Small and medium-sized firms with innovative energy-saving ideas will have access to a £16 million fund from this week.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change has released the first phase of its £35 million Entrepreneurs Fund, which is designed to encourage SMEs to develop energy-saving ideas and switch to low-carbon technologies.
Part of the fund – some £10m – will be available for businesses to build on energy efficient technologies including control systems, lighting, and temperature systems. The rest of the fund will be used for power generation and energy storage technologies such as fuel cells, biomass boilers and heat pumps.
The second phase of the scheme will be launched early next year.
Releasing the first tranche of the fund this week, Energy and Climate Change Minister Greg Barker said innovative low-carbon technology was essential for a green economy.
“This investment will help entrepreneurs with novel ideas get designs off the drawing board and into our homes and businesses, helping cut carbon and spur on growth in this exciting market place,” he said.
Businesses bidding for a slice of the fund will be assessed on whether they meet the Government’s 2020 and 2050 carbon targets, as well as their project’s commercial potential and the extent to which it improves on current technologies. Successful bidders will receive the funds later in 2012.
Julian Morgan, managing director of the Energy Advice Line, welcomed the launch of the fund and said he hoped it would lead to more affordable green technologies being available to business electricity users.
“Green technology is something that businesses have to embrace, but with energy prices rising and tough economic conditions continuing, small firms often find green technology unaffordable,” Mr Morgan said.
“As this fund is targeted at SMEs, hopefully it will generate ideas and innovations particularly suitable for small and medium-sized firms.
“In the interim, the best advice for SMEs remains to shop around for the best available business electricity prices and lock into good deals before prices start to rise again.”
The Energy Advice Line is the UK’s leading energy business electricity price comparison and switching service, and enables firms to compare the market for the best possible business energy deals at the touch of a button.
The service has a team of business experts who can give advice about business energy contracts and how to avoid expensive contract rollovers. It also offers a free contract management service to help firms throughout the duration of their energy contracts. For further information visit www.energyadviceline.org.uk