Government ‘must do more’ to support low-carbon technologies

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) should be doing more to support companies developing sustainable, low-carbon technologies, according to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee.

In a new report – Innovate to accumulate: the Government’s approach to low-carbon innovation – the cross-party committee concludes that the Government is not allocating enough resources to helping companies to meet its own policy ambitions.

The Committee’s chair Tim Yeo said “Entrepreneurs developing exciting new sustainable technologies sometimes need help to bridge the ‘valley of death’ and bring products to market. The Government should be doing all it can to support innovative UK businesses in their efforts to access the growing global market for low-carbon goods and services.”

The authors also criticise ministers for not doing enough to influence the European Union with regard to product standards and for failing to improve the performance of its Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG).

Lack of resources

Yeo said the committee was “surprised and disappointed to hear businesses and academic partners, among others, express continual frustration at the lack of consultation surrounding the Government’s new 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.”

DECC has admitted that a lack of resources is preventing it from being able to do enough to shape EU standards and funding programmes, and help companies innovating products and services, such as renewable energy technologies and smart meters to access European funding. 

Poor co-ordination

In 2010, a National Audit Office report concluded that DECC’s approach to supporting renewable energy technologies was poorly coordinated, and that assessing whether the Government was using public funds effectively to meet the targets set in the EU Renewable Energy Directive (2009) and Climate Change Act 2008 was impossible.

“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 co-ordination between its low-carbon innovation group and businesses and broader innovation partners,” added Yeo.

Despite re-launching the LCICG in 2011 and creating a £35 million Energy Entrepreneurs Fund in 2012, the Committee concludes that ‘little progress has been made since 2010’.

Earlier today, edie reported that Energy Secretary Ed Davey is being accused of ‘slamming the breaks on Britain’s fledging solar energy business’ as the industry is taking legal action against the Government in the form of a Judicial Review.

edie staff

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie