Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have launched a multi-billion-dollar clean energy fund in the hopes of increasing renewable energy adoption around the world. The initiative is being funded by a team of the world’s richest entrepreneurs, with Gates, Zuckerberg, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma and Richard Branson joining the ranks of around 30 high profile investors.
The aim of this clean energy fund is to cut the high prices of renewable energy, one of the main hurdles inhibiting the the sector’s progression over fossil fuels. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition was announced this week at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris and aims to unite the powers of governments, universities, billionaire entrepreneurs, investment fund managers and CEOs from around the world.
The clean energy fund has emerged as a solution to growing pressure for investment in sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels, with a strong focus on making renewables more financially accessible.
Clean Energy – It’s Not Just Good For The World, It’s Good For Business
Gates and his fellow investors have acknowledged that in order to attract, much needed investment in the project, a focus on a sustainable business model is as important as the social and environmental goals. The clean energy fund is designed to generate profit for investors on one end and drive prices of sustainable energy down on the other.
“If you could change the price of one thing to really lift up the lives of the poorest people everywhere it would be the price of energy” said Bill Gates. The clean energy fund has attracted billions of dollar in investments not just due to the positive global impacts it has, but equally due to the attractive return on investment renewable energy offers.
Bill Gates has advocates the positives of financial incentives to encourage investors as an extremely powerful tool for positive change in other areas as well as a more sustainable one. It’s a win win. Gates says the central goal of The Breakthrough Energy Coalition is as much to boost clean energy globally as it is to make a profit.
“I am optimistic that we can invent the tools we need to generate clean, affordable, reliable energy that will help the poorest improve their lives and also stop climate change” said Gates.
What’s Holding Clean Energy Back?
The answer is simple – money.
The clean energy fund’s investments will be guided by research from leading universities and research institutions, focusing on technologies like solar, wind, hydro, and biofuels.
The issues holding these technologies back has not been one of science and progress, but one of funding. Gates explained that clean energy technology simply needs cash to get off the ground, which is where the Breakthrough Energy Coalition plays a central role.
“What we need to do is fund the researchers who are looking at the early stages of [climate change]” said Gates in a statement.
“That’s what gives us a chance at not giving up energy usage and not damaging the environment” he added.
Mark Zuckerberg made a statement on Facebook stating that “progress towards a sustainable energy system is too slow, and the current system doesn’t encourage the kind of innovation that will get us there faster”.
“We already invest in renewable and clean energy for our Facebook facilities today, but we believe that building a positive future for the next generation also means investing in long-term projects that companies and governments don’t fund” he added.
These long-term projects are already being advocated by developing nations like India, who are pushing for international financial support to reduce their carbon emissions.
Photo courtesy of Suzie Katz