Delighted to be part of a new investment fund that will invest more than $1 billion in next generation energy technologies. Breakthrough Energy Ventures will focus upon backing early stage and growth companies aimed at delivering the next generation of reliable, affordable and emissions-free energy, agriculture and goods to people around the world.
The fund is the next step in the commitment made by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which I joined last year. Both the Coalition and the Fund are led by my friend Bill Gates, and include many influential investors committed to investing in technology to help solve the urgent energy and climate challenges facing us all.
The launch of the fund, a year after the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement, comes at an important time as we try to accelerate the uptake of clean energy throughout the world. The sustainable energy revolution is well underway, but we need new tools and solutions to help us reduce our carbon output and continue moving in the right direction.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures is a wonderful way to expand this effort. It will be a 20-year fund, allowing for long-term, patient and flexible investment, taking larger risks as we search for significant solutions – which could have the potential of greater payoffs for investors, entrepreneurs, and society.
At Virgin, our investment strategy has long included opportunities in the renewable energy sector and also energy efficiency. One recent investment I’m very excited about is our purchase of BMR Energy, a developer, manager and owner of energy generation projects in the Caribbean and Central America. The company currently has a 36 MW onshore wind park in Jamaica, with additional projects in the region in the pipeline. We’re continuing to explore further investments in this area.
Meanwhile, we have also focused upon investing in research, especially through our incubation of the Carbon War Room, now a part of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the Virgin Earth Challenge. As well as these not-for-profit ventures, there are many efforts around the Virgin Group to reduce our energy consumption. We are also aiming to trial new technologies such as Virgin Atlantic and LanzaTech’s partnership in testing renewable future renewable fuels.
The world is demanding more energy and goods than ever before, which presents us with a significant challenge. At Virgin and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, we see this as a significant opportunity.