Bill Gates and a group of international investors are pouring billions of dollars into clean energy.
Microsoft’s co-founder will announce the new plan at the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a climate change summit in Paris that will also be attended by President Obama and French President Francois Hollande.
The new fund includes more than two dozen public and private entities — including national governments, billionaire philanthropists, investment fund managers and tech CEOs.
“The renewable technologies we have today, like wind and solar, have made a lot of progress and could be one path to a zero-carbon energy future. But given the scale of the challenge, we need to be exploring many different paths — and that means we also need to invent new approaches,” Gates said in a statement.
The funders backers are impressive. Included in the plan are Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, HP CEO Meg Whitman, and Virgin Group chairman Richard Branson.
As part of the plan more than a dozen governments have also announced plans to double their spending on carbon-free energy development over the next five years.
“Private companies will ultimately develop these energy breakthroughs, but their work will rely on the kind of basic research that only governments can fund,” Gates added.
There is no fundraising goal for private investors in the Gates initiative. But the fund represents billions in money to seed promising ideas in large-scale clean energy production.
The fund plans to invest in five key areas: electricity generation and storage, transportation, industrial uses, agriculture, and projects that make energy systems more efficient.