The European Commission and Breakthrough Energy signed Wednesday a Memorandum of Understanding to establish Breakthrough Energy Europe (BEE) – a joint investment fund to help innovative European companies develop and bring radically new clean energy technologies to the market.
With this initiative, the Commission takes action to continue leading in the fight against climate change and to deliver on the Paris Agreement – giving a strong signal to capital markets and investors that the global transition to a modern and clean economy is here to stay.
President Jean-Claude Juncker said, “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. 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 well-being of all its citizens, it will need to be climate-friendly and sustainable.”
Maroš Šefčovič, Vice-President of the Commission for the Energy Union, said, “The scale and speed of what is needed to reach our climate goals require innovative thinking and bold action. Not only is this new public-private investment vehicle being set up in record time, it will also serve as an example of us joining forces to accelerate breakthrough innovation in Europe.”
Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, added, “We are delivering on our commitment to stimulate public-private cooperation in financing clean energy innovation. The €100 million fund will target EU innovators and companies with the potential to achieve significant and lasting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”
Bill Gates, Chairman of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, said, “We need new technologies to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Europe has demonstrated valuable leadership by making impressive investments in R&D. The scientists and entrepreneurs who are developing innovations to address climate change need capital to build companies that can deliver those innovations to the global market. Breakthrough Energy Europe is designed to provide that capital.”
Breakthrough Energy Europe links public funding with long-term risk capital so that clean energy research and innovation can be brought to market faster and more efficiently. With a capitalization of €100 million, the fund will focus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting energy efficiency in the areas of electricity, transport, agriculture, manufacturing, and buildings. It isa pilot project that can serve as a model for similar initiatives in other thematic areas.
Breakthrough Energy Europe is expected to be operational in 2019. Half of the equity will come from Breakthrough Energy and the other half from InnovFin – risk-sharing financial instruments funded through Horizon 2020, the EU’s current research and innovation program.