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As the world´s population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, energy demands are expected to double during the same timespan. Hence, faced with the proportional increase in the consumption of energy, the challenge of emissions, the corresponding climate change and overall sustainability grows in sereneness and importance.
For this reason, Bill Gates, Microsoft-founder, investor and Forbes number one richest person in the world, gathered fellow like-minded investors, business leaders and entrepreneurs to tackle the issue of climate change by founding the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.
In December 2016, Mr. Gates announced the launch of the Breakthrough Energy Venture, an energy investment fund of more than $ 1 billion to invest in scientific breakthroughs that have the potential to deliver cheap and reliable clean energy to the world. Among the other investors in the fund are Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, founder & CEO of Amazon, Michael Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani.
Differentiating them from other funds, is their willingness to wait for longer periods of time for a return on their investment and have a higher tolerance for risk as it is tough to determine which technology might succeed, even for such an experienced group of investors.
Supported by companies like Southern Co. and oil and gas company Total in addition to the investors, the fund aims to back technologies the industry will adopt.
In his blog, Mr. Gates laid out five grand challenges which, – as he predicts – will most strongly influence the energy industry’s future:
The Coalition further partners with Mission Innovation, and initiative of more than 20 countries and the European Union, which is determined to double their investment in clean energy research and development in the next five years. This public-private collaboration might give momentum to the clean energy movement, which requires an extensive amount of time, capital and infrastructure to succeed.
Global energy consumption has surged just as traditional energy sources have gotten harder and more expensive to obtain. Investment opportunities thrive among companies that respond with new and better methods of exploration, discovery, production and distribution of both traditional and alternative energy technologies.
By creating the Breakthrough Energy Investment fund, Mr. Gates has not only addressed the topic of renewable energy in America at an uncertain time, but also expressed his believe in the industries future.
Thomas Helige, 12. January 2017, 14:29