Bill Gates, European Union pledge $1 billion boost for low-carbon technology
The European Union and Breakthrough Energy, an energy investment programme founded by Bill Gates have announced that they plan to raise $1 billion to roll out the low-carbon technologies. Europe is betting on meeting its climate change goals, the European Commission said.
The partnership would see Gates-founded Breakthrough Energy use private capital and philanthropic funds to match funding provided by the EU. The aim is to collectively provide up to 820 million euros, or $1 billion, between 2022-2026.
The support will target hydrogen produced from renewable energy, sustainable aviation fuels, technology to suck CO2 out of the atmosphere, and long-duration energy storage, the Commission said.
Those technologies are seen as critical to lowering emissions from sectors like heavy industry and aviation but remain too expensive to scale up without support and compete with cheaper fossil fuel alternatives.
"Decarbonizing the global economy is the greatest opportunity for innovation the world has ever seen," Gates said in a statement, adding that Europe will play a "critical" role thanks to its climate ambitions and leadership in science and technology.
"The world cannot wait for technologies to develop on their own," the Commission said. The EU has dedicated itself to eradicating its net greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
The investments will emphasize building large-scale commercial demonstration projects to reduce the cost of the technologies.
They will comprise grants and other financial instruments, with the EU contribution coming from existing funds including the bloc's budget and the EU Innovation Fund, consisting of cash from sales of permits in the bloc's carbon market.