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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.”

Cable Unveils Business Growth Plan to Boost the Trades

The Business Secretary, Vince Cable, has confirmed plans to create government backed ‘business bank’ which will help companies to invest and create new trade jobs.

Vince Cable’s new institution includes a series of collaborative strategies between businesses and government that are forecast to advance manufacturing and boost the trade industry.

Cable outlined his plans, committing to a long term, strategic partnership that will give businesses clarity about where the Government will be concentrating its efforts.

Speaking at Imperial College, London, Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “Our first part of that plan is lifting the barrier that poor access to finance puts on growth. By helping firms to invest capital, businesses expand, and create jobs.

“But I am also setting out a clear and ambitious vision, a commitment far beyond the usual political timescale that will continue to bear fruit decades later.

“It will give our businesses certainty, allow them to make their own plans, and know that the full weight of Government is behind them. We will work in a strategic partnership with industry, focusing our support on specific sectors. This is our commitment to growth in action.” 

The speech sets out a number of other actions including:

  • Creating a new institution to help companies invest in capital and drive their expansion. The scale and modus operandi of the institution are still under discussion, but it could operate through alternative providers such as the new challenger banks and non-bank lenders. Not only would this boost their lending capacity, but would also corral existing provision such as co-investment and guarantees to support business expansion.
  • Developing a series of collaborative but challenging sector strategies in advanced manufacturing, knowledge-intensive traded industries, and the enabling industries. This will include building strategic partnerships with industries and targeting support for them to help realise their substantial growth prospects.
  • The Business Secretary announced that 34 bids had been successful in the first round of the Employer Ownership pilot scheme securing £67 million of public funding and generating £98 million in private investment, making sure that employers can access exactly the sort of skills they need. Ensuring our world class skills policy is linked closely to the industrial strategy, in order that industry gets the skills they need to continue growing. This objective underpins the employer ownership pilot scheme where employers have been putting together radical plans to develop their own training programme.
  • Accelerating the journey from pure academic research to a commercial product being brought to market to help boost ground-breaking technologies of the future. The Government has already made £180 million available to support the commercialisation of innovations in the life sciences sector and building on this new approach, there will now be a new Innovation and Knowledge centre in Synthetic biology to explore the opportunities this sector presents.
  • Recognising Government’s role as a customer and developing a more intelligent partnership with its own supply chain by reforming procurement to make sure that businesses have confidence to take long-term investment decisions.

What is your reaction to the government’s plan to create ‘business bank’ which will help companies to invest and create new trade jobs? Share your thoughts by commenting here or raising your voice on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Olympic and Paralympic Success to Boost Business Growth

Trade Minister Lord Green and Olympic Ambassador Sebastian Coe vowed today to build on the success of the Olympics and Paralympic Games by working with industry to promote British skills around the world.

An Olympics Legacy programme of trade missions and companies in the building construction sector will build on the successful completion of the Olympic venue which is set to bring £13 billion to the UK in the coming months and years.

Olympics Legacy Ambassador to the Prime Minister, Sebastian Coe, said that the Olympic legacy which London 2012 left is ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ opportunity to showcase British business excellence to the world.

Coe, who is also a double Olympic Champion and 12-time world record holder in athletics, said: “The extraordinary success of the London 2012 Games has shown the best of Britain to the world and now our focus turns to securing a lasting legacy. We have already witnessed the incredible regeneration of east London, with world class facilities and a new urban park created.

“We now need to ensure that organisations up and down the country use the positive impact generated by the Games to reach out to new markets and grow their businesses.

“The British Business Embassy at Lancaster House has brought together business leaders from the UK and all over the world in a showcase of Britain’s industrial strengths and successes.”

Trade and Investment Minister, Lord Green, said that the Games have provided excellent chance to enhance Brittan’s business links with the rest of the world that will bring significant investment to the economy.

Mr Green said: “The British Business Embassy has hosted 4,000 business people from large and small firms alike. The connections they have made will deliver real economic dividends.

“We are now working hard, alongside firms around the country to follow up the contacts, networks, announcements and momentum created by the Games.”

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