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20 Billionaires join to boost clean energy. Let’s innovate our *sses out of this mess!

20 Billionaires join to boost clean energy. Let’s innovate our *sses out of this mess!
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We need to switch to sustainable energy but it’s going too slow. Smart billionaires to the rescue!

We all know it is extremely urgent to switch to clean energy sources, better today than tomorrow. But the level of Research & Development in de energy sector is far too low. 20+ Billionaires have joined forces to change this. The richest man on earth, Bill Gates, explains all about the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

Bill Gates on what should be done to stimulate clean energy innovation Source: Youtube Bill Gate Notes

$1B to make a beginning

To start with, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition will make $1B available to stimulate more Research & Development. They will focus their efforts on getting governments and the private sector to work together. Public investment can play a key role in innovation, as we have seen with e.g. the Internet which is the result of public spending.

Compared to the IT or Pharmaceutical industry, investment in private Energy R&D is extremely low. Especially given the catastrophic effect it has on our environment.
Private investment in Energy R&D Compared to the IT or Pharmaceutical industry, investment in private Energy R&D is extremely low. Especially given the catastrophic effect it has on our environment. Source: International Energy Agency, Global Gaps in Clean Energy R&D (2010)
The public investment in Energy R&D is also very low, compared to other sectors. Obviously, something needs to change here. And quickly!
Public Sector investment in R&D The public investment in Energy R&D is also very low, compared to other sectors. Obviously, something needs to change here. And quickly! Source: International Energy Agency, Global Gaps in Clean Energy R&D (2010)

Cooperation

The $1B is necessary, but it is not enough. It is key that the private and the public sector work much closer together. We urgently need an ecosystem that allows for big, often risky investments in innovating our way out of this mess. 

Investment Principles

In order to get things moving quickly, the Breakthrough Energy Coalition has developed five principles:

  1. Invest Early. They will bare part of the risk associated with early investment. This will make it more attractive for more traditional investors to provide capital in a later stage. 
  2. Invest Broadly. As we don’t know yet where the best ideas will come from to transition to a near zero-emissions energy future, they invest in sectors ranging from Electricity generation & storage, Transportation, Industrial usage, Agriculture and Energy system efficiency.
  3. Invest Boldly. They look for outliers both in developing novel technologies AND in innovations which enable current technologies to be dramatically more efficient, scalable, or cheaper. 
  4. Invest Wisely. To judge investments lots of expertise will be necessary. They will provide this specialist knowledge through a coalition of the world’s best minds.
  5. Invest Together. Because so many breakthroughs rely on government research, they will focus investments on countries that commit to expanding their funding for research on clean, affordable,reliable energy. The countries that have come together in the Mission Innovation initiative.

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