Some of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful individuals are forming a new organization known as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition to invest in technologies that could help solve problems associated with climate change and other clean tech initiatives.
The coalition includes Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg; Alibaba CEO Jack Ma and many others. (Full list below).
The organization is not announcing a specific monetary figure that it plans to invest, but the collective wealth of the inaugural members is in the hundreds of billions of dollars. They plan to invest in a range of technologies that will help “transition the world to a near zero emissions energy future.”
Those areas of investment include electricity generation and storage; transportation; industrial use; agriculture; and energy system efficiency.
“Our primary goal with the Coalition is as much to accelerate progress on clean energy as it is to make a profit,” Gates wrote in a blog post announcing the new effort. The organization says it plans to invest early, wisely and boldly, looking especially at “novel technologies” which are “dramatically more efficient, scalable, or cheaper” than existing technologies.
The group writes:
We are committed to doing our part and filling this capital need by coming together in a new coalition. We will form a network of private capital committed to building a structure that will allow informed decisions to help accelerate the change to the advanced energy future our planet needs. Success requires a partnership of increased government research, with a transparent and workable structure to objectively evaluate those projects, and committed private-sector investors willing to support the innovative ideas that come out of the public research pipeline.
Word of the effort leaked via ClimateWire late last week, with the formal announcement coming tomorrow at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris. More than 160 countries are participating in the conference at which a government-led clean energy effort known as Mission Innovation is being launched.
Here’s a tweet from President Barack Obama on Monday morning:
Addressing climate change takes all of us, especially the private sector going all-in on clean energy worldwide. https://t.co/qQ6wCZUR1Z
— President Obama (@POTUS44) November 30, 2015
In a paper titled — Energy Innovation: Why we need it and how to get it — Gates writes:
It is hard to overstate the impact that clean, affordable, reliable energy will have. It will make most countries energy-independent, stabilize prices, and provide low- and middle-income countries the resources they need to develop their economies and help more people escape poverty—all while keeping global temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees. I am optimistic that the next 15 years can bring the big breakthroughs we need to accomplish all of these things.
This is a fantastic opportunity. It is also an unmistakable challenge. Humans have changed their energy diets before, but never as rapidly as we need to today. Moving this fast is unprecedented, which is all the more reason to start now.
Here’s Gates’ talking about the new effort, and more on the coalition from Bill Gates’ blog:
Here’s a list of the founding members of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition:
Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited
Co-chair, Laura and John Arnold Foundation
Founder, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com
Founder and CEO, Amazon
HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal
Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Alwaleed Philanthropies
Founder, Virgin Group
Founder, Bridgewater Associates
Founder and Chief Executive, Dangote Group
General Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Founder, LinkedIn and Partner, Greylock
Founder, The Children’s Investment Fund
Founder, Khosla Ventures
Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group
Founder and Executive Chairman, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM)
Founder, Iliad Group
Co-founder and Chairman, SAP
Founder and Chairman, Tiger Management
Founding Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital China
Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons
Co-founders, Prelude Ventures
Founder, Chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group Corp.
Chairman, Soros Fund Management LLC
Businessman, Philanthropist, and President, NextGen Climate
Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons
CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Ms. Zhang Xin and Mr. Pan Shiyi
Co-founder and CEO, SOHO China
Chairman, SOHO China
Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan
Founder, Chairman and CEO, Facebook
Pediatrician and CEO, The Primary School
University of California
Office of the Chief Investment Officer