Aviva backs the world’s biggest wind farm, a disused coal-fired power station in Staffordshire becomes a ‘sustainable village’ while big brands promise to slash their waste and private investors fund electric taxis in Cambridge. Lori Campbell rounds up the top sustainable stories of the week.
Aviva lends £400 million to fund world’s biggest wind farm
Insurance giant Aviva has lent £400 million to fund the world’s biggest wind farm.
The Hornsea project 1 includes a forest of 174 giant turbines, each taller than the Gherkin skyscraper in London. They will rise out of the North Sea 60 miles off the coast of East Yorkshire.
The venture is 50-50 owned by Orsted, formerly Dong Energy of Denmark, and Global Infrastructure Partners, the New York-based group that owns Gatwick airport.
The finance deal is Aviva’s biggest ever infrastructure debt investment and contributes to its target to invest £1 billion in the wind farm sector by the end of the year. Hornsea 1 is expected to have an installed capacity of 1,218 megawatts, enough to power a million homes when the wind blows.
Former power station to be transformed into ‘sustainable village’
A disused coal-fired power station in Staffordshire is set to be transformed into a ‘sustainable village’.
The redevelopment of Rugeley Power Station, which closed down in 2016, will include 2,000 low-carbon ‘smart’ homes that will be powered entirely by renewable energy, with around half generated on-site through solar batteries and photovoltaic solutions.
ENGIE, the French utility company that owns the 374-acre site, will begin the pre-planning process in March.
As well as affordable homes and retirement homes for the elderly, there will be a “substantial” number of commercial buildings, creating permanent local jobs. It is the first time such a site in the UK has been repurposed.
UN Principles for Responsible Banking launched
The United Nations and 28 banks from around the world today launched the Principles for Responsible Banking at a round-table summit in Paris.
The Principles provide the first global framework to ensure that banks are publicly accountable for their positive and negative social, environmental and economic impacts.
Signing the Principles is a serious commitment as banks that fail to meet transparency requirements, set adequate targets and demonstrate progress will face removal from the list of signatories.
There will now be a six-month consultation period before the Principles are signed by participating banks at the UN General Assembly in New York next September. The founding banks, which helped to develop the Principles, include Triodos, Santander, Barclays, ING, Standard Bank and Bradesco.
Big brands promise to revolutionise waste management
Corporate brands such as Burger King, Nestle, and Sainsbury’s promised to slash avoidable waste at a summit opened by HRH the Prince of Wales.
The firms signed a ‘Waste to Wealth Commitment’, promising to work together to double resource productivity in the UK by 2030. The aim is to extend the life of products and find new uses for old materials.
Participating companies will set internal targets to improve resource productivity within their own business. They will also collaborate with other Waste to Wealth partners to ensure change is driven throughout a supply chain or sector.
Businesses attending the summit included Marks & Spencer, Burger King, Unilever, James Cropper, Veolia, Sky, Heineken, The Co-Operative Bank, Iceland, Nestle, Sainsbury’s, Sky plc and Toyota.
Ethex offers investors chance to fund electric taxi rollout
Investment platform Ethex has launched a new bond offering its investors the chance to fund the rollout of electric taxis in Cambridge.
The Electric Blue Cambridge EV Bond Offer has a minimum investment of £250 and promises five per cent annual returns over five years. Ethex is hoping to raise £350,000 to invest in the electric vehicle (EV) charging network that will support the city’s electric taxi fleet.
The company said investors can receive tax-free returns by investing via its Innovate Finance ISA.
Cambridge City Council plans to have 21 chargers up and running in five years, supporting a fleet of 350 electric taxis. This is the first time charging firm Electric Blue has run a programme with the backing of private investors. The idea is to help cash-strapped local authorities roll out their green development plans.