Government Pledges £10m For SME Energy Projects

Department of Energy and Climate Change Wants To Bring New Energy Products To Market

30.01.2014

Steven Beahan, Partner | +44 (0)114 294 7868

The Department of Energy and Climate Change has announced that a group of SMEs will share £10 million to bring energy efficiency products to market.

Small and medium-sized businesses have often argued they do not receive enough support from the government, while larger companies are granted large subsidies - although it appears the coalition is attempting to change this view.

Under the scheme, which is being led by minister for energy and climate change Greg Barker, SMEs will get up to £2 million each to help them develop state-of-the-art technologies that it is thought could reduce emissions while heightening efficiency.

In addition to this funding, companies that are given money through the tendering process will be offered specialist advice from commercial experts on how to attract investments from larger corporations.

The government hopes this will reinvigorate the UK's energy market, which has seen a number of setbacks in recent weeks after European companies reacted poorly to the withdrawal of some subsidies.

Speaking about the new project, Mr Barker said: "This investment will give SMEs a vital boost to drive forward the development of a range of innovative low carbon designs, helping cut costs and bringing new technologies to market in this sector.

"Innovation is vital for the move towards a low carbon economy and an essential part of our long term economic plan. I look forward to seeing our great entrepreneurs rising to the challenge."

Applications for funding will be assessed by a group of technical experts from the government and industry, with bids benchmarked against a range of criteria.

This is the third phase of this project, which was originally started in September 2012 and has so far seen £35 million invested into it.

Some 51 SMEs have so far benefitted from the scheme, which is encouraging considering similar attempts in the past have seen muted private sector reaction.

Labour has repeatedly criticised the government's record on climate change and energy - believing more should be done to bring down consumers' bills.

Expert Opinion
This is yet another example of the work that the Government is doing to try to support the small business community and comes just as ministers also confirmed plans for the introduction of a tax break for SMEs, which is being implemented as part of plans to create jobs and boost local economies.

"However, this specific move related to energy products is an interesting step which demonstrates that ministers recognise and want to tap into the innovative ideas that many start-ups generate. They have set a challenge to entrepreneurs and it will be interesting to see the results of it.

"We would urge small businesses with an interest in this area to consider this potential opportunity and also ensure they have legal advice to hand as and when they need to consider patents or other intellectual property issues in relation to the products they develop."
Steven Beahan, Partner