Global billionaires unite in “Breakthrough energy coalition” to support development of zero-carbon energy
As the UN climate conference COP21 opened in Paris, Bill Gates announced the formation of the “Breakthrough energy coalition”, an investment grouping of global billionaires focused on developing the technologies that will create a new zero-carbon energy mix.
While governments play the key role in large-scale funding commitments for basic and applied research, the coalition says in the “Principles” section of its website, current governmental funding levels for clean energy are insufficient to meet the challenge.
It is the private sector that knows how to build companies, to evaluate the potential for success, and to take the risks that lead to taking innovative ideas and bringing them to the world. However, the partners note, in the current business environment, the risk-reward balance for early-stage investing in potentially transformative energy systems is unlikely to meet the market tests of traditional angel or VC investors.
Neither government funding nor conventional private investment have been able consistently to bridge the Valley of Death between promising concept and viable product.
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. These investors will certainly be motivated partly by the possibility of making big returns over the long-term, but also by the criticality of an energy transition. Success will provide the economic proof points necessary for the mainstream market-driven clean energy economy required for our planetary future.—Breakthrough energy coalition
The coalition partners intend to form a network of private capital committed to building a structure that will allow informed decisions to help accelerate the change to the advanced energy future.
The coalition includes:
- Mukesh Ambani, Chairman and Managing Director, Reliance Industries Limited, India
- John Arnold, Co-chair, Laura and John Arnold Foundation, US
- Marc Benioff, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com, US
- Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon, US
- HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Alwaleed Philanthropies, Saudi Arabia
- Richard Branson, Founder, Virgin Group, UK
- Ray Dalio, Founder, Bridgewater Associates, US
- Aliko Dangote, Founder and Chief Executive, Dangote Group, Nigeria
- John Doerr, General Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, US
- Bill Gates, Co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, US
- Reid Hoffman, Founder, LinkedIn and Partner, Greylock, US
- Chris Hohn, Founder, The Children’s Investment Fund, UK
- Vinod Khosla, Founder, Khosla Ventures, US
- Jack Ma, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group, China
- Patrice Motsepe, Founder and Executive Chairman, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), South Africa
- Xavier Niel, Founder, Iliad Group, France
- Hasso Plattner, Co-founder and Chairman, SAP, Germany
- Julian Robertson, Founder and Chairman, Tiger Management, US
- Neil Shen, Founding Managing Partner, Sequoia Capital China, China
- Nat Simons and Laura Baxter-Simons, Co-founders, Prelude Ventures, US
- Masayoshi Son, Founder, Chairman and CEO, SoftBank Group Corp., Japan
- George Soros, Chairman, Soros Fund Management LLC, US
- Tom Steyer, Businessman, Philanthropist, and President, NextGen Climate, US
- Ratan Tata, Chairman Emeritus, Tata Sons, India
- Meg Whitman, CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, US
- Ms. Zhang Xin and Mr. Pan Shiyi, Co-founder and CEO, SOHO China; Chairman, SOHO China
- Mark Zuckerberg and Dr. Priscilla Chan, Founder, Chairman and CEO, Facebook Pediatrician and CEO, The Primary School US
- University of California, Office of the Chief Investment Officer, US