Gates, Bezos and more launch $1B clean energy tech fund - Smart Energy Decisions

Demand Management, Distributed Generation, Finance, Solar, Wind  -  December 13, 2016

Gates, Bezos launch $1B clean energy tech fund

A group of high profile investors including Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos have launched a fund of more than $1 billion to finance emerging clean energy technologies.

The members of the group, called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, said in a Dec. 12 news release that the fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, will "invest in innovative companies to deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free energy, agriculture, and goods to people around the world."

Quartz reported Dec. 11 that fund, which has a 20-year duration, aims to invest in the commercialization of new technologies that reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in areas including electricity generation and storage, transportation, industrial processes, agriculture  and energy system efficiency.

"Anything that leads to cheap, clean, reliable energy we're open-minded to," Quartz reported Gates, who is chairman of the fund, as saying. 

According to the Breakthrough Energy Ventures news release, the fund intends to collaborate with other investors, governments, research institutions and corporate partners to craft internal scientific expertise, a long-term horizon, and a tolerance and understanding of the investment risks required to transform energy markets. The fund says its mission, experience and global networks of its investors will allow it to attract the best scientists, entrepreneurs, and private sector experts to guide the fund's trajectory. 

"It is extremely exciting for us to launch this fund as the next step in the commitment made by the
Breakthrough Energy Coalition last year," Gates said in a statement. "I am honored to work along with these investors to build on the powerful foundation of public investment in basic research." 

The fund's board of directors include Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, former energy hedge fund manager John Arnold, and SAP SE cofounder Hasso Plattner, according to the release. Quartz reported that the combined net worth of the directors is nearly $170 billion, based on estimates of their individual wealth by Bloomberg and Forbes.


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