US billionaire Bill Gates has teamed up with other business leaders, including Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma, to launch a US$1 billion clean-technology fund.
The fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, will start investing next year in companies developing low-cost, low-carbon technologies, The Wall Street Journal reports.
It will pour money into firms that have promising experimental technologies in power generation and storage, transportation, industrial applications, agriculture and energy system efficiency.
Apart from Gates and Ma, the fund is supported by Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos and LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman, among others, according to the report.
The venture is an offshoot of a larger group called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition that has pledged to invest in clean-energy technologies.
Members include billionaires Tom Steyer, George Soros and Richard Branson, and the University of California.
Reducing the cost of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, and making it cheaper to add more of this power to the grid are areas the fund would likely support, the Journal quoted Gates as saying in an interview.
“Many people aren’t willing or able to pay a huge premium (for clean energy), beyond what they pay for hydrocarbon energy,” Mr. Gates said. “The way you get to success is to get lower carbon energy at a lower cost.”
While current clean-energy technologies should be used as much as possible, the technologies that will enable the US and the world’s other major economies to to zero by 2050 will be invented in the next 10 to 20 years, Gates said.
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