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Canada is helping to fund a new initiative connected with a group of wealthy donors like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos to help startups finance new energy technologies that can lower carbon pollution.
Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada is expected to be a “public-private” initiative orchestrated out of Natural Resources Canada, and will involve annual pitch events where entrepreneurs can perform for investors, Dragons' Den-style.
The new group is associated with a fund started by the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which includes people like Gates, Zuckerberg and Bezos, as well as Michael Bloomberg, Richard Branson, George Soros and others who all want to use some of their vast riches to finance clean energy infrastructure.
“We are hopeful that this Breakthrough Energy partnership with Canada will be a model for developing more collaborations that will help reach this goal,” said Bill Gates in a prepared statement.
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the federal government itself would be putting forward “up to $30 million” for the new group. He made the announcement at the opening of the Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver, B.C.
“Canada is joining Bill Gates to launch Breakthrough Energy Solutions Canada,” said Sohi. “Climate change is not only the challenge of our generation, it is also the opportunity of a lifetime.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also addressed the assembled crowd via a video presentation. “I look forward to working with you as we build the clean energy economy together,” he said.
Government officials and business leaders from 25 countries are gathered in Vancouver this week to talk about issues like the adoption of electric vehicles and other technologies that leaders hope can cut carbon pollution and fight climate change.
The department will oversee calls for additional funding. The new initiative is being housed under the department’s Energy Innovation Program.
This article was produced as part of National Observer's series on Canada's Clean Economy. The series is produced in collaboration with the Ivey Foundation and I-SEA. It tracks Canada's progress to a low carbon future. National Observer retains full and final editorial control over the reporting.