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U.K. Pledges 100 Million Pounds for Energy Investment Funds

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Aug. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pledged 100 million pounds ($156 million) for two investment funds that seek to back renewable and energy efficient projects.

The government will channel the money through Equitix and Sustainable Development Capital, two funds that will aim to attract foreign investment to nurture clean and renewable energy companies. Clegg welcomed the creation of the world’s first food-grade plastic bottle recycling plant in east London and the expansion of Spain’s Grupotec Tecnologia Solar SL solar panel works in the west of the capital.

“We seek nothing less than a clean, green, low-carbon economy,” Clegg said in a speech in London, according to remarks released by the government’s business department. “There is a global energy revolution under way. And the U.K. is not going to be left behind.”

Last month, the government granted tax relief for natural gas drillers and cut subsidies for renewable energy, signaling more reductions in the months ahead as it balances demand for cheaper power against a goal to lower pollution from fossil fuels. The Department of Energy and Climate Change cut subsidies for onshore wind by 10 percent, offered less financial support than expected for biomass and said it may cut solar further.

Drax Group Plc, owner of the U.K.’s largest power station and biomass consumer, fell by a record 15 percent on July 25 when the government published the plan. Gas drillers get a tax credit worth 500 million pounds.

Clegg made the comments at an investment conference attended by company executives including Sam Laidlaw, chief executive of Centrica Plc, Steve Holliday, chief executive office of National Grid Plc and Keith Howells, chairman of Mott MacDonald Ltd.

RenewableUK, a lobby group representing wind and marine energy companies, welcomed Clegg’s announcement, saying it was an “unequivocal” sign of support for the industry.

“The industry welcomes today’s commitment to provide a stable, consistent and predictable environment for investors,” Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith said in an e-mailed statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gonzalo Vina in London at gvina@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net

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