U.K. boosts switch to low-carbon industry

July 17, 2009 at 11:32 AM
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LONDON, July 17 (UPI) -- Britain said its Low Carbon Industrial Strategy would create new jobs, save business costs and lead to a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy.

The strategy, launched Thursday by Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, named a range of low-carbon industries where the first of the $675 million investment budgeted for 2009 would go.

Nuclear power is joined in the sectoral list by wave and tidal power; offshore wind and ultra-low carbon vehicles, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills said.

New investment will focus on particular strengths of regions across Britain, starting with the first Low Carbon Economic Area to be set up in England's southwest. The initiative will look into developing marine energy as a major green industry in that area.

About $100 million will go into extracting energy from waves and tides and setting up a "Wave Hub" off the Cornish coast. Double that will go into developing a U.K. offshore wind industry.

Mandelson said: "There is no high carbon future. But if the transition to low carbon is inevitable, what is not inevitable is that we use the transition as a chance to develop new jobs, new industries here in Britain."

He said the strategy meant the government would work alongside business and industry to make the most of opportunities for innovation, growth and job creation.

Investment plans include a $25 million Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Center, a $6.7 million expansion of a Manufacturing Advisory Service that offers specialist advice to manufacturers. This aims to enable industries to compete for low-carbon opportunities.

Up to $16.7 million will go into speeding up the spread of facilities for charging electricity-powered vehicles across Britain.

Mandelson said, "Low carbon and environmental goods and services are already worth $5.1 trillion to the global economy and in the U.K. employ nearly 900,000 directly and through the supply chain." He said the U.K. sector would grow by more than 4 percent a year over the next six years.

The department will invest $20 million in developing industrial biotechnology at Wilton, northeast England. This will support the work of the Center for Process Innovation, which includes the National Industrial Biotechnology Facility. NIBF has been testing new industrial biotechnology products and processes as part of a strategic shift from petrochemicals into the low-carbon age.

The Wilton demonstrator facility is planned to be operational by October-December 2010, the department said.

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