At the Fourth Mission Innovation Ministerial meeting in Vancouver, Canada, the European Commission, the European Investment Bank and Breakthrough Energy Ventures established a new €100 million investment fund to support clean energy investments.
Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe (BEV-E) will help develop innovative European companies and bring radically new clean energy technologies to the market, the Commission said, adding that it will support Europe’s best clean energy entrepreneurs whose solutions can deliver significant and lasting reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
“Business, as usual, is not an option. We need to boost our investments with more than 500 billion euro each year to achieve a carbon neutral economy by 2050,” European Commission Vice-President for the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said. “I am pleased that our pilot cooperation with Breakthrough Energy has taken off so fast. This is pioneering work: aligning private and public investment in cutting-edge innovation, to the benefit of the Energy Union and our climate.”
The first of its kind, the fund caters to the capital intensity and long development horizons that energy technologies need.
Funding for BEV-E will include a €50 million contribution from the European Investment Bank guaranteed by InnovFin, a financial instrument funded through the EU’s research and innovation programme, and a €50 million contribution from Breakthrough Energy Ventures, an investor-led fund committed to supporting cutting-edge companies in the energy sector.
EU Research, Science and Innovation Commissioner Carlos Moedas noted that by setting up the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe fund in record time, “We are delivering on our commitment to boost public-private investments in clean energy innovation. It is only through joining forces across sectors and continents that we can tackle climate change and build a sustainable future.”
Breakthrough Energy Ventures Chairman Bill Gates said called the fund “a great example of driving innovative ways for the private and public sectors to collaborate, deploy capital, and build companies. We have the resources to make a meaningful difference, and the flexibility to move quickly. That’s a rare and powerful combination.”
EIB Vice-President responsible for innovation Ambroise Fayolle reminded that successfully tackling climate change needs CO2-neutral energy production. “We do not have much time to achieve this. Deployment of cutting-edge technologies must be accelerated. This financing will allow new technology to replace fossil-intensive energy generation. The European Investment Bank is pleased to work with world-class partners to support the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Europe fund,” she said.
The fund will invest in five major energy-related sectors where efforts are essential in fighting climate change: electricity, transportation, agriculture, manufacturing and buildings. Investments are expected to start in the second half of 2019, at which time EU Member States and countries associated with Horizon 2020 will be eligible to apply for BEV-E funding.
The new fund will contribute to fulfilling the EU’s commitments outlined in the Commission’s “Clean Energy for All Europeans” package, including proposals designed to support clean energy innovation, increase energy efficiency, boost renewable energy usage and reform the European energy market. The European Parliament and the Council of the EU have adopted all proposals from the package.