Bill Gates’ Energy Fund Expands into Climate Adaption and Later-Stage Projects

To better assist clean-tech businesses in building plants and scaling up their innovations Bill Gates’ climate-oriented venture capital fund is broadening its purpose by adding adaptation as an investment category and launching a later-stage fund.

The October 19 statement occurred at the close of the company’s Breakthrough Energy Summit in Seattle.

By investing in businesses that aim to reduce climate pollution in energy generation, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and food production, Breakthrough has thus far addressed only one of its “five major problems.”

All of these actions contribute to the larger goal of reducing global warming. The term “climate adaptation” is used to describe efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change by enhancing existing safeguards.

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It is becoming increasingly evident that adaptation will need to play a big role as global emissions continue to rise and the earth continues to warm, according to Eric Toone, technical lead for Breakthrough Energy Ventures’ investment committee.

Referring to the statement by John Holdren, former science advisor to President Barack Obama, that we have three options for responding to climate change: mitigation, adaptation, or suffering, he remarked, “Mitigation’s just not going to get us there fast enough, and suffering is unacceptable.”

Even while “mitigation” will still be a priority, “adaptation” will be added to the mix, as stated by Toone.

Bill Gates
Bill Gates

The business will concentrate on various fronts, one of which is developing technologies to aid farmers and communities in their fight against frequent and severe droughts, such as cutting-edge desalination equipment and systems that extract moisture from the air. Another will be assisting crops in maintaining productivity in a warming, drying, or wetter world, perhaps through indoor farming and genetic modification.

Toone stated that Breakthrough would also look into measures to fortify the infrastructure of global ports in the face of rising seas and more intense storms. Dynamic mooring systems that automatically adjust to storm surges, cranes that can operate safely in hotter and harsher circumstances, and ships that are more robust could all be promising areas for investment in this region.

According to recent statements made by Gates to Bloomberg and confirmed at the energy event on Tuesday, these new investment areas would be implemented under Breakthrough Energy’s future fund, which the firm is in the process of raising. The size and completion date have not been disclosed by the corporation. To this day, Breakthrough has successfully raised two funds totaling close to $1 billion.

The Select later-stage fund is intended to help enterprises move forward with demonstration projects by providing “large-scale, follow-on” funding. These are designed for large-scale, pre-commercial technology testing and optimization. Toone has stated that the bulk of the funds will be allocated to the companies already in the Breakthrough portfolio.

Temasek a Singaporean holding company will contribute to the new fund. Temasek has previously invested in several other firms in the firm’s portfolio. Neither the size of this fund nor any more investors have been declared by Breakthrough as of yet.

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