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AES to Invest $1 Billion in Alternative Energy Business

AES Corp. last Monday announced plans to invest $1 billion over the next three years to expand the company's alternative energy business and bring to market new projects and technologies to reduce or offset greenhouse gas emissions.

Through the creation of an alternative energy business group, AES said it intends to expand its existing alternative energy businesses in wind power generation, biomass and the development of liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals and launch several new initiatives.

AES will invest in the commercial development of projects and technologies that directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions or create emission offsets under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol. Since October 2005, AES said it has already committed to $100 million in investments that will generate more than 17 million tons of carbon reduction credits through 2012. The company started its climate change business last year and is pursuing offset projects in the agricultural, reforestation and landfill gas and coal mine methane emission reduction sectors.

AES also said it plans to triple its investment in its wind generation business over the next three years. It entered the wind generation business in 2004 and has invested $265 million to date. Currently the company operates 600 MW of wind facilities and is pursuing another 2,000 MW of wind projects in development, primarily in the U.S. It also is currently developing wind power projects in Europe, China, India and Central and South America, with an emphasis on countries with existing AES businesses.

Meanwhile, AES said it has entered strategic partnerships with Los Alamos National Laboratory and XL TechGroup to identify, evaluate and bring to market new technologies in the alternative energy area. AES's partnerships with Los Alamos and XL Tech Group, an architect and builder of high value new businesses, primarily in the ecotech, biotech and medtech fields, give AES the opportunity to develop and commercialize proprietary energy-related technologies developed by these entities.

AES said it is evaluating future investments in other sources of alternative energy such as solar power and wave technologies, and also is evaluating future investments in nonelectric business lines such as ethanol, biodiesel, methane capture and conversion projects, synthetic fuels and new technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

William Luraschi, AES executive vice president for business development, will lead AES's alternative energy group. "Global energy consumption is expected to more than double by 2025," Luraschi said. "We believe that traditional ways of producing energy alone will not meet this demand, due to rising production and transportation costs, energy security issues and the growing recognition of environmental impacts. That leaves an enormous opportunity for alternative sources of energy to fulfill a large part of this growing demand."

In the LNG segment, AES is currently developing three LNG regasification terminals to provide energy to the fast growing markets of New England, Mid-Atlantic and the southeastern U.S. Ocean Cay, the company's proposed LNG facility in the Bahamas, has secured approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the state of Florida and Broward County to provide natural gas to Florida, but has been hung up by the Bahamas' government's failure to approve it.

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