Ed Miliband, the UK Energy & Climate Change Secretary, has announced that the Government will invest £4.4 million in funding for a new factory in the North East producing giant blades for wind turbines. The new plant, which will provide a jobs boost for the region, will be run by Clipper Windpower who aim to make the massive blades for offshore wind turbines – the turbines will be over 175 metres high and weigh 30 tonnes. The announcement, amongst a number of grants and investments into the green economy, was welcomed by Friends of the Earth as “exactly the sort of development the government should be supporting”. The investment is part of a £120 million sum promised for green projects over the next two years. That’s the good news, less encouraging is the news that BP has sold its windfarm operations in India, signaling a further retreat by the oil giant from sustainable energy and a retrenchment as a provider of fossil fuel energy. The company had already closed two solar power plants in Spain and closed an assembly plant in the US axing, 650 jobs in the process. BP says it will concentrate on its wind operations in the USA, saying that in India it is continuing to “actively explore new opportunities and long term material growth options” for its Castrol automotive lubricants and other sectors. The Company was recently awarded a deep water oil exploration licence off the east coast of India although BP says it remains committed to a solar venture with Tata Steel in India. BP’s wind portfolio in the US contains almost 100 projects and a generating capacity of approximately 20,000 MW and the company says it will spend $8 billion in clean energy by 2015 although may cut upcoming budgets. Finally from the world of business, 180 of the world’s largest investors with collective assets of $13 trillion have called for strong US and international action on climate change at a summit in New York. The summit drew together investment managers from some of the world’s biggest investment funds including HSBC, Schroeders and Henderson and pension funds from the State of California and the State of New York, the BBC and the Church of England. Mindy Lubber, the president of Ceres the green investment network that helped put together the summit said ‘investors are ready to put money into green tech but they are not going to act until the government acts and makes it clear that the right incentives are in place’. In a joint statement the investors supported tougher targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions put forward for negotiation at Copenhagen including cuts by developed countries by 25-40% by 2020.
India will be key player at Copenhagen conference, says Miliband