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Eight new energy projects announced as part of government energy reforms

The Government has announced the launch of eight new renewable energy projects as part of its electricity reforms. The announcement is part of government plans to use greener forms of power generation, and it is estimated that more than 8,500 jobs will be created as a result.

The projects have been made possible by Contracts for Difference, which is part of the Government’s Electricity Market Reform programme. The projects include offshore wind farms, coal to biomass conversions, and a dedicated biomass plant. Under Contracts for Difference, or CIDS, generators and developers are entitled to a fixed strike price for the electricity that they produce for 15 years.

It is estimated that by 2020 the new projects will add 4.5GW of low carbon energy and attract 12 billion pounds’ worth of private investment. The Government says that this announcement will help the UK towards the goal of meeting its renewable energy targets and will generate enough green energy to power 3 million homes.

Commenting on the announcement, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said:

“These contracts for major renewable electricity projects mark a new stage in Britain’s green energy investment boom.

“By themselves they will bring green jobs and growth across the UK, but they are a significant part of our efforts to give Britain cleaner and more secure energy.

“These are the first investments from our reforms to build the world’s first low carbon electricity market - reforms which will see competition and markets attract tens of billions of pounds of vital energy investment whilst reducing the costs of clean energy to consumers.”

In recent years there has been a significant growth in the green energy sector and The Government predicts that 30% of energy production will come from renewable energy by 2020.

The eight contracts were awarded under The Government’s Final Investment Decision and Enabling for Renewables process. A new legislative framework that was announced as part of the Energy Act 2013 has made the renewable energy projects possible and The Government says that the investment will help to provide a secure and affordable supply of electricity, while also providing skilled jobs and boosting growth.

57 projects applied to be part of the scheme, and more of the winning contracts will be announced later this year. Some of the successful applicants include Beatrice, Burbo Bank Extension, Drax, Hornsea 1 and Teesside. 

Optimism soars among UK Manufacturers

There was more good news for the economy this month as a new CBI survey revealed that optimism among small manufacturers is at an all-time high.

Optimism among smaller manufactures is soaring according to the new report; the new figures show that optimism among small manufactures is at record highs. The optimism also applies to small and medium sized manufacturers; they say orders and output have increased steadily in the last quarter.

The CBI interviewed 366 SME manufacturers and they say they have witnessed a growth in exports in recent months and domestic orders also continue to remain strong. It was also noted that output has continued to grow steadily for the third consecutive quarter and many businesses expert their output to reach 1995 levels during the next quarter.

Commenting in a press release, Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, said:

“It’s very encouraging to see record levels of optimism among smaller manufacturers, on the back of robust growth in domestic and export orders, and a leap in output levels.

“Hiring is also on the up, and is set to strengthen as we look ahead into 2014.

“As confidence beds in, we need to see more firms exporting their products to high-growth markets across the globe, giving a healthy and sustainable boost to the UK’s recovery.”

The CBI report found that nearly 40% of the companies surveyed had experienced an increase in orders in the last quarter and 36% said that domestic orders were on the increase.

25% of manufactures said that they had experienced a growth in export orders, while 15% said that their export orders had decreased. However, overall the total amount for export orders has seen a surge compared with the figures released for the previous quarter.

However, the news wasn’t all positive, with 10% of those surveyed stating that they were not optimistic about the future of their business, nevertheless, 46% of business owners stated that they were more optimistic for the future.

There was also good news for employment with figures rising by +16%; these figures look set to surge to +24% in the next quarter and while many manufacturers are not planning to invest in buildings in the coming year, many are expecting to make investments into machinery.

It is predicted that growth and optimism in the manufacturing industry will continue to grow in the next quarter.

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