Bill Gates
December 15, 2016

Gates to Make Investment in Renewable Energy

 |  By: Mike Opperman

There’s new interest in renewable energy that could benefit agriculture and dairy producers. Microsoft Corporation co-founder Bill Gates said Monday that he and other business leaders are launching a $1 billion clean-technology fund that will start investing next year in companies developing low-cost, low-carbon technologies. The fund, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, aims to invest in firms that have promising experimental technologies in a variety of industries including agriculture.


In an interview with the Wall Street Journal  Gates said that reducing the cost of renewable energy, such as wind and solar power, and making it cheaper to add more of this power to the grid are areas the fund would likely support. He says that while current clean-energy technologies should be used as much as possible, the technologies that will enable the U.S. and the world’s other major economies to cut greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 will be invented in the next 10 to 20 years.

Dairy producers have been leaders in creation of clean energy for a number of years. Digesters that convert methane from manure are growing in number, with just over 200 reported on dairy farms nationwide. Other producers have turned to solar and wind power to provide sources of green, renewable energy. 

Some states are including renewable energy as part of legislation. In September the California legislature passed legislation aimed at reducing methane emissions, including those from agriculture. One proposed method of doing so is to install methane digesters. In order to reach the reduction goal outlined in the bill, industry experts say there will need to be around 500 more digesters installed. Today there are around a dozen in operation on California dairies, so there is considerable distance to cover to reach that goal.