EU partners with Bill Gates to fund clean energy investments

The first of its kind, the fund caters to the capital intensity and long development horizons that energy technologies need

Photo: European Commission Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank responsible for innovation

A new €100m investment fund, dubbed Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe (BEV-E), was established by the European Commission in partnership with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Bill Gates' Breakthrough Energy Ventures during the Fourth Mission Innovation Ministerial meeting in Vancouver, Canada.          

As stated by the EU Commission's press service, the funding for BEV-E will include a €50m contribution from the European Investment Bank guaranteed by InnovFin, a financial instrument funded through the EU's research and innovation programme, as well as a €50m contribution from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an investor-led fund committed to supporting cutting-edge companies in the energy sector. 

The total amount of €100m would be now invested in five major energy-related sectors where efforts are essential in fighting climate change: electricity, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings, with the aim of supporting Europe's best clean energy entrepreneurs whose solutions can deliver significant and lasting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

“Successfully tackling climate change needs CO2-neutral energy production – and we do not have much time to achieve this. Deployment of cutting-edge technologies must be accelerated. This financing will allow new technology to replace fossil-intensive energy generation. The European Investment Bank is pleased to work with world class partners to support the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe fund,” Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank responsible for innovation said in a statement today.

“By setting up the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe fund in record time, we are delivering on our commitment to boost public-private investments in clean energy innovation,” Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation added.

Meanwhile, in a seperate statement Bill Gates, Chairman of Breakthrough Energy Ventures described the newly launched fund as "a great example of driving innovative ways for the private and public sectors to collaborate, deploy capital, and build companies." 
"We have the resources to make a meaningful difference, and the flexibility to move quickly. That's a rare and powerful combination,” he continued.

The new fund will contribute to fulfilling the EU's commitments outlined in the Commission's “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, including proposals designed to support clean energy innovation, increase energy efficiency, boost renewable energy usage and reform the European energy market. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU have adopted all proposals from the package. Investments are now expected to start in the second half of 2019, at which time EU Member States and countries associated with Horizon 2020 will be eligible to apply for BEV-E funding.

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