Dec 15, 2016

Bill Gates launches $1 billion breakthrough energy fund

2 min
The new fund is called Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) has been launched to invest in clean energy t...

The new fund is called Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) has been launched to invest in clean energy technologies. Bill Gates has joined forces with 20 other investors, including Silicon Valley venture capitalists John Doerr and Vinod Khosla, former hedge manager John Arnold, CEO Jeff Bezos, Bloomberg LP founder and former New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg and Alibaba founder Jack Ma.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition behind the fund are willing to wait longer than they might have to on other ventures. They’re calling this a 20-year fund due to the nature of the energy industry.

Bill Gates said in a recent blog post: “When it comes to energy, though, this transition—from idea to product to company—is often complicated by the challenges of the market. Unlike a software start up, getting a new energy technology from a lab to market takes a lot of infrastructure, a lot of upfront capital, and a lot of time.

 “The Breakthrough Energy Coalition created BEV to address some of those challenges in the energy market. We are willing to wait a longer time for returns than other funds. We have a higher tolerance for technical risk, because we know it’s tough to determine which technologies will succeed in a complicated energy market. We are led by our investors, who are a unique group of global business leaders, entrepreneurs, energy experts, and company builders who can help new companies navigate the challenges of building a business while developing partnerships with the companies and institutional investors who will help bring those products to scale.”

One of the most well know clean energy companies with Tesla, which has a huge market share across electric vehicles, energy storage and now solar energy too. The people behind BEV want to invest in something that will grow to this kind of scale with a similar impact but in a different sector.

BEV is aware that we use energy in a different way and soon enough there will be parts of the world that have never had this kind of energy before. This means that the old energy sources that have served us so well may no longer be viable, especially if we want to control global warming and protect the plant for future generations.

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Apr 23, 2021

Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition

Dominic Ellis
2 min
Drax is advancing biomass following Pinnacle acquisition it reported in a trading update

Drax' recently completed acquisition of Pinnacle more than doubles its sustainable biomass production capacity and significantly reduces its cost of production, it reported in a trading update.

The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.

The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).

Drax CEO Will Gardiner said its Q1 performance had been "robust", supported by the sale of Drax Generation Enterprise, which holds four CCGT power stations, to VPI Generation.

This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.

In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.

The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.

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