20 April 2011
Engineers are calling on the Government to increase the remit of the Green Investment Bank. The Coalition has signalled their intent to direct the Bank’s fund towards investment in low carbon technology. But, Europe’s largest professional group of engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), is arguing that the Bank should also support energy efficiency innovations in the manufacturing sector.
The investment mandate for the Bank is to deliver the Government’s aims on economic growth, facilitate the transition to a green economy and support the UK’s industrial transformation. Much of the focus to date has been on investment in the manufacture of low carbon goods and the rollout of green infrastructure.
Dr Tony Whitehead, Director of Policy at the IET said: “Energy conservation and efficiency should be amongst the first priorities of a sustainable energy policy.
“Energy is set to become increasingly expensive in the future, and to survive in the global market, UK firms will not only need to produce new products, but to produce them at competitive prices. This means driving costs down wherever possible.
“The manufacture of low carbon technology is often seen as a panacea to meet the UK’s carbon reduction requirements whilst at the same time creating a renaissance in UK manufacturing. Yet the manufacture of low carbon goods is not in itself automatically green. A green industrial revolution should first focus on greening manufacturing processes to reduce energy and resource use.
“For the UK to achieve its targets on carbon emissions there needs to be extra support for green manufacturing processes. Energy conservation and efficiency in the manufacturing sector should be a priority for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and more widely across government.
“In addition, access to the Green Investment Bank by SMEs will be paramount. SMEs are able to develop and commercialise products rapidly in niche areas. By its very nature, green technology and processes will require innovative solutions; an area where SMEs can develop a competitive advantage for UK plc. SMEs should have priority access to the Green Investment Bank to spur green growth and technology.”