Cutting edge low carbon energy projects get £5 million funding boost

Companies developing cutting edge low carbon energy projects in generation, efficiency and storage – such as capturing carbon emissions or turning buildings into power stations – have the chance to bid for an extra £5 million of funding in the fourth round of the Government’s Energy Entrepreneurs’ Fund (EEF).

Today also sees 19 projects being awarded a share of the £9 million available through the third phase of the Fund. They include renewable generation technologies, efficient engines and vehicles, energy management and storage solutions.

The extra funding announced today comes on top of £35 million already awarded to innovation projects through the previous three phases of the EEF, which helps small and medium sized businesses, including start-ups, bring a range of new and innovative low carbon products to market.

Half of the new money in the latest round will be prioritised for Carbon Capture and Storage, the process of capturing millions of tonnes of CO2 from power stations and industrial facilities, and storing the CO2 offshore, deep under the sea bed. The UK is leading Europe with two commercial-scale projects under development. Without CCS, decarbonising the energy system will be up to £40 billion more expensive per year.

Energy and Climate Change Minister Amber Rudd said:

“As the nation that is leading the way in tackling climate change, it is important that we support small and medium sized businesses get their innovative energy projects off the ground.

“We will see the benefits in terms of increased energy security and affordable, low carbon electricity – Carbon Capture and Storage for example could be one of the most cost effective ways to decarbonise our future energy system.”

Through EEF grants received so far, 70 businesses have been able to create or support an estimated 290 jobs and stimulate £26.6 million of private sector investment. Private investors have provided a further £10.2 million of funding to date.

Highly efficient lighting

Fern Howard, a leading British manufacturer of lighting products, has won funding to develop a highly energy efficient LED (light-emitting diode) light which can reduce energy requirements for lighting by at least 33% compared to the most energy efficient lighting systems currently available. A priority market for Fern Howard are housing associations, which could reduce their CO2 emissions by 76% if they replace their exterior lights with the LEDs under development.

Peter Scott, Group CEO of Fern Howard, said:

“Large, technical projects are traditionally hard for SMEs to undertake and impossible to fund, and the DECC process has been highly supportive, providing essential funding not available from any other sources.

“As a result of the grant we have been able to save at least 36 jobs – that’s over half of our workforce. We forecast that we will grow 25-35% for the next three years and expect employment to increase to around 90 in 2016. In addition, we expect our exports to increase to account for 25% of our total sales.”

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