Bill Gates and the European Commission have announced a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the establishment of Breakthrough Energy Europe (BEE).
The investment fund is directed at propelling European companies working on new clean energy technologies to market maturity. According to a statement made by the European Commission, the €100 million financial vehicle would be used to reduce greenhouse gases in electricity, transport, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings.
The commission said half of the equity will be sourced from the Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Coalition, with the other half from InnovFin, a European Investment Bank (EIB) financial tool operating to further the bloc’s Horizon 2020 ambitions. The commission says it expects the financial instrument to become operational in 2019.
“Europe must continue to take the lead in tackling climate change head on, at home and across the world. We must push for the modernization of Europe's economy and industry in order to meet the ambitious targets put in place to protect our planet.” Said EC President Jean-Claude Juncker. “Pooling public and private investment in new, innovative clean energy technology is key to enabling long-term solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If Europe is to have a future that can guarantee the wellbeing of all its citizens, it will need to be climate friendly and sustainable.”
Ultra low cost solar
Breakthrough Energy Europe is an extension of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which formed on the margins of the COP21 Paris Climate talks. With the Trump administration lowering expectations for a clean energy transition in the U.S., the coalition has pledged to invest $1 billion in new research and companies.
According to the investment strategy, companies with a sound business case, and that can attract investments other than from Breakthrough Energy Europe, would benefit. The fund would look into the novelty of the company it is investing in.
The backers say developed technologies that have already set foot in the energy market, would not need additional fostering. However, there are many companies working on radical approaches to decarbonizing industry in unheralded ways which may have been overlooked. Breakthrough Energy Europe will aim to give them a push.
In its statute, the fund discloses that among its priorities is the development of “ultra-low-cost solar” among other sources of renewable energy.
Alternatives to lith-ion storage
The coalition acknowledges the great strides the solar industry has made to lower the LCOE of solar to $0.05/kWh and less in many places. But further ambitions are needed, according to Breakthrough, to compensate for storage costs and grid infrastructure investment. To that end, the coalition would invest in technologies that are in a “new generation of transformational technologies, beyond what we have today”.
In line with the EU’s plans to establish a world-leading market for battery production lines, the coalition also aims to foster energy storage research and development. In this vein, the European Commission recently published a report evaluating various alternatives to lithium-ion batteries – for electrochemical storage – highlighting the importance of harmonizing climate ambitions, and the social and environmental impacts of the use of new technologies.
Which technologies will benefit from the fund will be seen in the months to come. The cost trajectories of solar and storage imply, however, current technologies are on the right path to grid parity, with subsidy-free PV plants coming online at the moment.
A study released by DNV GL a few weeks back, suggested costly grid infrastructure investments – cited by fossil fuel lobbysists as a reason clean energy is not viable – may occur not due to the increased penetration of renewable energy, but because of a simple growth of electricity demand. That would mean such costly infrastructure upgrades would also be required in a fossil fuel-based energy system.
This content is protected by copyright and may not be reused. If you want to cooperate with us and would like to reuse some of our content, please contact: email@example.com.
Please refrain from using solar energy and “breakthrough” technology as concordant ideas. Solar energy is not new and is already a more cost effective solution than ALL existing energy technologies. Invest in true “breakthrough” technologies such as the financial support of zero net (quantum vacuum flux) energy, sympathetic vibratory physics, etc. These technologies already exist and simply require capitalization. Their development would obviate the need for energy storage systems, though the AHI technology that you previously supported and then offshored worked splendidly. The only “breakthrough” required is in the dismantling of the wall of recalcitrance by established (read well-funded monopolistic) energy sources and the bankruptcy of political will. The technology, the necessity, and the public support are already in place.
you think bills rich now? Just wait until every penny he spends turns into a hundred doller bill 30 years from now. Invest now minions. The sooner you invest in this deal the more your going to make. The very second renewables turn the table anybody with their hand in this cookie jar will be swimming in cookies.
By submitting this form you agree to pv magazine using your data for the purposes of publishing your comment.
Your personal data will only be disclosed or otherwise transmitted to third parties for the purposes of spam filtering or if this is necessary for technical maintenance of the website. Any other transfer to third parties will not take place unless this is justified on the basis of applicable data protection regulations or if pv magazine is legally obliged to do so.
You may revoke this consent at any time with effect for the future, in which case your personal data will be deleted immediately. Otherwise, your data will be deleted if pv magazine has processed your request or the purpose of data storage is fulfilled.
Further information on data privacy can be found in our Data Protection Policy.