Bill Gates to fight climate change with $1b innovation fund

JC Torres - Dec 12, 2016, 1:30 am CST
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Bill Gates to fight climate change with $1b innovation fund

Trump has recently made statements and political moves that clearly show where he stands on the climate change debate. As if on cue, some of the financial heavyweights in the tech industry have are also preparing to make a stand opposite the newly-elected US President, and they are going to put their money where their mouths are. Led by Bill Gates, a new investment fund called the Breakthrough Energy Venture or BEV will use $1 billion over a span of 20 years to drive innovation in the clean energy sector.

If the name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s taken from the Breakthrough Energy Coalition that was announced a little over a year ago. In fact, many of the very same billionaires who joined that coalition are also part of this new venture fund. Joining Bill Gates are Alibaba founder Jack Ma, Reliance Industries chair Mukesh Ambani, and former energy hedge fund manager John Arnold, just to name a few. According to estimates from Bloomberg and Forbes, all the investors have a combined net worth of $170 billion.

This isn’t the first time an investment was made towards clean energy innovation, but it’s definitely the largest and the one with the longest duration. Previous funding rounds only allocated somewhere along the lines of $50 million and expected an ROI in two years. Gates says that it takes a lot more than that to keep the ball rolling.

Details on what areas the BEV will initially focus on are still under wraps but, according to Quartz, energy storage could be one of the first. Gates himself has already personally invested in such a technology, and efficient energy storage opens the door to even bigger breakthroughs in clean energy.

Given recent events, it isn’t too hard to put a political undertone to the BEV announcement. After all, it’s commonly believed that only governments have the resources, particularly money, to invest in such a long-term mission. And since it seems likely that the new administration isn’t going to lean in that direction, it might be up to Gates and his billionaire friends to save the future.


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