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In the papers today - Thursday 31st July 2008

UK-listed wind turbine maker Clipper Windpower said yesterday it will team up with the alternative energy unit of BP to develop a wind farm in the US, the world's fastest growing market for such power. . . .

Clipper and BP will be equal partners in the 5,050 megawatt project in South Dakota, where BP will buy 1,750 MW of assets from Clipper for $26.25m (£13.25m) - The Guardian

Climate change activists yesterday occupied the proposed site for Britain's first coal-powered site for Britain's first coal-fired power station in 30 years, claiming the development will cause huge damage to the environment if it goes ahead. More than 150 protestors descended on the site near the village of Kingsnorth in Kent ahead of next week's Camp for Climate Action, which is expected to attract thousands of environmentalists - The Guardian

A teacher who posted photographs on the internet of schools which collapsed in the Sichuan earthquake has been sent to a labour camp for a year, a rights group said yesterday. Liu Shaokun was ordered to serve a year of "re-education through labour", according to Human Rights in China - The Guardian

Spain has launched an ambitious plan to reduce energy consumption and save millions of euros on oil imports by cutting the speed limit to 50mph and handing out millions of low-energy lightbulbs. With the introduction of a broad swath of measures between now and 2014, Spain's socialist government hopes to reduce Spain's oil imports by 10% a year, cutting consumption by 44m barrels and saving £3.25bn - The Guardian

Travis Perkins warned that housing market will deteriorate further, as it posted a drop in first half pre-tax profits yesterday. But the company expects to continue to gain market share at its Travis Perkins branded merchants, which supply builders, and its retail division, which includes the Wickes DIY chain - The Independent

British Gas is to raise gas prices by 35%, the biggest increase imposed by a leading energy company, adding to inflationary pressures in the economy and raising fears about fuel poverty. British Gas is the UK’s largest energy supplier, selling gas to 10M households. Of these, the 5M households that buy both their gas and electricity from British Gas face a 25% jump in their bills. About 1M households that only buy electricity from the company will pay 9.4% more - Financial Times

Excessive regulation is increasing the risk of final salary pension schemes being closed or bought out, Richard Lambert, director-general of the CBI employers’ organisation, warned on Wednesday - Financial Times

A financial instrument unfamiliar to the London stock market forms a central part of the proposed bid by EDF for British Energy, creating an extra complication that could hold up a deal. Advisers are working hard to secure an agreement, which they hope to announce tomorrow. EDF is holding a board meeting today to approve its results, also due tomorrow, and has been planning to give a formal sanction to a bid at that meeting - Financial Times

BP has moved its alternative energy division into new offices in County Hall on the south bank of the Thames, as it attempts to establish the unit as a fully fledged stand-alone business. Vivienne Cox, BP's executive vice-president for alternative energy, said this week the company had no immediate plans to float the division, which BP believes is worth $£2.5bn to £3.5bn - Financial Times

Travis Perkins is to cut staffing levels and put acquisitions on hold as it shores up cash for what it expects to be a protracted downturn. The builders' merchant, which plans to reduce its headcount by 1,300 from planned levels this year, said it was "virtually impossible" to specify how many redundancies there would be but that it would be a "relatively small number" - Financial Times

BP has bought a half share of one of the world’s biggest planned wind farms from Clipper Windpower, the Aim-listed wind turbine manufacturer. The deal is the latest stage in a two-year collaboration between the companies, under which BP has taken a shareholding of about 3 per cent in Clipper, with an option to take a greater stake - Financial Times

Senior managers in Germany are likely to be "much more cautious" about becoming involved in corrupt business practices following Siemens’ decision to claim damages from 11 former senior executives over their role in the company’s bribery scandal, experts said. Peter Löscher, Siemens' chief executive, said on Wednesday the company could follow up Tuesday’s move against the 11 managers with similar damage - Financial Times

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