March 2011 Archives

Summing up what the Budget means for 'Greentech'

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I was talking to a company the other day that has an interest in the Climate Reduction Commitment (CRC) legislation and while we didn't expect any major changes relating to CRC in the Budget, there was a feeling of 'you never know'.

The devil is still in the detail, and more may emerge over the coming days. But it seems there are no changes to CRC announced by George Osborne.

Those 'green' issues that were covered have been well summed up by the Guardian here

 

Eco-Xchange's ComOOt plan to offer commuting alternative

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The Government's new Carbon Plan has insisted that if we are to see large-scale
take-up of electric vehicles as a major form of road transport, developing charging infrastructure will also be vital and the Government has committed to mandating a national recharging network. By June 2011, the Government will produce a strategy setting out how it will promote the provision of nationwide recharging infrastructure.

 

The reality is that travelling into and around towns has never been more expensive or congested. Fares are increasing three times faster than inflation on public transport that is overcrowded and unreliable. Electric and hybrid cars will reduce emissions and pollution, but issues of congestion and parking in urban conurbations will prevail.

 

Public transport can be modernised and capacity increased to a point, but this will demand massive investment and space within cities is already at a premium for houses and office space, without additional demands from the transport infrastructure.

 

A new paper from the influential Eco-Xchange group, which sets out to look at green 'in black and white'  argues that a different approach is needed that looks at the complete picture and provides a solution that is cost effective, flexible, environmentally responsible, and takes into account the specific issues of inner-city travel.

 

 The paper, 'Why Commute When you can ComOOt', argues that two wheels are better than four when it comes to getting from A to B in over-crowded city environments. By providing a range of electric powered two-wheelers from pedal bikes to motorbikes aimed specifically at getting the workforce to work, Eco-Xchange  argues it will be possible to save on public transport subsidies, reduce congestion and lower carbon emissions.  The ComOOT plan also includes secure parking and charging facilities, and the maintenance services needed to keep the wheels of business turning.

 

There is evidence that Olympic organisers and Transport for London are increasingly worried about the demands that the Games will place on London's transport infrastructure and have suggested that visitors should not rely on public transport to get them to the Games' venues in a timely fashion. At the same time, City businesses are also concerned that the additional demand on, already overcrowed, roads and rail services will lead to severe problems for their workforce and disruption to their business.

 

The average range of the bikes proposed would allow a comfortable return journey from the West End to the main Olympic site near Leyton. 

  

There is an element of social enterprise to the scheme too because Eco-Xchange argues that ComOOt  will provide a wide range of jobs covering everything from general servicing and support to general operational management, set up on a social enterprise basis, under a  Community Interest Company model.  The focus will be on offering a range of apprenticeships and vocational training as well as operational jobs at local and national level. 

 

According to Eco-Xchange, ComOOt is an ongoing project and will require R&D in all areas to improve the system over time. This will particularly suit those just starting out in the workplace who will benefit from  gaining qualifications and training on an ongoing basis in the new and growing industry sectors in the Cleantech and Greentech economies. 

 

What Eco-Xchange is looking for now is a founding partner and sponsor to support the development of ComOOt to deliver low carbon personal transport schemes to large organisations, local workforces and visitors in the Capital,  in time for the Olympics. 

 

 

Coalition Government releases Draft Carbon Plan

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The Government has launched a Carbon Plan, effectively a Government-wide plan of action on climate change, including domestic and international activity, which sets out department by department, actions and deadlines for the next 5 years.

The Plan is available here. It represents ongoing and planned cross-Government action on climate change with specific deadlines providing for both internal accountability and public transparency. Quarterly updates on progress against actions within the Plan will be published on the No.10 website.

The Plan sets out what has to happen and by when if the Government is to live up to its green ambitions, meet tough domestic carbon targets and encourage greater action internationally. It is focused on the jobs and economic opportunities of the low carbon economy and on policies that will help insulate Britain from future energy price shocks.

The final version of the Carbon Plan will be published in the autumn, and will be updated annually. Reports last weekend had  suggested that the government wants to take steps - possibly in the Budget on March 23rd -  to 'wean' the country off oil,  amid fears that the Libyan battle for power  has created uncertainty over fuel supplies, and left consumers  facing a further rise in fuel prices.

The energy secretary, Chris Huhne, told the Observer that the UK had no option but to speed up efforts to move away from oil. "Getting off the oil hook is made all the more urgent by the crisis in the Middle East. We cannot afford to go on relying on such a volatile source of energy when we can have clean, green and secure energy from low-carbon sources," he said. "The carbon plan is about ensuring that the whole of government is engaged in a joined-up effort to lead us into a low-carbon world."

One of the options being mooted is a nationwide strategy to promote installation of infrastructure for electric cars by June. It is also expected that new deadlines will be set for building low-carbon homes, and that a firm starting date of September 2012 will be established for a new "green investment bank" to become fully operational.

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Siemens and Carbon Trust team up to launch green finance deal

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The Carbon Trust and Siemens have announced a partnership to provide UK businesses with green equipment finance worth up to £550 million over the next three years.

This new deal is being targeted to boost green growth and unlock business investment in the low carbon economy. The new dedicated low carbon finance scheme will enable UK businesses to invest in cost effective energy efficiency equipment or other low carbon technologies, such as new efficient lighting and biomass heating.

All businesses will be able to apply for new green growth finance from the scheme from 4 April 2011. Under a Heads of Agreement signed between the two parties Siemens Financial Services Ltd. in the UK (SFS UK) will provide the financial backing and manage the provision of funding and the Carbon Trust will assess the carbon, energy and cost savings of any application. This will enable the financing to pay for itself through energy savings.

The Carbon Trust and Siemens Financial Services have also agreed to finance a new commercial venture that will increase the take up of energy efficiency projects. This venture will offer procurement support to businesses wishing to purchase energy efficiency equipment at scale from a network of accredited suppliers and will be launched later this year.

 

 

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This page is an archive of entries from March 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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