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Commission and Bill Gates launch EUR 100m clean energy investment fund

Commission and Bill Gates launch EUR 100m clean energy investment fund

Moedas - Gates - Juncker - Photo EC

(BRUSSELS) - The EU and Breakthrough Energy signed an agreement Wednesday to set up an investment fund to help innovative European companies develop and bring new clean energy technologies to the market.

The Memorandum of Understanding to establish Breakthrough Energy Europe (BEE) was signed by Bill Gates, Chairman of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, who said: "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."

"Europe must continue to take the lead in tackling climate change head on, at home and across the world," said Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker: "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."

Breakthrough Energy Europe links public funding with long-term risk capital so that clean energy research and innovation can be brought to market faster and more efficiently. With a capitalisation of €100 million, the fund will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency in the areas of electricity, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, and buildings. It isa pilot project that can serve as a model for similar initiatives in other thematic areas.

Breakthrough Energy Europe is expected to be operational in 2019. Half of the equity will come from Breakthrough Energy and the other half from InnovFin – risk-sharing financial instruments funded through Horizon 2020, the EU's current research and innovation programme.

In the margins of the COP21 climate conference in Paris, global leaders launched Mission Innovation, an international partnership to accelerate clean energy innovation and provide a long-term global response to climate challenge.

By joining Mission Innovation, 23 countries and the European Commission (on behalf of the EU) pledged to double their clean energy research and innovation funding to about $30 billion per year by 2021.

On the same occasion, a group of investors from ten countries announced their intention to drive innovation from laboratories to the market by investing long-term capital at unprecedented levels in early-stage technology development in Mission Innovation participating countries, thereby creating the Breakthrough Energy Coalition.

In December 2017, during the One Planet Summit in Paris, Breakthrough Energy announced the piloting of public-private partnerships with five Mission Innovation members, including the European Commission.

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