Bill Gates and group of tech heavyweights announce $1 billion clean energy fund

On the same day that President-elect Donald Trump doubled down on his doubts about climate change, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates countered with an announcement of a $1 billion fund dedicated clean energy innovation.

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Although an official announcement from Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) has yet to appear on the organization's website, Gates took to Twitter on Sunday to point the public to an early discussion of the fund. 

"People think you can just put $50 million in and wait two years and then you know what you got. In this energy space, that’s not true at all," Gates told Quartz. "Anything that leads to cheap, clean, reliable energy we’re open-minded to." 

Among the board members of BEV are Gates, Alibaba founder Jack Ma, and renowned tech investors John Doerr and Vinod Khosla. 

And as if those names weren't enough in terms of drumming up innovation firepower, BEV's list of investors also includes Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Masayoshi Son (Softbank), Richard Branson (Virgin Group), Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn), just to name a few. 

Collectively, the members of the group are worth about $170 billion, according to the report. And while just a fraction of that wealth will be devoted to the clean energy innovation project, compared to most investment funds, BEV's war chest is massive.  

As for Trump, who is said to be considering an Exxon veteran for a top post in his administration, Gates sounds like he is ready for the challenge. 

"The dialogue with the new administration as it comes in about how they see energy research will be important," said Gates, just days before Trump is scheduled to meet with some of the biggest leaders in tech and innovation. "The general idea that research is a good deal fortunately is not a partisan thing."

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