What Bill Gates’ clean energy fund means for the U.S. and other Asian producers
IF you’ve ever wondered what the ultimate all-star team would look like, Bill Gates’ new clean energy-focused fund would be it.
The Microsoft co-founder, alongside industry heavyweights such as Jeff Bezos, Jack Ma, Richard Branson, and Masayoshi Son, will be putting in a collective billion dollars towards the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund. The fund is basically run by a slew of climate change-conscious billionaires, as the cumulative wealth of the fund’s investors is around US$170 billion and they’ll start making investments by next year.
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The fund comes at a worrying time in the clean energy research space as president-elect Donald Trump and his inner circle have been extremely vocal in their climate change denial. Many are also worried that Trump will make good on his promise to undo any climate change-related policies that Obama has implemented over the years, including the Clean Power Plan.
“I do think the most bipartisan piece of energy policy has been a commitment to energy R&D. So if your framework for looking at where the government should do more is where it’s a good deal for American leadership and jobs, I actually think there is some upside. I think in the R&D space we may see more investment,” Gates told Bloomberg. “The dialogue with the new administration as it comes in about how they see energy research will be important,” he added.
Besides convincing the Trump administration that climate change is real and that clean energy policies should be put into place to reflect the urgent global situation, Gates’ new fund will also be important in keeping the United States competitive with other countries. China is currently the world’s top producer of renewable energy by a long shot, with the U.S. in a distant second place.
— Roberto A. González (@robertoglezcano) November 29, 2016
Another Asian superpower is also creeping up the charts in the clean energy space. With the introduction of its new solar farm, which now takes the top spot over California’s Topaz Farm, India is set to become the world’s third largest producer of solar energy.
Under the Trump administration and potential undoing of the Clean Power Plan, the US cannot afford any backslides in its move towards a cleaner technological future – which is why the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Fund and its influential set of directors will play an important role in the years to come.