订阅

多平台阅读

微信订阅

杂志

申请纸刊赠阅

订阅每日电邮

移动应用

商业

比尔盖茨的气候宣言能否带来真正的突破?

全球首富比尔·盖茨将掏出10亿美元对抗全球变暖,而且他还说服了其他亿万富翁加入他的行动。那么,这笔巨额投资如何才能产生最佳效果呢?

就在巴黎气候大会召开期间,比尔·盖茨和其他亿万富豪宣布“突破性能源联盟”正式成立。这是一个全球性的私人投资者组织,主要致力于“对潜在的革命性能源体系进行早期投资”,其计划投资的新能源体系具有一个特点,那就是“近乎零碳排放”。

“突破性能源联盟”的成员既包括维珍公司的理查德·布兰森、风投家约翰·道尔、维诺德·科斯拉等拥有清洁能源投资经验的投资者,也吸引来了亚马逊的杰夫·贝索斯、领英的里德·霍夫曼、Facebook的马克·扎克伯格等一批清洁能源领域的新人,以及来自全球各地的对冲基金大佬和知名实业家。

作为多年从事清洁能源创新事业的融资与发展业务的投资人和咨询顾问,我们乐见该联盟以及其他类似组织的成立。必须得向盖茨致敬,也许只有他才能将组织一个规格如此高的联盟。

几个月前,当盖茨首次宣布将投资10亿美元对抗气候变化时,我们曾为财富网写过一篇文章。让我们担心的是,他是否过于关注希望渺茫的新技术而忽视了改良和部署现有技术。

我们在文章中说道:“虽然在高风险技术上进行一些投资是必要的,但我们真正需要投入几十亿美元的领域,其实是扩大现有清洁能源技术的应用规模与业务模式创新。”

今天,我们要为盖茨更全面的投资重点而鼓掌。盖茨的“突破性能源联盟”表示:“我们寻找的投资目标既包括全新的技术开发,也包括对现有技术进行创新,从而大幅改善其效率、规模和成本。不管是核心技术还是使能技术(enabling technology),最关键的因素是必须能有一种可靠的途径让其迅速规模化……”

有些观察人士认为盖茨还是过于关注遥不可及的新技术了。气候进展博客的乔·罗姆长期以来一直呼吁对能源领域投入更多研发资金,但他也认为,“除非该联盟多关注提升现有技术,少关注突破性技术和‘能源奇迹’”,盖茨的努力才会有价值。我们也同意这一点,但我们乐观地认为,盖茨和突破性能源联盟正在朝着正确的方向走,而且随着他们深入评估如何才能给环境带来最大影响,他们还会继续调整自己的方向。”

正如我们在之前的那篇文章中提到的那样,这些企业家之所以能获得如此大量的财富,有赖于其他公司已经率先完成了一项困难的且往往没有回报的任务,即开发必要的计算机硬件和基础架构。对于微软、亚马逊、Facebook、领英和Salesforce来说都是如此——这些公司的创始人也都是突破性能源联盟的成员。这些公司的建立都依赖于计算机硬件、互联网和通讯架构的进步,他们才能制造出一些革命性的软件应用。

马克·扎克伯格并非在线社交网络的发明者,但他独特地利用了计算能力、网络和界面设计的改进,创造了更好的用户体验和解决方案,这就是Facebook为什么会拥有15亿名会员。埃隆·穆斯克等企业家在清洁能源领域也在做着同样的事,而我们需要更多投资来支持这些努力。

有一位科技大亨并未参加盖茨发起的突破性能源联盟,他就是PayPal的联合创始人彼得·泰尔。他最近在《纽约时报》的专栏上指出,气候积极人士应该像盖茨过去那样,支持核能技术。我们的观点是,无论是新建更多昂贵的核电站,还是通过碳捕获或排放控制技术净化化石燃料和发电厂,其效果都比不上新技术对于数据和通讯的意义——也就是令它变得廉价、可以随处获得,并且使它能够促进新的经济增长。

如果突破性能源联盟的承诺能快速地变成真金白银的投资的话,那么它是有能力掀起能源行业的改革的。目前,该联盟正在计划与一个新的国际组织“创新使命”(Mission Innovation)的20个成员国展开合作,而该组织的各成员国也承诺未来5年将清洁能源领域的研发投资翻一番。

然而,突破性能源联盟的真正影响在于,它向人们展示了科技领域的投资能对降低碳排放产生真实的近期影响。如果这些投资带来了积极的成果,它将促进企业、养老基金和其它机构投资人也参与这项活动。

我们希望该联盟重点发展能够使清洁能源技术变得更廉价、更易用、更普及的应用,这些才是我们真正需要的突破。而盖茨和这个联盟有望发挥的独特作用,很有希望推动这些突破早日实现。(财富中文网)

本文作者Stephan Dolezalek、Stefan Heck和Andrew Shapiro是拥有长期经验的清洁能源投资者和咨询顾问,也是Resourcient公司的创始人,该公司主要致力于促进资源效率领域的规模性投资

译者:朴成奎

审校:任文科

On Monday, just in time for the start of the Paris climate talks, Bill Gates and other wealthy entrepreneurs announced the creation of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, a global group of private investors committed to “early-stage investing in potentially transformative energy systems” with “near zero carbon emissions.”

The coalition includes those with experience in clean energy investment, including Virgin’s Richard Branson, and venture capitalists John Doerr, and Vinod Khosla. But it also brings into the fold supporters new to the field – including Amazon’s AMZN -0.45% Jeff Bezos, LinkedIn’s LNKD -1.73% Reid Hoffman, Facebook’s FB -0.98% Mark Zuckerberg, as well as hedge fund titans and leading industrialists from around the world.

As investors and advisors who have been working for many years on new models to finance and scale up clean energy innovations, we’re delighted to see the formation of this Coalition and others like it. Kudos to Gates for organizing it at a scale perhaps only he could.

A few months ago, when Gates first announced his intent to invest another $1 billion on investments to fight climate change, we wrote an essay for Fortune.com expressing concern that he was focused too much on long-shot technologies and not enough on improving and deploying existing technologies.

We said: “While some investment in high-risk technology is needed, where we really need billions to be spent is on the scaling up of applications and business-model innovations that build upon currently available clean energy technologies.”

Today, we applaud what appears to be an expanded focus for Gates, whose Coalition says: “We are looking for outliers both in developing novel technologies AND in innovations which enable current technologies to be dramatically more efficient, scalable, or cheaper. Whether core or enabling technology, the key differentiating factor must be a credible pathway to rapid scaling…”

Some observers think Gates still remains too focused on moonshots. Joe Romm of Climate Progress, despite being a longtime advocate for more energy R&D spending, says Gates’s effort will only have value “if it focuses more on improving existing cleantech and less on breakthrough technologies and energy miracles.” We agree, but are optimistic Gates and the Coalition are moving in the right direction and will continue to shift as they evaluate how to make the biggest impact in a timely way.

As we previously noted of Gates, but equally true of most of the entrepreneurs who have joined the Coalition – their fortunes depended upon other companies first having completed the difficult and often unrewarding task of developing the necessary computer hardware and infrastructure. This is as true of Microsoft MSFT -0.02% as it is of Amazon, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Salesforce CRM -0.16% – whose founders are Coalition members. All of them built upon progress in computing hardware and Internet and communications infrastructure by creating specific software applications that revolutionized industries.

Mark Zuckerberg didn’t invent online social networking, but he uniquely leveraged improvements in computing power, networking, and interface design to create a better user experience and solution – which is why Facebook has 1.5 billion members. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk are doing the same in clean energy and mobility and we need more investment to support these efforts.

One tech billionaire who didn’t join Gates’s group, Peter Thiel, argued recently in a New York Times op-ed that climate activists should, as Gates has in the past, embrace new nuclear technologies. Our view is that neither the building of more expensive new nuclear plants nor the cleaning up of fossil fuels and electricity generation through carbon capture or emissions controls will do in energy what new technologies did for data and communications – make it cheap, available everywhere and allow it to foster new economic growth.

Gates’s Coalition has the capacity to transform the energy industry — assuming its commitments turn rapidly into actual investments. Already, it is planning to work with twenty countries that are part of a related new group, Mission Innovation, whose members are committing to double their R&D investments in clean energy over the next five years.

But, the Coalition’s true impact will come from the influence it can have on others by demonstrating that investments made in technology can have real and near-term impact on carbon reduction. If those investments generate positive results, they will cause corporations, pension funds, and other institutional investors to join the movement.

We hope the Coalition will focus on applications that will make clean energy technologies as affordable, easy to use, and ubiquitous as a Facebook page. Those are the real breakthroughs we need – and ones that Gates and company can uniquely help to achieve.

Stephan Dolezalek, Stefan Heck, and Andrew Shapiro, long-time clean energy investors and advisors, are the founders of Resourcient, which promotes scalable investment in resource efficient businesses.

我来点评

  最新文章

最新文章:

500强情报中心

财富专栏