Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg have announced that they are forming a new organization known as the Breakthrough Energy Coalition that will invest in renewable energy technologies. Zuckerberg announced that he and his wife, Priscilla Chan, will launch the coalition alongside the Microsoft founder to “invest in ideas that have the potential to transform the way we all produce and consume energy.”
The organization’s members include some of the biggest names from the tech industry, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Virgin’s Richard Branson, Alibaba’s Jack Ma, LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, and SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son.
Zuckerberg’s announcement comes ahead of this week’s COP21 climate change conference in Paris. It’s here that Gates and President Obama are expected to unveil the Mission Innovation initiative, which will work with governments to double public investments in energy research over the next five years from a total of $10 billion to $20 billion, according to the Washington Post.
The Breakthrough Energy Coalition says its aim is to create "a network of private capital committed to building a structure that will allow informed decisions to help accelerate the change to the advanced energy future our planet needs." The organization hasn’t said precisely how much it plans to invest in clean energy production but, considering the cumulative wealth of the group’s members is in the hundreds of billions of dollars, expect the fund totals to be substantial.
"Solving the clean energy problem is an essential part of building a better world," Zuckerberg wrote in his Facebook post. "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."