Bill Gates Introduces Clean Enrgy Fund With The Others

By klaireaustria

Dec 16, 2016 10:09 AM EST

Bill Gates, Microsoft Corp. co-founder said Monday that he and other business leaders are launching a $1 billion clean-technology fund that will start investing next year in companies developing low-cost, low-carbon technologies.

The fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, aims to invest in firms that have promising experimental technologies in power generation and storage, transportation, industrial applications, agriculture and energy system efficiency.

Fellow investors include Inc. Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, LinkedIn Corp. Chairman Reid Hoffman, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Chairman Jack Ma, and retired hedge fund manager John Arnold.

The fund is an offshoot of a larger group called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition that has pledged to invest in clean-energy technologies. Members include billionaires Tom Steyer, George Soros and Richard Branson, and the University of California.

Reducing the cost of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, and making it cheaper to add more of this power to the grid are areas the fund would likely support, Mr. Gates said in an interview.

While current clean-energy technologies should be used as much as possible, the technologies that will enable the U.S. and the world's other major economies to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 will be invented in the next 10 to 20 years, Mr. Gates added.

Although investing in early-stage companies is risky, fund investors expect to make a profit, citing opportunities in the $6 trillion global energy market. The goal is to invest in technologies that, when installed on a large scale, have the potential to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 500 million metric tons.

Mr. Gates said that he and other investors want to convince the Trump administration to maintain or increase government funding for energy research and development.The fund could boost early-stage investment in clean technology companies.

U.S. venture-capital equity financing has fallen for new energy and other clean technology companies, to $2.2 billion this year through September, from $5.7 billion in 2011, according to Dow Jones VentureSource.

More investment in next-generation technologies, such as power storage, could help solve some of the problems that come from generating more power from wind and sunshine, some energy industry participants and analysts said.

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