Making Economic Sense of Going Green for Small Business

Making Economic Sense of Going Green for Small Business

A survey in the south west of England indicates that ‘green energy’ jobs could be the key to escaping the current economic downturn. Despite the recession, the number of people employed in the renewable energy sector grew to over 5,000 – a 78% increase. While the UK’s Energy Security and Green Economy bill must include measures to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) cut carbon emissions, according to a report Making Sense of Going Green.

Jessica Shankleman in BusinessGreen (23 August 2010):

The government’s upcoming Energy Security and Green Economy bill must include measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) cut carbon emissions, according to a new report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

The report, titled Making Sense of Going Green, examines how SMEs can better contribute to the government’s low-carbon 2020 targets and recommends a range of measures, including expanding the government’s current green loan scheme for small businesses and offering incentives for firms that improve the energy efficiency of their buildings.

“The potential of the UK’s 4.8 million small businesses to contribute to the fight against climate change and drive green economic growth […] must be harnessed when the government publishes its forthcoming non-domestic Green Deal and Energy bill,” the report states.

The study cites research from the Carbon Trust which shows that if all UK businesses and public sector organisations undertook effective energy efficiency measures, they could save £3.6bn a year while slashing carbon emissions by 29 million tonnes.

Specifically, the report calls on the government to introduce a loan scheme for businesses that would see banks, energy and construction firms pay the upfront costs of major building energy efficiency upgrades; encourage firms in the worst G-rated buildings to invest in obtaining an F-rating; and waive planned increases to business rates for firms that improve building energy efficiency.

The report was released as the Welsh Assembly last week launched a package of measures to help SMEs profit from renewable energy.

Welsh environment minister Jane Davidson pledged to help small and medium-sized renewable energy installation companies access interest-free loans to cover the cost of gaining professional accreditation under the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

The move was welcomed by the Renewable Energy Association as a positive step to encourage more firms and households to install microgeneration technologies and take advantage of the new feed-in tariff.

Businesses and households can only access the feed-in tariff if they use renewable energy technologies and installers that have gained MCS certification. However, some firms have complained that the cost of gaining accreditation can be prohibitive for small businesses.

“In this new and rapidly growing market, it is important that customers are protected, as the investments are significant both in terms of cost and brain power,” said REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell. “It is for this reason that there is a need for certification, but it must not be a barrier for installers and manufacturers. This scheme will help alleviate that.


Business News (24 August 2010)

Survey shows 78% increase in ‘green energy’ jobs

A survey  in the south west of England indicates that ‘green energy’ jobs could be the key to leading the Westcountry out of the current economic downturn. The survey of over 200 businesses shows that over the last two years, despite the recession, the number of people employed in the renewable energy sector grew to over 5,000 – a 78 per cent increase.

The survey, commissioned by Regen SW, found that there were now 5,100 people working directly in renewable energy. It also found that the value of the industry to the south west economy (GVA) had risen by 17 per cent from £215 million to £251 million.

“This survey demonstrates the huge opportunity for renewable energy to be at the heart of our future prosperity. The 5,000 plus people already employed should be just the start” said Merlin Hyman, Regen SW’s chief executive.  Merlin added: “We will see massive investment in the next decade in meeting our climate change targets. That investment could go to overseas energy and technology companies – or we could equip local companies to win the business and generate thousands of skilled long-term jobs.”

Merlin added: “Regen SW is working with over 700 businesses, local authorities and many other partners on a huge range of exciting projects from wave power to woodfuel to help businesses create green jobs. The survey shows this work is greatly valued by business. It is vital that we build on this work as the new local enterprise partnerships, which are charged with setting the vision for our local economy in the future, are set up.”

Regen SW identified a total of 731 businesses active in the renewable energy and/or energy efficiency sectors, which together directly support almost 10,000 jobs.  The findings reinforce a study by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills* which demonstrated that the environmental goods and services sector is an important component of the regional economy, and that the south west outperforms other UK regional economies of a similar scale such as Scotland and the West Midlands in terms of the level of activity in the sector.


2 Responses to “Making Economic Sense of Going Green for Small Business”

  1. [...] Tagged: renewable energy, Ken Hickson, Van Jones, green jobs. Leave a Comment Ken Hickson’s ABC Carbon Express has reported on on a survey undertaken in England that suggests ‘green energy’ jobs [...]

  2. The natural alternatives are unreliable, however people need alternate fuel sources. Due to the fact later on as soon as oil begins to run out and natural energy will be efficient massive green power business.

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