EU teams up with Bill Gates to launch $115.2 million clean energy investment fund

  • Pilot fund will be used to help businesses bring clean energy technologies to market.
  • Bill Gates says new technologies are needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
A wind turbine in Nibas, northern France.
Charly Triballeau | AFP | Getty Images
A wind turbine in Nibas, northern France.

The European Commission has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy to set up a joint investment fund called Breakthrough Energy Europe (BEE).

In a statement Wednesday, the Commission said the 100 million-euro ($115.2 million) fund would be used to help "innovative European companies develop and bring radically new clean energy technologies to the market."

Breakthrough Energy Ventures is an investor-led fund with over $1 billion in committed capital to build "cutting edge companies" to help stop climate change. Its chairman is Bill Gates.

In a statement Wednesday, Gates said that new technologies were needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Europe, Gates added, had demonstrated valuable leadership by making "impressive" investments in research and development.

"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," he said. "Breakthrough Energy Europe is designed to provide that capital."

The Commission said the new fund would focus on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and the promotion of energy efficiency in "the areas of electricity, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, and buildings." It described BEE as a pilot project that could act as a model for similar initiatives in other thematic areas.

The Commission's president, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that pooling public and private investment in new and innovative clean energy technology was "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."