Low carbon innovation: terms of reference

15 October 2013

In June 2010, the NAO reported that DECC had inherited a poorly coordinated approach towards direct support for renewable energy technologies. This made it impossible to demonstrate whether the Government was achieving value for money from public funds towards to the UK’s legally binding targets:

  1. The EU Renewable Energy Directive (2009): to increase the share of renewable energy in the UK’s energy mix from 1.3% in 2005 to 15% by 2020; and
  2. The Climate Change Act 2008: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050, relative to 1990 levels.

We asked the NAO to review “Public funding for innovation in low carbon technologies in the UK” and we are publishing their report and launching our own inquiry. The NAO report highlights that that since June 2010, DECC have taken steps to improve co-ordination of innovation funding . DECC re-launched the Low Carbon Innovation Coordination Group (LCICG) in late-2011 comprising all the bodies involved in funding low carbon innovation: BIS, DECC, DEFRA, MOD, DfT, DCLG, UKTI, the Welsh Government, the Scottish Government, the Energy Technology Institute, Crown Estate, Ofgem, Carbon Trust, Scottish Enterprise, Technology Strategy Board, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council. The LCICG is preparing a strategy for launch in early 2014, which should include an assessment of the opportunities for funding for different low carbon technologies. The LCICG should also report on the different stages of the innovation process where public investment could be most effective.

However, the UK’s performance on funding for low carbon innovation to date has been mixed. UK expenditure on energy research and development doubled between 2006-2011 and DECC allocated £185m for 2011-2015 for low carbon innovation: but it under-spent its budget between 2011-2013 because of delays in agreeing and launching its projects. Furthermore, there is no commitment beyond 2015 to a low carbon innovation budget, leaving industry uncertain on support for their investment in long-term innovation initiatives.

Terms of Reference:

The Committee invites responses addressing some or all of the following questions:

  1. Will the Government’s current approach towards low carbon innovation help to achieve the UK’s legally binding targets at the lowest possible cost?
  2. Does the Government have the right balance of focus between energy efficiency, renewable energy and other low carbon technologies?
  3. What outcomes, if any, are the LCICG likely to achieve? How should its forthcoming strategy drive more investment into low carbon innovation, and how should it measure success?
  4. Are the Government & LCICG targeting investment towards the most effective stages of the innovation process, including over the long-term?
  5. What is the impact of the short-term funding timelines on private sector investment?
  6. How should DECC ensure that its remaining capital allocation for low carbon innovation will be spent wisely, after two years of underspend?
  7. How is the Government maximising opportunities to learn from and partner with international partners within and beyond the EU?

The deadline for the submission of written evidence is Tuesday 10 December 2013

Notes on submission of written evidence

Written submissions for this inquiry should be submitted via the inquiry page on the Energy and Climate Change Committee website.

The deadline is Tuesday 10 December 2013 As a guideline submissions should state clearly who the submission is from e.g. ‘Written evidence submitted by xxxx’ and be no longer than 3000 words, please contact the Committee staff if you wish to discuss this. If you need to send hard copy please send it to: The Clerk, Energy and Climate Change Committee, 14 Tothill Street, London, SW1H 9NB.

Submissions must be a self-contained memorandum in Word or Rich Text Format (not PDFs). Paragraphs should be numbered for ease of reference and the document should, if possible, include an executive summary.

Submissions should be original work, not previously published or circulated elsewhere. Once submitted, your submission becomes the property of the Committee and no public use should be made of it unless you have first obtained permission from the Clerk of the Committee. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

Publication of evidence

The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to publish the written evidence it receives, either by printing the evidence, publishing it on the internet or by making it publicly available through the Parliamentary Archives. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence.

The personal information you supply will be processed in accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 for the purposes of attributing the evidence you submit and contacting you as necessary in connection with its processing. The Clerk of the House of Commons is the data controller for the purposes of the Act.

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