The European Commission, in partnership with Breakthrough Energy, a coalition of business leaders, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists led by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair Bill Gates, has announced the launch of a €100 million ($116 million) clean energy investment fund.
A joint investment fund designed to help European companies develop and bring innovative clean-energy technologies to market, Breakthrough Energy Europe is expected to be operational in 2019, with half the equity in the fund coming from Breakthrough Energy and the other half from InnovFin, which is funded through Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation program. In 2016, Breakthrough Energy announced a $1 billion fund in support of zero-carbon clean-energy technologies.
"Europe must continue to take the lead in tackling climate change head on, at home and across the world," said European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker. "We must push for the modernization of Europe's economy and industry in order to meet the ambitious targets put in place to protect our planet. Pooling public and private investment in new, innovative clean energy technology is key to enabling long-term solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If Europe is to have a future that can guarantee the well-being of all its citizens, it will need to be climate-friendly and sustainable."
"We need new technologies to avoid the worst impacts of climate change," said Gates, who chairs Breakthrough Energy. "Europe has demonstrated valuable leadership by making impressive investments in R&D. The scientists and entrepreneurs who are developing innovations to address climate change need capital to build companies that can deliver those innovations to the global market. Breakthrough Energy Europe is designed to provide that capital."