Introduction

The required shift to a low-carbon and resource efficient economy over the coming decades will not be cheap, but the opportunities for economic growth and job creation are vast. In 2010, investment in low-carbon technology amounted to over £150bn worldwide. But in global terms there is evidence that the UK is being left behind.

So how can the government help drive low carbon investment? In a recent Demos report, The Entrepreneurial State, we found that, contrary to conventional wisdom, government funding has played a major role in all the technological revolutions since the Second World War. This is particularly the case for green-tech where new, transformative technologies are required to meet the vast environmental challenges that we face. The £200m investment by BIS earlier this year in Offshore Renewable Energy technology innovation centres shows that the government are making investments to help facilitate innovation in green technology and exploit our potential in the off-shore market. The Green Investment Bank too will be a crucial tool in the coming years to help channel investment into the low carbon economy.