WSJ News Exclusive | Bill Gates Pledges $1.5 Billion for Infrastructure Bill’s New Climate Projects

By Biography

Bill Gates’s investment fund will pledge $1.5 billion for climate projects if Congress enacts an infrastructure bill. The Microsoft co-founder and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told the WSJ how public-private partnerships can spur innovation. Photo: Gates Ventures

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates said his climate investment fund will commit $1.5 billion for joint projects with the U.S. government if Congress enacts a program aimed at developing technologies that lower carbon emissions.

A roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate this week would give the Energy Department $25 billion for demonstration projects funded through public-private partnerships, part of more than $100 billion to address climate change. The House hasn’t yet approved the legislation.

Mr. Gates, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, said a fund run by his Breakthrough Energy could spend the money over three years on projects aimed at slowing the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change. The Breakthrough projects, which would have to compete with other applicants for the funds, could include emissions-free fuel for planes and technology to suck carbon dioxide out of the air.

“Critical for all these climate technologies is to get the costs down and to be able to scale them up to a pretty gigantic level,” Mr. Gates said. “You’ll never get that scale up unless the government’s coming in with the right policies, and the right policy is exactly what’s in that infrastructure bill.”

Breakthrough will likely shift funding for the biggest projects to Europe and Asia instead if the package doesn’t become law, he added.