This weekend, Breakthrough Energy Ventures officially launched, with Bill Gates as Chair. 20 of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs are investing in the $1 billion fund, including Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn, Alibaba Group Chair Jack Ma and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.
“Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free energy to the world,” says Bill Gates, who spearheaded the fund.
Over the next 20 years, the fund will invest in startups that can spark a “new economic revolution” based on clean energy. Ranging from electricity generation and storage to agriculture, manufacturing and transportation, it will provide “patient capital”, rather than seek quick, big returns.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has long called for more emphasis and vastly more dollars for clean energy research, saying we need “miracle” technologies – on the order of the automobile – to prevent climate catastrophe.
He’s already spent about $1 billion to help 30 start-ups get off the ground, and plans to spend a billion more.
Biggest R&D Partnership Between Government, Private Sector Ever
First revealed at the 2015 Paris Climate Summit, this is biggest R&D partnership between government and the private sector ever.
22 governments plus the EU – including the US, China and India – formed “Mission Innovation,” pledging to double investments in basic clean energy research, to reach about $20 billion in five years.
In return, Breakthrough Energy Ventures promised to invest in early-stage companies that emerge from those government research programs, to get their promising technologies into the marketplace.
For the US, that means doubling the $5 billion budget for basic energy research, which has been languishing under cuts demanded by the Republican majority.
The question is, won’t clean energy research languish much more under Trump and a continuing Republican majority in the House and Senate?
Here’s the Breakthrough Energy Ventures website: