Titans of new industry spring $1 billion clean energy fund

DALLAS (AP) — Some big names with big money say they plan to put more than $1 billion into developing technologies that will reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and lower the price of energy.

Bill Gates said the fund plans to make its first investments next year and run for 20 years. A year ago, the co-founder of Microsoft Corp. started the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, whose members include Mark Zuckerberg, George Soros and Richard Branson, with a commitment to invest in new types of energy.

Monday’s announcement comes less than a week after President-elect Donald Trump announced he will nominate the attorney general of Oklahoma, a climate-change skeptic, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

The fund, however, was in the works long before the election. It is the investing venture of a coalition formed in November 2015.

Gates is the chairman of a group of 20 investors who call their fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures. They want to speed innovation in the $6 trillion energy market. At the top of the investors’ list of criteria: nurture technologies with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least a half gigaton.

Gates said the fund plans to hire staff and make initial investments next year. The fund identified several areas for investment, and Gates highlighted an even more-targeted approach aimed at helping startups that can reduce emissions from electricity generation, transportation, and industrial processes in steel-making, cement production and agriculture.

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