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Financial Times: Energy companies asked to aid scheme

By Fiona Harvey
Published: September 14 2006 03:00 | Last updated: September 14 2006 03:00

Energy companies will be asked by the governmentto contribute to a £500m scheme to research new low-carbon forms of energy.

Detailed plans for an Energy Technologies Institute, promised in this year’s Budget by Gordon Brown, will be set out today. The aim of the institute, to be jointly funded by the taxpayer and private companies, will be to develop new sources of energy that reduce the output of greenhouse gases.

The prospectus for the institute names four energy companies that have agreed to contribute funds: BP, E.ON, Shell and EDF Energy. But the government is seeking a total of 10 energy companies to contribute £5m a year each to the scheme. It will provide £50m a year from 2008, when the instituteis expected to be fully operational, and £10m next year in initial funding.

Alistair Darling, trade and industry secretary, said: “The Energy Technologies Institute is the most important development in UK energy research and innovation for decades. By bringing together the efforts and investment of both public and private sectors, [it] will have the potential to make a huge impact.”

The technologies to be researched include wave and tidal energy, hydrogen fuel cells, biofuels and other forms of “clean energy” for transport, clean coal that produces fewer greenhouse gases than traditional methods of burning coal, and carbon capture and storage.

The institute, which is intended to run for at least 10 years, will also focus on reducing energy usage, for instance through energy efficiency measures. There will be an obligation to develop low-cost forms of energy for poor people.

Fiona Harvey

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