Finding and funding new energy breakthroughs

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.

Image from Mission Innovation

COP21 has got underway with the heads of state of 19 countries, including the US, UK, China, India, France, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and United Arab Emirates announcing a doubling of national 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, I’m delighted to join Bill Gates, Ratan Tata, George Soros, Tom Steyers, Julian Robertson, Nat Simons, Chris Hohn, Prince Alwaleed of Saudi Arabia, John Doerr and others to launched an investment coalition called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition. The coalition will take the energy technologies of the future through early stage and the valley of death to the path to commercialization.

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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.

A strong partnership between the public and private sectors to find and fund new breakthroughs will be at the heart of successfully tackling climate change. 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.

Image from Carbon War Room

At Virgin, we have long believed in the power of business and partnerships to create energy breakthroughs. Virgin Unite incubated the non-profit Carbon War Room to stimulate business-led market interventions that advance a low-carbon economy, from shipping, building and trucking efficiency programmes to smart island economy initiatives.

Since merging with Rocky Mountain Institute in 2014, the teams have been at the  forefront of accelerating the pace of energy transition by harnessing the power of entrepreneurship. Meanwhile, The B Team are focusing on changing business models to put people and the planet alongside profit. The Virgin Earth Challenge is continuing to seek scalable and sustainable ways of removing greenhouse gases from the air.

Image from Carbon War Room

Many of the key low carbon technologies for the future are already here, from solar to wind power, from battery storage to smart energy efficiency solutions. The investments in finding and funding new technology we have announced today will help to scale and develop these further, creating a better future for all.

Head over to the Breakthrough Energy Coalition and read Bill Gates’ blog on energy and climate change to find out more. 

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