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Bill Gates-led investment group targets renewables breakthroughs with US$1 billion fund

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Image: Kjetil Ree/Wikicommons.

Members of the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Coalition have launched a US$1 billion fund to finance emerging clean energy technologies.

‘Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ (BEV) will see members of the coalition, which includes the likes of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Bloomberg CEO Michael Bloomberg and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, co-fund technology breakthroughs which promise to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions to “near-zero” in the coming years.

The fund will work alongside other investors, governments, research institutes and partners in the corporate world to attract top scientists, entrepreneurs and private sector experts to help further develop technologies capable of decarbonising the energy sector.

Gates, chairman of BEV, said the fund’s goal was to help build companies that would “help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable and emissions-free energy to the world”.

It builds upon the Breakthrough Energy Coalition’s establishment last year which coincided with COP21 in Paris.

Jack Ma, executive chairman of the Alibaba Group and co-investor in the fund, said: “When it comes to energy, people say you cannot make money, meet demand, and also benefit the environment. But we can, and we will. This effort will combine technological innovation and scientific knowledge with the investment expertise needed to transform energy markets.”

Mukesh Ambani, chairman and MD of Reliance Industries, said that energy is one of the “critical drivers for economic growth” and the fund would help developing economies in the process.

“It is an immediate need to find and provide new energy sources that are affordable, clean and reliable for every person on our planet. Breakthrough Energy Ventures will help build the companies that can solve and deploy new energy solutions everywhere,” he said.

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