Bill Gates and Wealthy Allies Have Launched a $1B Clean Energy Fund

Gates and the other investors on a conference call Monday afternoon offered little on how they thought the Trump administration would affect the project.

Gates, 61, said he's never met with Trump but said he recently spoke with him over the phone, adding he hopes to contact him again in the future.

The meeting came a day before Mr. Trump is scheduled to host a "Technology Summit" with industry leaders at Trump Tower.

"Of course, my whole career has been along those lines [innovation]", he said. "I can't guarantee it'll happen, but we're all in this to find a better, faster, cheaper way to make energy available to everyone, and to get toward the zero-carbon planet that we know we're gonna need by 2050".

He declined to provide additional details about the summit.

Gates told reporters following the meeting that he and the president-elect had a wide-ranging conversation about the "power of innovation", particularly in areas of public health, education, foreign aid and energy.

"A lot of his message has been about. where he sees things not as good as he'd like", the billionaire Microsoft co-founder said on "Squawk Box".

AT&T and Time Warner bosses defend merger in Senate grilling
Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota questioned what the merger would mean for consumer pricing. All said they had yet to meet with Trump's transition team, but agreed.

The interview with Gates occurred before it became known that Trump is planning to tap former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) to be Energy secretary (see related story).

Gates says that the success of the transition to clean, reliable and affordable energy relies on far more resources that the $1 billion in capital committed to the BEV fund - that's just the beginning.

Members of the Breakthrough Energy Ventures Formation Committee include Bill Gates as the permanent chairman, along with John Arnold, Co-chair Laura and John Arnold Foundation, John Doerr, Chairman of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Vinod Khosla, Founder of Khosla Ventures, Hasso Plattner, Co-Founder of SAP SE, and Jack Ma, Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group.

Gates announced the formation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, the group that is launching the fund, at COP21 past year.

Trump's new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency is Oklahoma attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate change doubter now suing the agency.

"It's awesome the group that has come together", Bill Gates, who will serve as the fund's chairman, said on a press call Monday.

The BEV investors, though, said they were confident they had learned from previous errors and are setting a high bar companies must meet before they can be included in the fund's portfolio.

  • Regina Walsh