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Bill Gates, other new industry titans spring $1 billion clean energy fund

Bill Gates (AP file photo)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Some big names with big money have jumped into the alternative energy race.

The Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which counts among its members Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, George Soros, Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Alibaba's Jack Ma and Richard Branson, announced a $1 billion investment fund to support new energy ventures.

The new group is holding a news conference Monday to outline its goals.

The coalition wants to magnify the speed and scale at which promising energy breakthroughs are introduced to the $6 trillion energy market.

In a printed statement, Gates said, "Our goal is to build companies that will help deliver the next generation of reliable, affordable, and emissions-free energy to the world."

The announcement comes less than a week after President-elect Donald Trump confirmed that he would nominate Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a global warming skeptic, to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.

Pruitt has argued that EPA rules to curb carbon emissions drive up electricity rates, undermine the nation's power grid and "create economic havoc."

The first in a list of investment criteria released by the coalition Monday was technologies with the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least a half gigaton.

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