Green process innovation key to transitioning towards low carbon economy

Green bank should fund energy efficient manufacturing

The Green Investment Bank must fund new innovations to reduce energy emissions in manufacturing, argue engineers.

While the coalition government has already indicated that the new green bank will support low carbon technology investment, the IET says it must go further if carbon emissions targets to be met.

"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," said Dr Tony Whitehead, Director of Policy at the IET.

"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."

The investment mandate for the Green Investment 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, however the IET says that there needs to be extra support for green manufacturing processes.

"Energy conservation and efficiency should be amongst the first priorities of a sustainable energy policy," said Dr Whitehead.

"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 IET, Europe's largest professional group of engineers with 150,000 members across 127 countries, says that the government must also allow SMEs to access support from the Green Investment Bank to spur green growth and technology.

"Green technology and processes will require innovative solutions, an area where SMEs can develop a competitive advantage for the UK," said Dr Whitehead.

Further reading:

See the full report from the IET on the Green Investment Bank

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