November 18, 2009 : News in Brief - Watching

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WATCHING THE CORPORATIONS

- New fleet of nuclear reactors announced

- Climate solutions for sale as funders of climate change pledge £1.4billion in new loans for wind farms

- New energy projects threaten Congo rainforest

- Hargreaves Services plans six biofuel power stations in Yorkshire

- Gatwick airport has a new climate criminal as an owner

New fleet of nuclear reactors announced

Energy secretary Ed Miliband last week announced ten sites for a new fleet of nuclear power stations as part of the government's energy strategy that also includes 'clean coal' and a carbon capture and storage programme. The sites have apparently been nominated by energy groups EDF, E.ON and RWE and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, which owns some them.

Link: www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/nov/09/energy-policy-nuclear-coal


Climate solutions for sale as funders of climate change pledge £1.4billion in new loans for wind farms

Investors in a host of climate change inducing projects, RBS, Lloyds Banking Group, BNP Paribas Fortis and the EIB (European Investment Bank) are to offer £1.4billion in new loans to onshore wind farm developers. The scheme, which is supported by the government, will see the EIB providing up to £700 million, with the remainder matched by fossil fuel investors RBS, Lloyds and BNP Paribas Fortis; further coopting potential climate change solutions and providing a green veneer for unsustainable corporate power.

Link: www.eib.org/projects/press/2009/2009-217-up-to-pound1-4-billion-in-new-loans-for-onshore-wind-farms.htm


New energy projects threaten Congo rainforest

Plans by Italian oil company Eni to develop tar sands and oil palm in the Congo Basin risk irreversible damage to biodiversity, local communities and the climate, and break the company's own guidelines. In a recently published report, Congolese human rights organisations and their international partners argue that, given the potential for local harm and the huge carbon footprint of the projects, such investments should be considered too high-risk for Eni or any other energy company.

Link: www.boell.de/ecology/climate-energy-7775.html


Hargreaves Services plans six biofuel power stations in Yorkshire

Hargreaves Services Plc, a relatively unknown major player in the supply and processing of mineral and energy resources, particularly coal, is planning six biofuel power stations in Yorkshire through its recently established subsidiary Rocpower Ltd. With an expected generating capacity of 60MW across the six power stations, it is anticipated that, combined, 150,000 tonnes of biofuel will be required per annum. The total generating capacity of these six power stations will, therefore, exceed the size of the controversial biofuel power station that Blue NG has been attempting to build in Southall by a factor of three.

Link: www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/rocpoweroct2009.php


Gatwick airport has a new climate criminal as an owner

Ferrovial-owned BAA is to sell London's Gatwick airport to Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP), the owner of City airport, for around £1.5bn. The sale follows a Competition Commission ruling against BAA's dominance of the UK airport market with its ownership of six other airports. GIP, a consortium set up by Credit Suisse and America's General Electric, will not take control of Gatwick until early December but has already signalled plans for 'improving' Gatwick's performance, which could mean savage cost and job cuts and more climate pollution.

Global Infrastructure Partners is also heavily invested in the gas industry, including 50% share in one of the leading natural gas shale producers in the US (Chesapeake Midstream Partners); a joint venture with El Paso Corporation (Ruby Pipeline Holding Company LLC) to construct a 675-mile natural gas pipeline and a natural gas-fired cogeneration facility in the Texas area called GIM Channelview Cogeneration, LLC. GIP also invests in East India Petroleum Limited, "a provider of liquid storage services for petroleum, lubricant products, petrochemicals, liquefied petroleum gas and bio diesel."