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Story by The Wall Street Journal

One focus will be on driving solar, wind energy costs down

Bill Gates announced an energy research initiative drawing on billions of dollars from 28 private investors, ranging from billionaire individuals to the University of California, to try to grow businesses from ideas generated by stepped-up government basic research.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal at a global climate conference in Paris, the founder of Microsoft Corp. and leading philanthropist said 20 governments—including the U.S., China and India—have committed to double their energy research budgets as part of the initiative.

“We need innovation to get to breakthrough solutions,” said Mr. Gates. “These are investors who care about clean energy and cheap energy.”

Mr. Gates said the goal is to dramatically speed up the commercialization of basic research and developments that governments around the world conduct.

“There’s a sense of urgency, because of the time frame once you’ve invented something to get it to be a part of the primary global energy system,” he said.

“If you have a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, you’d better be inventing in this next decade in order to have time to shift over the global energy system. Usually it takes 50 years. We have to move faster than that,” he added.