A ‘who’s who’ of tech billionaires is investing in a clean energy fund to find new ways to generate green power.Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg, and Amazon chief Jezz Bezos are among around 20 investors in the Breakthrough Energy Coalition fund.
They are pooling their cash to fund technology that will increase the world’s energy output – particularly in developing countries – without contributing to global warming.
They say their financial firepower is required because investing in such technology is risky, because of the “nearly impassable Valley of Death between promising concept and viable product”.
Mr Gates, who is worth £52bn, wrote on his blog: “The renewable technologies we have today, like wind and solar, have made a lot of progress and could be one path to a zero-carbon energy future.
“But given the scale of the challenge, we need to be exploring many different paths – and that means we also need to invent new approaches.
“Private companies will ultimately develop these energy breakthroughs, but their work will rely on the kind of basic research that only governments can fund. Both have a role to play.”
In a Facebook post Mr Zuckerberg wrote: “Solving the clean energy problem is an essential part of building a better world.
“We won’t be able to make meaningful progress on other challenges – like educating or connecting the world – without secure energy and a stable climate.
“Yet progress towards a sustainable energy system is too slow, and the current system doesn’t encourage the kind of innovation that will get us there faster.”
Other investors include Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, LinkedIn boss Reid Hoffman, and Alibaba executive chairman Jack Ma.