Decc grants £18m for low-carbon tech

9th May 2013

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The energy department has awarded £18 million of funding to organisations developing technologies that will cut energy use and support the uptake of renewables

Heat-pump manufacturer Kensa, construction supply firm Econovate and utilities firm Yorkshire Water, are among firms that have been awarded grants under the first phase of the government’s energy entrepreneurs fund.

The £35 million initiative was launched in April 2012 with the aim of supporting the development of technologies that can improve the energy-efficiency of organisations and cut carbon emissions.

In the first round of funding, Decc has awarded a share of £16 million to 30 projects designing, among others, smart energy demand controls and waste management solutions.

“This new investment will give these organisations the boost they need to drive forward the development of a range of innovative low-carbon designs, helping cut costs and bring new technologies to market,” said energy minister Greg Barker.

“Innovation is vital for the move towards a low-carbon economy and it’s great to see so many entrepreneurs rising to the challenge.”

A further £2 million of Decc funding has been divided between 16 organisations developing energy storage technologies, including Aston University which is working with carmaker Renault and Western Power Distribution on a project looking at using a combination of second-hand batteries from vehicles and new batteries to store power.

Energy storage technologies will play an important role in supporting the wide-scale deployment of renewable energy in the coming decades and developing a storage capacity of 2GW could, according to the Electricity Storage Network (ESN), save the UK £3 billion per year by 2020.

Without a way of storing electricity, wind farm owners are asked to halt generating energy during periods of high winds and low energy demand to prevent the national grid from overloading. On 29 April 2013, more than £1 million was paid in compensation to generators for shutting off turbines.

Anthony Price, director of ESN, welcomed the grants for energy storage technologies, but called on the government to set an energy storage capacity target of 2GW by 2020, to help the sector secure investment.

“Despite previous assurances that energy storage is a vital part of the low carbon economy, we have yet to see a policy pathway that delivers adequate storage capacity to keep the lights on now, and to capitalise on new low carbon technologies in the future,” warned Price.

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