Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Derbyshire to back carbon-cutting businesses with £2m fund

Derbyshire County Council is proposing a £2million funding pot to help support green economic recovery across the county.

Cabinet members are set to consider proposals for a grant scheme to help local businesses to develop and invest in green energy and carbon reduction schemes at a meeting this week (Thursday 11 February), as part of the Government’s drive for a green industrial revolution.

Under the proposals – which have been drawn-up in collaboration with the University of Derby as part of the council’s COVID Economic Strategy and climate change commitments – small and medium sized businesses with up to 250 staff and micro-business with up to 10 staff would be eligible to apply for grants designed to kick-start the county’s carbon reduction and alternative energy agenda and boost local businesses in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

If the plans are approved, businesses will be able to apply for grants delivered through three separate funds:

  • Green Entrepreneurs Demonstrator Fund – £1.2m set aside for a small number of high quality projects from entrepreneurs wanting to establish green, alternative energy or low carbon initiatives in Derbyshire to provide community heat and power schemes. The minimum grant available through this fund would be £100,000
  • Green Entrepreneurs Small Grant Fund – grants of £10,000 – £20,000 for new and existing businesses with game changing proposals in alternative energy, clean fuel and carbon reduction. £500k will be made available through this fund
  • Green Entrepreneurs Scholarship Fund – a training fund to support individuals to retrain with skills to enable them to enter the field of alternative energy. £100,000 will be made available through this fund

Cabinet Member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, Councillor Tony King, said: “The pandemic has made us all take a step back and do things differently. This is a prime opportunity to build back better and shrink our carbon footprint with a scheme that will literally power the economy.

“If the plans are approved, this funding will give businesses a much-needed leg up to invest in alternative energy, clean fuel and carbon reduction projects setting an example for others to follow.

“It will open up more opportunity to develop low-carbon community energy schemes to heat and power homes, businesses and public buildings across the county.

“And it will offer local people the chance to equip themselves with the skills needed to gain employment in an emerging and fast-growing sector – which in turn would mean we had the skills available in Derbyshire to roll out and utilize green technology and alternative energy more widely in the future.”

Professor Kamil Omoteso, Pro Vice-Chancellor Dean of the College of Business, Law and Social Sciences at the University of Derby, said: “The University of Derby is delighted to support the county council’s new Green Entrepreneurs Fund Programme.

“Developing a low carbon economy and supporting businesses to build sustainability into their operations and planning is an essential part of the economic recovery process, not just in our region, but across the UK.

“The University has been leading the way in developing low carbon solutions for business across Derbyshire, particularly through the DE-Carbonise project, in partnership with Derbyshire County Council and Derby City Council.

“Our business and technical support has helped companies to realise significant cost-savings by adopting a greener approach to their operations, and these improvements will, in turn, realise lasting social benefits for our communities and economic advantages for business.

“As the country aims to build back better, we very much want Derbyshire to be at the forefront of this drive towards alternative energy use by business, and to be recognised for the ambition, innovation and expertise we have here. The Green Entrepreneurs Fund Programme will make an important contribution to that process.”

If the proposals get the go-ahead, the £2million scheme would be funded through the council’s Covid Recovery Fund and overseen by a Green Entrepreneurs Fund Programme Board.

The board, chaired by the Leader of Derbyshire County Council, would approve grants to businesses based on the recommendation of assessing officers and other members of the board would include the council’s Cabinet member for Clean Growth and Regeneration, its Director of Economy Transport and Environment and representatives from University of Derby.

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