Government urged to support companies developing low carbon technology

Government urged to support companies developing low carbon technology

Government urged to support companies developing low carbon technology

The government has been urged to do more to get behind supporting initiatives that will help businesses to revamp their energy usage and go green.

A new report from the Energy and Climate Change Committee called on the Conservative-led coalition to show its commitment to environmental measures by increasing funding for companies that are developing new renewable energy solutions.

Smart meters and heat pumps were among the sustainable technologies that were cited as having the potential to make a positive impact - but according to the cross-party group, all of them need more finance.

This comes in the wake of a National Audit Office (NAO) assessment carried out in 2010, which was highly critical of the Department for Energy and Climate Change's (DECC's) activities to that point.

It was suggested that the present DECC had inherited a programme of publicly funded development of sustainable technologies that had not been adequately or effectively coordinated.

Although a wide range of government agencies were supporting low carbon innovation, the NAO claimed there had not been an adequate pooling of efforts. Furthermore, there was a significantly increased risk of gaps and overlaps in activity as a result of this poor collaboration.

Now, the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee has scrutinised the government's activities from 2010 to the present. Particular attention was paid to support for organisations that are working on research and development for new products and technologies, as these could benefit the £3.4 trillion international sector for low carbon good and environmental services.

DECC came under fire for not doing enough to progress in the intervening four years, especially as the resources that have so far been allocated by the government to support companies do not come close to approaching its stated policy ambitions in this area.

One poorly-resourced organisation was singled out in particular - the Low Carbon Innovation Co-ordination Group (LCICG) Secretariat in the DECC. Inadequate resourcing for this organisation could leave the low carbon innovation sector without the support to bridge the so-called "valley of death" between new technology and available commercial products.

Chair of the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee Tim Yeo said that after carrying out the survey, he was "surprised and disappointed" to find so much "frustration at the lack of consultation". He added this is particularly the case after the announcement of the latest low carbon strategy.

"These innovators could hold the key to getting the UK over the line on our carbon emissions targets, but it's going to be much harder for them to do that without better co-ordination to get us all pulling in the same direction and making better use of limited public funds," Mr Yeo remarked.

"It is unsatisfactory that four years after the NAO criticised DECC's support for businesses developing innovative sustainable technologies, the government still hasn't tackled the poor communication and coordination between its low carbon innovation group and businesses and broader innovation partners," he continued.

Mr Yeo emphasised the importance of giving these firms more support so other businesses will find it easier to transform their approach to energy by going green.

Posted by William Rodriguez