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Should the Government spend more on clean energy research?

Greg Barker MP Shadow Enviroment Minister Greg Barker has asked the Government an interesting question about clean energy:

"To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his Department’s research and development budget in support of research into clean energy is in the next 12 months. [255178]

Mr. Lammy: I have been asked to reply.

The Department for Innovation Universities and Skills (DIUS) provides funding to the Technology Strategy Board and the Research Councils to support research and development.

The Research Councils planned expenditure on energy research and related training is expected to exceed £300 million over the period 2008-11.

The Technology Strategy Board has a current portfolio of 76 collaborative projects (worth ca £140 million) on emerging low carbon energy technologies. Following two recent calls in Carbon Abatement Technologies and Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Technologies, further funding will be committed in the next 12 months. It is also expanding its portfolio in areas relating to the low carbon agenda through a range of initiatives including Innovation Platforms—one focused on Low Carbon Vehicles is coordinating over £100 million of public sector support to accelerate the market introduction of ultra low carbon vehicles.

In addition, DIUS has committed to provide up to £50 million pa (through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Technology Strategy Board) to the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI), to be matched by industry partners. ETI is establishing a portfolio of development projects in low carbon energy technologies.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change also provides some funding through the Environmental Transformation Fund (ETF) for clean energy research. The annual budget for the ETF and its component programmes, including the Carbon Trust, will be agreed in due course."

What do you think? Should this be left to the market? Or should the Government be investing more? Are other forms of energy cleaner than they are given credit for? Is 'clean energy' a meaningless term?

All feedback welcome - I'm an ignoramus when it comes to science! 

Tom Greeves


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