Skip to Content

Wealthy Investors Target Dramatic Increase in Clean-Energy Funding

Led by Bill Gates, a group of tycoons will put billions of dollars into clean-energy technology.
December 1, 2015

Starting off the Paris climate talks with a bang, an international group of investors headed by Bill Gates announced a new funding initiative, called the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, that will invest in clean-energy technologies. The coalition parallels a new government-backed investment program for clean-energy research and development, called Mission Innovation, that was announced by President Obama and French president Francois Hollande in Paris this week.

Including China, France, Germany, India, the United States, and 15 other countries, Mission Innovation will seek to double government funding for clean-energy R&D over the next five years. The Breakthrough group, meanwhile, will bring together 27 prominent investors, including Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Khosla Ventures founder Vinod Khosla, and billionaire hedge-fund manager turned clean-energy activist Tom Steyer to create a multibillion-dollar fund to bring innovative clean-energy technologies to market.

The need for increased investment is highlighted by the chart above, which shows funding from the U.S. Department of Energy for energy research and development. In 2009, the stimulus package added more than $8 billion in energy research funding—nearly half of it for fossil fuels. Since then research funding has stagnated at around $5 billion a year.

Wedding dramatically increased government funding in basic research on clean-energy technology to private-sector money to bring those technologies to market, the two initiatives could help countries achieve the goal of limiting the rise in global average temperature to 2 °C by 2100—the threshold considered essential to averting the most disastrous effects of climate change.

Keep Reading

Most Popular

This startup wants to copy you into an embryo for organ harvesting

With plans to create realistic synthetic embryos, grown in jars, Renewal Bio is on a journey to the horizon of science and ethics.

VR is as good as psychedelics at helping people reach transcendence

On key metrics, a VR experience elicited a response indistinguishable from subjects who took medium doses of LSD or magic mushrooms.

This nanoparticle could be the key to a universal covid vaccine

Ending the covid pandemic might well require a vaccine that protects against any new strains. Researchers may have found a strategy that will work.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.