Britain signs new gulf green deal

Britain has teamed up with two oil-rich Gulf states to secure a mix of reliable and green energy supplies for the UK and which could see hundreds of millions of pounds pumped into the green energy revolution. The announcements were made during a visit to the Gulf by Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband.  They include: A Memorandum of Understanding signed today between the UK and Masdar (the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company), to develop renewable energy and low carbon technology such as wind, carbon capture and storage, as well as solar and marine energy

* A new £250 million partnership between Qatar and the United Kingdom to help British companies develop groundbreaking clean green technology, to be run by the Carbon Trust

The agreements form part of the UK's efforts to diversify its energy supplies and tackle climate change by promoting a global move towards renewable and low carbon technology.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

'I applaud the vision and leadership which Masdar has shown in investing in the development and deployment of low carbon energy technologies. The United Kingdom looks forward to collaborating with Masdar through this agreement, bringing together the best of British and Abu Dhabi expertise for the benefit not only of our two peoples but for the world as a whole.'

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband said:

'As every country tackles the twin challenges of energy security and climate change, both oil producing and oil consuming nations need to diversify our energy economies. Low carbon sources - from wind and solar through wave and tidal to carbon capture and storage - can provide a new engine of global economic growth. So this partnership represents a significant contribution to our sustainable prosperity.

'The Gulf's oil and gas will continue to be an important source of energy for the UK, but with the impending threat of dangerous climate change and growing global energy demand, the UK and the rest of the world needs to diversify its energy supplies.

'These agreements show how Qatar and the UAE are serious about tackling climate change, diversifying their economies and providing secure energy supplies for the UK. The Gulf states recognise the UK too has natural assets, like wind, that offer investment opportunities for them.'

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, said:

'Securing a sustainable energy future is a challenge that requires the collaboration of governments, NGOs and corporations from around the world. This collaboration with the UK Government is very much in line with our leadership's vision of cooperating with other governments and organizations from around the world. The United Kingdom is home to a wealth of expertise in renewables and today's cooperation agreement heralds a new era of cooperation with the UK Government in renewable energy and sustainable technology investment and knowledge transfer that will benefit both our economies and drive the future growth of the renewable energy sector globally.'

Commenting on the new Qatar-UK Clean Technology Investment Fund that was signed yesterday Tom Delay, Chief Executive of the Carbon Trust, said:

'Mitigating climate change will bring a wealth of new business opportunities as low carbon technologies are developed and commercialised. This new clean technology fund will put the UK at the heart of low carbon innovation. By investing in home grown companies developing cutting edge low carbon technologies it will enable the UK to benefit commercially from the move to a low carbon economy'.

Details of the agreements are as follows:

* A Memorandum of Understanding between the UK and Abu Dhabi's Masdar Initiative to work on technologies such as on and offshore wind, carbon capture and storage, as well as solar and marine energy. The deal could see millions of pounds being invested in the UK in renewable energy technology, and follows the announcement on 16 October that Masdar was to invest in the London Array offshore wind farm project which when built will be biggest wind farm of its kind in the world.

* A brand new £250 million partnership between Qatar and the United Kingdom to develop renewable energy and low carbon technology. The Qatar-UK Clean Technology Investment Fund will seek to make venture capital investments in clean energy businesses primarily located in the UK. The Fund will begin investing with up to £150m committed from the Qatar Investment Authority alongside the Carbon Trust's commitment. It will look for further funding from other investors to bring the maximum amount to £250m. The fund will be managed by Carbon TrustInvestments.

The visit to the Gulf comes ahead of a meeting in December of oil producing and oil consuming nations, to be chaired by Mr Miliband. The London Energy Meeting will provide an enhanced dialogue between producers and consumers on oil and its impacts on the world economy.

Centrica, the owner of British Gas, has also announced it is to import its first shipment of LNG into the UK. The cargo was purchased from Rasgas Company Ltd, the Qatari LNG producer and will be delivered in November 2008 on one of the world's largest LNG carriers and the largest gas vessel to call at a British port. LNG will become increasingly important to the UK as our own sources of gas decline. LNG enables us to access new and diverse sources of gas, including from the Middle East.

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