Fossil Fuel Spending Despite ‘Clean Energy’ Pledge

November 22nd, 2019

The coalition government agreement brokered in 2010, combined the Tory and Liberal Democrat parties. These two parties agreed that promoting British and European clean energy companies at home and abroad would be a major priority.

It seemed the start of a new wave of clean energy governmental focus that many expected to yield some viable, renewable and efficient new energy technologies. Unfortunately, the reality has been somewhat different than the promises.

The UK Export Finance department that oversees all foreign energy investments was supposed to drive a campaign of clean energy progress, but instead, in the three years it has held sway, the UKEF has given just £3.6 million to green energy projects around the world. In comparison, fossil fuel companies were given almost £1.14 billion to increase production in a fast depleting industry. This figure is almost 315 times larger than the clean energy investment number, suggesting that the UKEF has never had the slightest intention of investing in its proposed sector.

Brazilian oil giant Petrobras was financed to the tune of £528 million, Rolls Royce were given a £330 million loan to explore gas power energy with Russia’s Gazprom. These are just a few of the large fossil fuel investment that UKEF has made. In comparison, £3.2 million went to a wind farm off the coast of Germany; £40,000 to a hydro-electric project in Tanzania and £150,000 went to a solar scheme based in Kuwait. The clear weighting of this financial decision makes the UKEF’s priorities very clear.

UKEF has commented of this, and said that their financial choices are reflecting the market demands. They also said that the lack of spending on green projects reflects their small scale nature, and that when the green projects get larger, they will attract larger investments.

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