Posts tagged European Commission

EC boost for green infrastructure

EC boost for green infrastructure

The European Commission (EC) has adopted a new Action Plan for encouraging the use of green infrastructure, and for ensuring that the enhancement of natural processes becomes a systematic part of spatial planning.

It aims to show how the EU’s Atlantic Member States, their regions and the Commission can help create sustainable growth in coastal regions and drive forward the “blue economy”, which has the potential to provide 7 million jobs in Europe by 2020

Environment commissioner Janez Potočnik said: “Building green infrastructure is often a good investment for nature, for the economy and for jobs. We should provide solutions that work with nature instead of against it, where that makes economic and environmental sense.”

The Plan will contribute to the EU’s “Blue Growth” strategy (IP/12/955) and is consistent with the Commission’s focus on regional collaboration to encourage sustainable growth and create jobs.

The strategy will focus on:

  • Promoting green infrastructure in the main policy areas, such as agriculture, forestry, nature, water, marine and fisheries, regional and cohesion policy, climate change mitigation and adaptation, transport, energy, disaster prevention and land use policies. By the end of 2013, the commission will develop guidance to show how green infrastructure can be integrated into the implementation of these policies from 2014 to 2020
  • Improving research and data, strengthening the knowledge base and promoting innovative technologies that support green infrastructure
  • Improving access to finance for green infrastructure projects – the commission will set up an EU financing facility by 2014, together with the European Investment Bank, to support green infrastructure projects
  • Supporting EU-level green infrastructure projects – by the end of 2015, the commission will carry out a study to assess the opportunities for developing an EU-wide network of green infrastructure.

Multi-million pound investment reaches out for new jobs in Hull

Multi-million pound investment reaches out for new jobs in Hull

The Government has announced a £20 million investment plan to build a renewable energy factory in Hull that will create 300 new trade jobs.

Energy Works, the technically advanced renewable energy power plant to be built in Hull, will use household waste, and will generate enough energy for more than 25,000 homes.

The funding has been given from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which is managed by the Department for Communities and Local Government and is a key part of the financing for the £100 million-plus energy recovery plant that uses an innovative combination of green technologies and will be the first of its kind in the UK.

Communities Minister Baroness Hanham said: “This plant will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to the security and diversity of the energy supply.

“Supporting this Hull-based company with public funding to pioneer these cleaner, more efficient technologies and sharing the learning gained from operating the plant, will help to roll out similar facilities elsewhere in the UK and around the world.

“This investment will create highly skilled jobs and contribute to the Humber area’s growing reputation as one of the best places in the world to develop environmental energy businesses“.

The complete Energy Works development will be built to sort, pre- treat and process different types of waste with several advantages over more conventional technologies, including that it complemented recycling efforts and produced improved air quality.

Spencer Group’s Chief Executive Charlie Spencer said: “We are delighted that the Government and the European Commission have recognised that Energy Works is an innovative, green and clean development which can be replicated elsewhere.

“It has been a pleasure to brief the Minister on the many benefits it offers. This grant is a key element of the funding model and enables the project to move forward.

“As a Hull-based company, we are intensely proud that we will be pioneering a UK first in the city and that our investment will add to the Humber region’s credentials as the UK hub for renewable energy technologies.”

New EU support for jobs and vocational training in the trades

The European Commission has approved a new work programme for Egypt that would create 82,000 new jobs and enhance country’s Technical and Vocational Education Training system.

The new scheme will provide immediate employment for workers in small infrastructure projects located in the poorest areas of Egypt.

Projects will include construction work and the provision of community services. The EU said it will improve living conditions for the most vulnerable population and boost Egypt’s poor economy.

The support to the TVET system will enhance the skills of young people to meet the labour market’s demands, with particular attention to the tourism sector. Two million pupils in the secondary technical education are expected to benefit from this EU support.

EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Štefan Füle, said: “Our new support is responding directly to the crucial demands expressed by young people in Egypt during the Arab Spring last year and we are committed to helping to provide Egyptian citizens with new job opportunities, which is one of the top priorities of the new Egyptian leadership”.

The total value of both programmes is €120 million, where €70 million is marked for programme to create jobs and €50 million for vocational training.

These programmes are part of the overall financial assistance package that the EU is mobilising in support to Egypt’s development and the country’s new socio-economic needs.

What is your reaction to the EU investment programme that aims to enhance Vocational Education Training worldwide and create new trade jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Industry urges EU policy-makers to build low carbon future

A group of energy giants will today launch a new alliance aiming to stimulate the renewable industry as Europe seeks to advance its low carbon economy and create new trade jobs.

The so-called Energy Partnership will be launched today in Brussels by its founding partners Alpine Energie, Dong Energy, First Solar, GE, and Shell.

The companies said they are aiming to promote the use of gas alongside the growth of renewables by creating policies that effectively integrate the two technologies.

They maintain that both gas and renewables could play a critical role in the European Commission’s 2050 Energy Roadmap, and that the two technologies will be highly complementary until at least 2030.

They argue that gas can provide a low carbon and flexible energy supply that can help balance out the supply of intermittent renewables, such as wind and solar.

Launching the partnership, Stephan Reimelt, chief executive of GE Germany, will say that combining renewables and gas will be the key to building a low carbon economy.

“Companies from different parts of the energy market are launching this new alliance because the evidence is clear that renewables and gas offer the most affordable, reliable, and sustainable pathway for an energy secure Europe,” he will say.

Jörg Gmeinbauer, director of Alpine Energie, will say the alliance can herald a shift in the debate around EU energy policy.

“It’s time for a systems approach to Europe’s energy policy,” he says. “We need integrated policies, market reforms, and investment in generation, transmission, and infrastructure if we are to achieve Europe’s energy goals.

“We have formed the Energy Partnership because together the partners can offer practical pathways to the future based on the synergy between renewables and gas.”

Europe approves £3bn funding for UK’s Green Investment Bank

EU regulators have approved the creation of the UK’s £3 billion Green Investment Bank which will pave the way for investments in the low carbon economy and create new jobs.

The European Commission found sufficient safeguards to avoid “crowding out of private investment” and ensure fair competition whilst the bank is offering funding to accelerate the development of the UK’s green economy.

The bank’s mission is to invest in innovative and environmentally friendly projects for which a market failure has been identified. It is set to help offshore wind, waste and non-domestic energy efficiency sectors.

The Commission said the Green Bank will be capitalised with £3 billion and will intervene by syndicating and underwriting junior, mezzanine and senior debt, by taking equity stakes or granting guarantees.

According to the Commission, the new initiative will allow green projects to materialise while minimising potential distortions of competition.

The bank is seen as a crucial element in funding the country’s transition to a low carbon economy and it began investing directly in projects earlier this year.

Green Investment Bank chairman Lord Smith said: “This is excellent news and a very important milestone as we transition to a low carbon economy and work to boost investment across the industry.

“We have already made significant progress in building our teams and the necessary infrastructure for the bank and we expect to be fully operational in the next few weeks.

“We clearly have challenges ahead but we have the people, the expertise and the capability to deliver on our priorities and create the foundation for a new climate of green investment.”

What is your reaction to the UK’s £3 billion Green Investment Bank that is set to boost the green economy? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages. 

The Government’s investment for UK renewables to reach £2.5bn

New figures released by the European Commission as an update on countries’ performance against renewable energy targets by 2020 suggest around 12,000 jobs will be created across the UK through renewables investment announced in 2011.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has released new figures outlining significant investment in renewable energy projects during fiscal year 2012. The new data indicates that with three months still to go until the end of this fiscal year, companies have announced plans for almost £2.5bn of investment in renewable energy projects.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne believes that renewable energy projects are not only important to reduce UK’s carbon emissions but also to stimulate economic growth and create jobs.

Mr Huhne said: “Renewable energy is not just helping us increase our energy security and reduce our emissions; it is supporting jobs and growth across the country, and giving traditional industrial heartlands the opportunity to thrive again.”

The figures for the UK show the country has increased its renewable energy consumption 27 per cent from 42.6TWh in 2008 compared to 54TWh in 2010.

However, this is still a long way of the 15 per cent target imposed by the EU for 2020. The report also showed that wind generation rose 46 per cent from 7TWh in 2008 compared to 10.2TWh in 2010.

Insisting on UK’s commitment to meet renewable energy targets set by the EU, Mr Huhne highlighted the importance of renewables for the economy and businesses in the UK.

“Our renewable target is less demanding than other EU member states, but the effect is bringing real jobs and investment,” said the Energy Secretary. “I do not want the UK to be left behind by turning our back on the green economy. The agreement to negotiate a global deal secured at Durban has reinforced major nations’ commitment to cutting carbon. We cannot afford to stand alone while the world wises up.”

Do you think the Government will meet the renewable energy targets imposed by the EU by 2020? How is the implementation of the program going to benefit your business? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below: 

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