By Claire West
Earlier this week we reported on concerns that although energy efficiency was a growing priority for many UK businesses, few felt able to adequately invest in green technology in the short term. Now good news has come in the form of a joint partnership between the Carbon Trust and Siemens to provide UK businesses with green equipment finance worth up to £550 million over the next three years, which was announced today.
This major new deal will boost green growth and unlock business investment in the low carbon economy — key to the UK’s recovery. The new dedicated low carbon finance scheme is a first and 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. 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 use its expertise in carbon saving from energy efficient technologies to assess the carbon, energy and cost savings of any application. This will enable the financing to pay for itself through energy savings.
Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, commented: “Driving green growth in the UK is key to our economic recovery. A missing ingredient at present is access to affordable finance to enable business to make green investments. This new major finance facility will improve business competitiveness, cut carbon and boost green growth.”
James Gearey, CEO from Siemens Financial Services Ltd. UK commented: “We are delighted to be working with the Carbon Trust, their values very much match our own. Siemens has been reporting the performance of its environmental portfolio since 2002, not just the commercial performance, but also the hundreds of millions of tonnes of carbon emission reduction that has been delivered through Siemens technology. Siemens Financial Services has extensive experience of asset financing and lending to UK business and is particularly successful in the SME sector. This background combined with our ready access to funding means we are well placed to support the scheme and deliver the associated benefits to its future customers.”
Miles Templeman, the Director General of the Institute of Directors, said: “In today’s high energy cost environment improving energy efficiency is a must for all businesses. The new Energy Efficiency Finance scheme could play a significant role in stimulating innovative solutions.”
John Sauven, Executive Director of Greenpeace, welcomed the partnership: “This green finance deal is exactly the sort of initiative that we need to see happening more frequently in the future. A green growth strategy can only work if it is backed by green finance. Deals like this, alongside the development of a green infrastructure bank, could be a tipping point that the UK economy needs to get out of the current doldrums.”
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.