The European Commission has announced a partnership with Bill Gates to fund sustainable energy, with the intent to open up new investments for clean technologies and sustainable energy plans. The deal totals up to $1 billion or €820 million, to be doled out over five years, beginning 2022 all the way to 2026.
The project is solely focused on the EU and will start with four sectors that are getting priority, for their potential to substantially greater change.
The areas of focus are direct air capture, green hydrogen, long-duration energy storage, and sustainable aviation fuel alternatives.
The EU doing its best
The overall goal is to lower the cost and accelerate the deployment of clean tech to deliver on the agreed-upon goals of the Paris Agreement. The bloc emits a lot of CO2 but has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, under what they are calling the European Green Deal.
Gates is involved in this because of his Breakthrough Energy vehicle which he founded in 2015. He believes that renewables alone will not be enough to avoid the catastrophic climate change we are about to experience.
Governments and billionaires
Gates has, for good reason, been a proponent of investing in high-risk but high-reward technologies that can change more. However, given that it takes a long time for those kinds of investments to make returns, public-private partnerships seem like a great way to go.
Combining government-backing and money with the deep pockets and entrepreneurial motives of billionaires will speed up the process.
Even Ursula von der Leyen, the EU president, lauded it in her statement, as did Gates.