On of the richest people on the planet is sick of climate change and has launched a venture capital firm to slow down global warming. Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) funds companies that can make a marked reduction on annual carbon output while also being profitable. Using capitalism to undo what capitalism has caused isn’t a new idea but hopefully it’ll work. So far BEV has funded some really neat initiatives from better batteries to cutting edge biofuels manufactured by plants.
“We are a unique fund with investors who are patient and flexible,” says Rodi Guidero, executive director of BEV. “Our goal is to find the companies that will have the greatest impact on accelerating the energy transition and help them in whatever way we can.”
To help him find those companies, Guidero draws on an in-house group of scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs, along with a network of 140 academic institutions and large corporations. They provide expertise on the vast range of technologies that BEV is interested in.
To be eligible for BEV’s money, a startup needs to showcase a scientifically sound technology that has the potential to reduce annual global greenhouse-gas emissions by at least 500 million metric tons. Global emissions currently measure about 40 billion metric tons a year.
Anyone looking at the energy industry instantly notices the growth of clean energy relative to non-renewable sources. Clean energy is getting so popular that nations which you might not think of embracing renewable energy are investing quite a lot into the field. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) recently highlighted seven projects around the world which exemplify the global trend to clean energy.
3. The clean energy transition is happening in Russia too.
“I was in Moscow a few weeks ago. We launched our roadmap for Russia for an energy transition. A lot of people didn’t believe we’d ever do this, but we did this together with the ministry of energy. We have projections that they can quadruple renewable energy in their system by 2030. The minister of energy agreed with that assessment publicly… He said we know the world of energy is going to change, [and] we have to decide if we want to be part of the vanguard of this movement, or if we want to be struggling a few years down the road to catch up with everybody else.”
Thanks to Delaney!
Back in 2015 Costa Rica ran on only renewable energy for the first quarter of the year, and since then they have improved. The country now regularly runs their power grid using only renewable sources and their new president wants to take that to the next level. The government announced that the long-term goal of Costa Rica is to decarbonize their entire energy consumption. Yes that means cars, boats, and anything else that currently consume fossil fuels.
“Decarbonization is the great task of our generation and Costa Rica must be one of the first countries in the world to accomplish it, if not the first,” said Alvarado, a former journalist and political scientist.
At 38, making him Costa Rica’s youngest ever president, Alvarado is keen to lead the way in environmental initiatives as “the world’s decarbonization laboratory,” meeting the demands of the Paris Climate Agreement.
While Canada continues to condemn the future to climatic destruction by supporting the tar sands, their common wealth partner has decided to plan for the future. New Zealand has declared an all out ban on new offshore drilling projects and have even taken a step further to ban exploration for more stored hydrocarbons. Exploration for oil and gas greatly disturbs marine life forcing whales and fish to leave entire areas because the noise is so deafening.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern continues to do what every other national leader should be doing – acknowledging the current and oncoming challenges of climate change and reacting to it by creating a sustainable economy. It’s great to see New Zealand set itself up for future success while protecting the planet!
“We’re protecting industry and protecting future generations from climate change,” said Ardern.
“This is a responsible step, which provides certainty for businesses and communities that rely on fossil fuels.”
Ardern and the ministers are expected to outline plans for their version of a managed transition towards a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 and a goal of achieving 100 per cent renewable electricity by 2035.
Thanks to Delaney!
Opponents of clean energy try to find any reason to stop renewable installations (I guess they hate the planet?) and when it comes to wind farms they suddenly start caring about birds. Their argument is that birds will fly into the blades of wind turbines. This argument was recently studied on the shores of the UK and found to be marginally correct, instead of killing thousands of birds a wind farm found only an average of one every four months. This death rate is notable less than the amount of birds killed by flying into windows on skyscrapers. Hopefully the anti wind energy people now redirect their own energy to protecting birds from pointless deaths from lights being left on in towers.
Tim Frayling, Senior Environmental Specialist Ornithology, Natural England said: “Natural England acknowledge the significant achievement of providing empirical evidence of bird avoidance in relation to an offshore wind farm for the first time, and the progress in starting to address some key questions in this area.
“The proof of concept has been successfully demonstrated and we would look forward to seeing similar studies in different locations, including wind farms closer to seabird colonies.”