NEW YORK, 1 DECEMBER 2015: Heads of state of 20 countries, including the U.S., UK, China, India, France, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and United Arab Emirates announced a doubling of national research and development (R&D) spend to $20 billion on the energy solutions of the future. This initiative is open to other countries to join, and builds on the G7 announcement earlier this year.
At the same time, Bill Gates announced that 25 billionaires including Ratan Tata, George Soros, Sir Richard Branson, Tom Steyer, Julian Robertson, Nat Simons, Chris Hohn, Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia, John Doerr, and others have launched an investment coalition called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (www.breakthroughenergycoalition.com) to take the energy technologies of the future through early-stage development and the valley of death to the path to commercialization.
“The world needs to be carbon neutral by 2050. This CAN and HAS to be achieved by governments, business, and others coming together to create an energy revolution. The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will help make this a reality,” said Sir Richard Branson.
“The next decade presents a great opportunity to invest in businesses and technology aimed at tackling climate change. We must produce an abundance of clean, renewable energy and drive further innovation to make the next generation of energy more efficient. It will benefit the environment, our society, and the economy.”
“Climate change is the challenge of our generation, but solving this crisis is an incredible opportunity to innovate and lead the world. Many of the solutions are already at hand, but now—more than ever—we need a strong partnership between the public and private sectors to support the pioneering R&D that will accelerate our transition to a fully clean energy economy,” said Tom Steyer, President, NextGen Climate.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition will be a new model, public-private partnership between governments, research institutions, and investors. Scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs can invent and scale the innovative technologies that will limit the impact of climate change while providing affordable and reliable energy to everyone. The coalition was set up in response to the flaws of the existing system of basic research, clean energy investment, regulatory frameworks, and subsidies that fail to sufficiently mobilize investment in truly transformative energy solutions.
“At Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room, we have been working on accelerating the pace of the energy transition for many years. We believe that business must play a key role and we work with many of the energy entrepreneurs of the future. The role of funding and capital in that transition is crucial. We are delighted to see so many governments and business leaders step up to finance the energy revolution, and we stand ready to offer our help,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO, Rocky Mountain Institute and Carbon War Room.
Experience indicates that even the most promising ideas face daunting commercialization challenges between promising concept and viable product, which neither government funding nor conventional private investment can bridge. This collective failure can be addressed, in part, by a dramatically scaled up public research pipeline, linked to a different kind of private investor with a long-term commitment to new technologies who is willing to put truly patient flexible risk capital to work.
“We welcome this initiative, and urge that it focus on those technologies proven by analysis and deep experience to be the most potentially effective to complement and accelerate existing techniques,” said Amory Lovins, chief scientist and co-founder, Rocky Mountain Institute.
“We believe that many of the key technologies for the energy future have been identified. Solar is rapidly becoming ubiquitous and cheap, wind is already the cheapest way to generate power, battery storage is well on its way, and technologies for smart energy efficiency are now everywhere. The investments announced today will make these technological building blocks of a sustainable future better, cheaper, and faster available. Rapid scaling the deployment of these improved low-carbon technologies of the future will be key,” continued Kortenhorst.
Over the next twelve months, the Coalition will work together to develop effective and creative mechanisms to analyze potential investments coming out of the research pipeline, create investment vehicles to facilitate those investments, and expand the community of investors who join us in this endeavor.
Countries signing up include: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition currently includes: Mukesh Ambani, John Arnold, Marc Benioff, Jeff Bezos, HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Sir Richard Branson, Ray Dalio, Aliko Dangote, John Doerr, Bill Gates, Reid Hoffman, Chris Hohn, Vinod Khosla, Jack Ma, Patrice Motsepe, Xavier Niel, Hasso Plattner, Julian Robertson, Neil Shen, Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons, Masayoshi Son, and George Soros.