Bill Gates Raises More Than $1 Billion for Clean Energy Technology

Kimberly Redmond  |

Video source: YouTube, Bloomberg Markets and Finance

Breakthrough Energy, a non-profit launched by billionaire philanthropist and Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT) co-founder Bill Gates in 2016, has raised a warchest from seven leading global corporations to further the organization’s mission of reaching a net-zero emissions society by 2050. 

On Monday, Breakthrough Energy announced that it has secured investments from American Airlines Inc (NYSE: AAL), ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT), Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), The BlackRock Foundation, Boston Consulting Group, General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) and Microsoft.

While Breakthrough Energy did not disclose the overall size of investments, Bloomberg News reported the figure as more than $1 billion. 

The funding will support the newly-created Breakthrough Energy Catalyst initiative, which seeks to finance, produce and acquire technology that will support the transition to a zero-carbon economy. 

The program aims to reduce the costs of clean technologies, so that solutions such as green hydrogen, energy storage, direct air capture and sustainable aviation fuel, can replace their greenhouse gas emitting counterparts. 

In a statement Monday, Gates said that, in order to avert a climate disaster, the world needs “a new industrial revolution.”

“Half the technology needed to get to zero emissions either doesn’t exist yet or is too expensive for much of the world to afford,” Gates said. “Catalyst is designed to change that and provide an effective way to invest in our clean technology future.”

“By working with this growing community of private and public partners, Catalyst will take a global view of the energy innovation landscape – the key technologies, leading-edge companies, financing partners, and pivotal policies – and fund the projects that will have the greatest positive impact for our planet,” Gates added.

Larry Fink, chief executive officer and chairman of BlackRock, said the global energy transition — which will require an estimated $50 trillion — is “the shared responsibility of every citizen, corporation, and government.”

“Our partnership with the Catalyst program represents a five-year philanthropic commitment to invest in cutting-edge science that will help bring vital clean energy solutions forward,” Fink said.

Aditya Mittal, chief executive officer of ArcelorMittal, the world's leading steel and mining company, said efforts like Breakthrough Energy Catalyst are “critical” for the company and the wider steel industry.

“The steel industry knows how to decarbonize – essentially what is missing is the availability of clean energy at competitive prices that provides the foundation for us to really accelerate,” Mittal said.

American Airlines chairman and chief executive officer Doug Parker said, “We have an ambitious vision of a low-carbon future for our airline and a plan to match, but we know our own efforts can only get us so far.”

“By working in partnership with Catalyst, we’re helping accelerate and scale our industry’s nascent solutions, like sustainable aviation fuel, along with other technologies that will be necessary to reduce emissions from aviation and across the economy,” Parker stated.

Other tech billionaires, like founder Jeff Bezos and Tesla chief executive officer Elon Musk, have also invested heavily in efforts to tackle climate change.


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