Bill Gates, EU Commission launch €100 Million Clean Energy Innovation Fund

Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe (BEV-V), a new €100 million clean energy investment fund has been launched by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, led by Bill Gates, the European Commission and European Investment Bank (EIB). Funding for BEV-E will include a €50 million contribution from the European Investment Bank and a €50 million contribution from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an investor-led fund committed to supporting cutting-edge companies in the energy sector. The purpose of the fund, initially launched in October last year, is to invest into firms innovating to reduce carbon emissions in five key energy sectors. These sectors identified by Breakthrough Energy Ventures as the “Grand Challenges” are where the greatest impact on climate change can be made through innovation, namely agriculture, transportation, electricity, manufacturing and building.

Bill Gates, chairman of Breakthrough Energy Ventures has said the fund “is a great example of driving innovative ways for the private and public sector to collaborate, deploy capital, and build companies. We have the resources to make a meaningful difference, and the flexibility to move quickly. That’s a rare and powerful combination”. The fund forms part of the Mission Innovation initiative, created at the Paris Summit in 2015 where 23 countries and the European Commission (on behalf of the EU) pledged to double their clean energy research and innovation funding by 2021.

Maroš Šefčovič, vice president of the Commission for the Energy Union said that “Business as usual is not an option. We need to boost our investments with more than 500 billion euro each year to achieve a carbon neutral economy by 2050”. According to Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, “By setting up the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe fund in record time, we are delivering on our commitment to boost public-private investments in clean energy innovation. It is only through joining forces across sectors and continents that we can tackle climate change and build a sustainable future”. Investments are expected to start in the second half of 2019.

Nigeria has come a long way in public-private partnerships in the energy sector but there is still a long way to go as we are still heavily dependent on hydrocarbon based energy sources. Partnerships in the model of BEV-E can actually provide a tipping point to launch the country towards net zero emission.

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