Nearly two dozen of the world’s most successful business leaders, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists will invest up to $1 billion in a fund led by Microsoft-co-founder Bill Gates that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by financing emerging clean energy technology.
Gates launched the Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund on Monday along with billionaire entrepreneurs such as Facebook Inc (FB.O) head Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, and Branson, BEV’s board and investors include the co-founder of LinkedIn, Reid Hoffman; Jack Ma, the executive chairman of China’s Alibaba Group; and Hasso Plattner, the co-founder & chairman of Germany’s , to name but a few.
According to estimates of individual wealth by Bloomberg and Forbes, BEV’s directors have a combined net worth of almost US$170 billion.
The BEV fund will invest across several sectors: electricity generation and storage, transportation, industrial use, agriculture, and energy system efficiency. The investors would be looking for both novel technology developers and those who strive to make technology dramatically cheaper, more scalable, or more efficient. Rapid scaling potential would be the key investment factor, it said in its principles and approach to future investment.
Last year Gates helped launch a public-private partnership focused on scaling up investment in new and riskier clean technology that often faces steep hurdles to commercialization.
“The dialogue with the new administration as it comes in about how they see energy research will be important...the general idea that research is a good deal fortunately is not a partisan thing,” Gates told Quartz.
It should not come as surprise that Bill Gates is leading such a venture into clean energy. Microsoft Corporation said last month that it was in the process of converting its datacenter in Cheyenne Wyoming to rely entirely on wind energy.