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Well-known Investors to Support California Energy Commission-Funded Startup

By Media Office Staff

A clean energy coalition established by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and other wealthy investors, will invest in a startup funded by the California Energy Commission.

Berkeley-based Fervo Energy is one of nine companies Breakthrough Energy Ventures that will support through its $1 billion clean energy fund. Fervo is developing enhanced systems to generate more energy from geothermal sources.

Breakthrough Energy Ventures was started in 2016 to help clean energy startups demonstrate viable technologies that can reduce annual global greenhouse gas emissions in transportation, agriculture, manufacturing, buildings, and electricity.

Geothermal is an abundant renewable energy source located in spots throughout California. However, it is difficult to harvest because of the cost and the complexity of drilling into heated rock. In 2017, less than 5 percent of the state’s energy mix came from geothermal sources. Fervo, though, is exploring new technology and drilling techniques that will substantially increase geothermal production.

The company’s founders – Tim Latimer and Jack Norbeck – are fellows in the Cyclotron Road Fellowship Program, which helps innovators turn their ideas from concepts to a viable first product.

The two-year program at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory helps participants engage in collaborative opportunities with leading scientists, receive financing, and access the laboratory’s resources. Participants also receive mentoring and coaching to develop the skills needed to lead a technology company, raise capital, and build a business case.

The program is accepting applications for its next cohort through Oct. 31.

Funding comes from the Energy Commission’s Electric Program Investment Charge program, which funds clean energy research and development programs. The U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency also provide funding.

The fellowship program is part of the Energy Commission’s Energy Innovation Ecosystem, a statewide network connecting entrepreneurs with the training, resources, and expertise to turn advanced technologies and concepts into products that can benefit consumers, companies, and utilities.

More information can be found here.

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