THE UK is the European hotbed of investment and innovation in low-carbon technologies, attracting 41% of the total venture-capital and private-equity investment in low-carbon small and medium-sized enterprises in the EU, according to a new report.
The research, commissioned by Shell Springboard, also reveals that the global sustainable-energy market opportunity could reach £2,000billion a year by 2030.
Key findings include:
Britain’s low-carbon technology market could, on the basis of current carbon-reduction targets, grow by 30% year-on-year until 2020.
The market opportunity could reach £2,000billion per annum globally if the world acts to stem climate change. By comparison, steel sales are currently worth £1,200billion per annum and wheat sales £520billion.
2007 was a record year for investment in sustainable energy, with total global investment growing from £50billion in 2006 to £74billion last year.
UK companies attracted more than £1billion of venture capital and private equity into renewable energy and energy-efficiency technologies in 2007. That was more than twice any other European country and 41% of the EU total.
Climate change entrepreneurship could be a bigger, more sustainable opportunity than the dotcom boom of the late 1990s, when global sales of personal computers were growing at 15-20% a year, as compared with the 30% potential annual growth in low-carbon technologies in the UK between now and 2020.
James Smith, chairman of Shell UK, said: “We have to tackle climate change and that creates a big opportunity for small business. This research shows the size of the prize and that British business ingenuity is already making an impact.”