Welsh energy efficiency drive stepped up for small and medium firms

Welsh businesses are missing opportunities to cut their energy costs by up to 35% through a mixture of attitude and behaviour and market failure, according to the Carbon Trust in Wales.

Potential energy efficiencies lie in cutting consumption of heating, lighting, air-conditioning, drying and heat transfer in high temperature processes; and running electric motors and drives, compressed air, and refrigeration in manufacturing and process industries, according to the Trust’s Manager for Wales, Annie Thompsett.

The Trust is currently studying energy use and carbon emissions in Wales to identify the major energy saving opportunities and priorities for a new programme of support. This is expected to lead to new initiatives targeted at small and medium-sized firms, with an emphasis on using local expertise and suppliers.

Also a targeted Welsh marketing initiative is being developed to raise awareness of the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme, which offers 100% first year capital allowances to companies investing in qualifying energy efficiency technologies. This will explain how ECAs and energy efficiency can help businesses control and manage energy costs and support equipment manufacturers who would like to get their qualifying products on to the ECA Energy Technology List.

The Energy Efficiency Best Practice programme, which gives companies advice about the Climate Change Levy through energy audits and site visits, has also been boosted and will continue to be strengthened and tailored to meet local delivery needs.

The Trust is also expected to announce shortly further details of a proposed incubator centre for sustainable development technologies. It will be operating with a strong emphasis on partnerships, including Arena Network’s Business & Environment Coordinators and Groundwork to provide a local delivery service; the Welsh Tourist Board will be promoting energy efficiency in the hotel and leisure industry; and the Royal School of Architects will be raising awareness of design advice.

Launched in April 2001, the Trust is part-funded by the Climate Change Levy, as a not-for-profit company with the following objectives: to ensure that UK business and the public sector meet ongoing targets for carbon dioxide emissions; to improve the competitiveness of UK business through resource efficiency; and to support the development of a UK industry sector that capitalises on the innovation and commercial value of low carbon technologies. This includes investing in the development of low carbon technologies in the UK. Annual funding amounts to approximately £50 million a year with additional amounts attached to Enhanced Capital Allowances – £70 million in the current tax year.

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