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Galloper wind farm first UK project backed by EUR 315 billion Investment Plan for Europe

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The European Investment Bank, Europe’s long-term investment institution, has agreed to provide GBP 225 million for the Galloper Wind Farm Ltd (GWFL) to be constructed 27 km off the Suffolk Coast. Once operational the offshore wind farm will be capable of providing enough clean energy to supply up to 336,000 homes from the world’s largest wind turbines. The project also represents the UK’s first pre-construction offshore wind project finance deal.

This is the first UK project to be backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe. EFSI was established earlier this year by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission and will enable increased lending and attract private capital for crucial projects by the European Investment Bank in strategic sectors such as renewable energy, digital infrastructure, transport and R&D, as well as financing for SMEs.

The UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) has joined Siemens Financial Services, Macquarie Capital and project developer RWE Innogy as 25% joint equity partners in the £1.5bn Galloper offshore wind farm. This is GIB’s eighth investment in the UK’s offshore wind sector. The GIB has helped mobilise more than £5bn in cumulative capital for offshore wind projects in the UK that, once operational, will provide nearly 3,000 MW of renewable electricity generation capacity – enough to power more than 2.3 million homes in the UK.

“The Galloper wind farm is the first UK project to be directly supported by the EFSI initiative. This reflects both the quality of EFSI projects and the strong green focus of the EUR 315 billion investment scheme. Projects such as Galloper demonstrate the leading role of the European offshore sector and confirm the EIB’s commitment to finance investment in green growth. We are pleased to have worked with a world-class sponsor group including Green Investment Bank, and alongside a group of leading project finance banks, to ensure that Galloper could be financed in record time.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.

Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission, and responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, said: “The Galloper project will help households and businesses across the UK access cleaner, renewable energy. At the same time, the construction of the wind farm will generate hundreds of jobs. This project is innovative and ambitious, and it is a great example of why the Investment Plan was created. I hope other project promoters across the EU hearing this news are now inspired to contact the EIB with their proposals.”

Hans Bünting, CEO of RWE Innogy the company leading the construction of the project on behalf of GWFL said: “Today’s announcement is the culmination of many months of successful negotiations with our partners, and investors including the European Investment Bank, and shows that the UK is still a strong market for offshore renewables.  I look forward to working together with our new partners to utilise our collective experience and expertise to realise the successful construction of Galloper wind farm.”

Ed Northam, Head of Investment Banking, UK Green Investment Bank, said: “This is another significant milestone in the development of the UK offshore wind industry in a year that has already seen two major projects come online and construction commence on another. The transaction reinforces our relationship with RWE and further highlights the impressive list of companies that are investing in the sector. It is the second investment in offshore wind that GIB has made at FID in the space of six months, demonstrating the role that we continue to play in making sure that complex, but important, green infrastructure projects can proceed.”

RenewableUK’s Director of Policy for Economics and Regulation, Dr Gordon Edge, said “The UK is the number one destination for offshore wind investors. This week’s two major announcements of offshore wind projects achieving financial close, securing billions of pounds in investment, show that it remains an attractive place to do offshore business.

“The Government’s advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, is now recommending we install 1-2 gigawatts of offshore wind a year throughout the 2020s to meet out carbon reduction goals, so we could reach as much as 30GW by 2030. The CCC says offshore wind is set to become cheaper than gas during the next decade, so it offers excellent value for money in terms of keeping bills down. We’re also generating jobs, with 13,000 people already working in the industry – that could increase to 44,000 in less than 10 years.

“However, if we’re to continue to deliver ambitious offshore infrastructure projects throughout the 2020s, we need a clear plan from Government stating how much offshore wind capacity it wants over the next decade. We’ve had some encouraging signals so far, but we need details of how the financial framework is going to work for offshore wind to deliver at scale, as a key part of the Government’s industrial strategy.”

The £1.5 billion UK renewable energy project is set to create over 700 jobs during construction and nearly a hundred once operational. Already more than GBP 150 million has been spent during development of the scheme and once operational Galloper will use 56 six megawatt turbines.

The European Investment Bank is supporting the Galloper project alongside a consortium of 12 commercial banks.

Over the last 5 years the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 5 billion for investment in offshore wind farms in the North Sea off the UK, Belgian, Dutch and German coasts, as well as offshore transmission links to connect offshore windfarms to national electricity networks.

Energy

Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis

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Energy Investments
Shutterstock / By Sergey Nivens | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/nivens

Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.

Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?

Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.

Tip #1: Focus & Determination

Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.

Tip #2: Minimize Spending

One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!

Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal

You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.

Investing in Clean Energy

One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.

With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.

The Future of Green Biz

As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.

Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.

In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!

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Energy

What Should We Make of The Clean Growth Strategy?

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Clean Growth Strategy for green energy
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By sdecoret | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/sdecoret

It was hardly surprising the Clean Growth Strategy (CGS) was much anticipated by industry and environmentalists. After all, its publication was pushed back a couple of times. But with the document now in the public domain, and the Government having run a consultation on its content, what ultimately should we make of what’s perhaps one of the most important publications to come out of the Department for Business, Energy and the Industrial Strategy (BEIS) in the past 12 months?

The starting point, inevitably, is to decide what the document is and isn’t. It is, certainly, a lengthy and considered direction-setter – not just for the Government, but for business and industry, and indeed for consumers. While much of the content was favourably received in terms of highlighting ways to ensure clean growth, critics – not unjustifiably – suggested it was long on pages but short on detailed and finite policy commitments, accompanied by clear timeframes for action.

A Strategy, Instead of a Plan

But should we really be surprised? The answer, in all honesty, is probably not really. BEIS ministers had made no secret of the fact they would be publishing a ‘strategy’ as opposed to a ‘plan,’ and that gave every indication the CGS would set a direction of travel and be largely aspirational. The Government had consulted on its content, and will likely respond to the consultation during the course of 2018. And that’s when we might see more defined policy commitments and timeframes from action.

The second criticism one might level at the CGS is that indicated the use of ‘flexibilities’ to achieve targets set in the carbon budgets – essentially using past results to offset more recent failings to keep pace with emissions targets. Claire Perry has since appeared in front of the BEIS Select Committee and insisted she would be personally disappointed if the UK used flexibilities to fill the shortfall in meeting the fourth and fifth carbon budgets, but this is difficult ground for the Government. The Committee on Climate Change was critical of the proposed use of efficiencies, which would somewhat undermine ministers’ good intentions and commitment to clean growth – particularly set against November’s Budget, in which the Chancellor maintained the current carbon price floor (potentially giving a reprieve to coal) and introduced tax changes favourable to North Sea oil producers.

A 12 Month Green Energy Initiative with Real Teeth

But, there is much to appreciate and commend about the CGS. It fits into a 12-month narrative for BEIS ministers, in which they have clearly shown a commitment to clean growth, improving energy efficiency and cutting carbon emissions. Those 12 months have seen the launch of the Industrial Strategy – firstly in Green Paper form, which led to the launch of the Faraday Challenge, and then a White Paper in which clean growth was considered a ‘grand challenge’ for government. Throughout these publications – and indeed again with the CGS – the Government has shown itself to be an advocate of smart systems and demand response, including the development of battery technology.

Electrical Storage Development at Center of Broader Green Energy Push

While the Faraday Challenge is primarily focused on the development of batteries to support the proliferation of electric vehicles (which will support cuts to carbon emissions), it will also drive down technology costs, supporting the deployment of small and utility-scale storage that will fully harness the capability of renewables. Solar and wind made record contributions to UK electricity generation in 2017, and the development of storage capacity will help both reduce consumer costs and support decarbonisation.

The other thing the CGS showed us it that the Government is happy to be a disrupter in the energy market. The headline from the publication was the plans for legislation to empower Ofgem to cap the costs of Standard Variable Tariffs. This had been an aspiration of ministers for months, and there’s little doubt that driving down costs for consumers will be a trend within BEIS policy throughout 2018.

But the Government also seems happy to support disruption in the renewables market, as evidenced by the commitment (in the CGS) to more than half a billion pounds of investment in Pot 2 of Contracts for Difference (CfDs) – where the focus will be on emerging rather than established technologies.

This inevitably prompted ire from some within the industry, particularly proponents of solar, which is making an increasing contribution to the UK’s energy mix. But, again, we shouldn’t really be surprised. Since the subsidy cuts of 2015, ministers have given no indication or cause to think there will be public money afforded to solar development. Including solar within the CfD auction would have been a seismic shift in policy. And while ministers’ insistence in subsidy-free solar as the way forward has been shown to be based on a single project, we should expect that as costs continue to be driven down and solar makes record contributions to electricity generation, investment will follow – and there will ultimately be more subsidy-free solar farms, albeit perhaps not in 2018.

Meanwhile, by promoting emerging technologies like remote island wind, the Government appears to be favouring diversification and that it has a range of resources available to meet consumer demand. Perhaps more prescient than the decision to exclude established renewables from the CfD auction is the subsequent confirmation in the budget that Pot 2 of CfDs will be the last commitment of public money to renewable energy before 2025.

In short, we should view the CGS as a step in the right direction, albeit one the Government should be elaborating on in its consultation response. Its publication, coupled with the advancement this year of the Industrial Strategy indicates ministers are committed to the clean growth agenda. The question is now how the aspirations set out in the CGS – including the development of demand response capacity for the grid, and improving the energy efficiency of commercial and residential premises – will be realised.

It’s a step in the right direction. But, inevitably, there’s much more work to do.

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