Market News

 April 04, 2012
Government prepares blitz of clean energy announcements

 The government is preparing a blitz of clean energy announcements next month as part of a high profile summit that will see energy ministers from 23 countries gather in London to discuss measures to accelerate the development of the low carbon economy.

The Clean Energy Ministerial will take place from April 25-27 and is scheduled to feature the first major speech on the environment from Prime Minister David Cameron since he was elected, which is expected to underline his commitment to building a low carbon economy.

The summit, which will be co-chaired by UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Davey and his US counterpart Steven Chu, will run alongside a meeting of the UN Sustainable Energy For All initiative and will also see the publication of the International Energy Agency's first review of UK energy policy since 2006.

The meetings are expected to showcase the UK's position as one of the world's leading clean tech markets and will feature a series of ministerial visits to low carbon projects, such as Thanet offshore wind farm, Tilbury biomass plant, a nuclear centre in Sheffield and the Olympic site in Stratford.

In addition, the Carbon Trust is currently working on a short list of clean tech start-ups that will offer a selected group of firms the chance to present their clean energy innovations to ministers at an event at Tate Modern.

Most significantly, the summit is expected to see a raft of announcements on new clean energy investments and initiatives.

BusinessGreen has learnt that major policy changes are unlikely to be announced, given that reforms to renewable energy subsidies and plans for new nuclear plants and carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects are already under way.

However, a series of announcements on new investments in the clean energy sector, new clean tech development partnerships between different countries, and initiatives to more broadly promote the green economy are expected.

In particular, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has signalled that a bilateral clean energy agreement between the UK and Brazil is in the pipeline and should be announced at the summit.

Green NGOs and trade bodies such as WWF and RenewableUK are also preparing to launch initiatives to support the summit in moves clearly designed to push the green economy up the political agenda.

"There will be lots going on throughout the week," said a DECC spokeswoman. "We really want to raise the profile of this sector."

The summit follows several months during which green NGOs and businesses have stepped up attacks on the government's environmental strategy, accusing it of failing to provide adequate support to a sector that is growing at around five per cent a year and undermining investment through anti-green rhetoric and surprise policy changes.