Funding for small-scale solar, biomass and other carbon reduction projects in the UK could rise significantly if consistent reporting guidelines for these schemes can be agreed, a study from BRE Trust, owner of the UK’s leading building research body BRE showed.
Many companies interviewed for the report “Financing UK Carbon Reduction Projects”, published by IHS BRE Press, said they would prefer to support green projects in the UK rather than invest in schemes abroad provided a standardised mechanism for reporting on the projects is created.
“The key requirement for the support of UK-based projects is the creation of a standard that has widespread adoption and endorsement by environmental organisations recognised by their customers,” said Robert Rabinowitz, one of the report’s authors.
Companies interviewed included major UK-based airlines, supermarket chains and financial institutions.
This standardised reporting framework would allow companies to compare projects in terms of the investment they involve, the amount of carbon emissions saved and associated non-carbon benefits including biodiversity improvements as well as community enhancement.
BRE is working with corporate partners on a proposal for a reporting framework, which it plans to deliver later this year.
“The ultimate goal of such a reporting framework” said Rabinowitz, “will be to create a new asset class, namely project-based carbon reductions in the UK, so that the investment capital required to fund such emission reductions and help the UK to meet its climate change targets can be deployed most effectively across the entire range of voluntary and regulated projects.”
Interest in community-owned renewable energy projects is particularly high especially in the area of solar power, said co-author Jon d’Este-Hoare.
“We believe that the opportunity to receive an additional income from the project in return for the carbon that the project mitigates will only increase the financial viability of this type of project,” d’Este-Hoare added.
These projects could provide a valuable contribution to the UK’s target raising renewable energy output and achieving its goal of an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions relative to 1990 by 2050.
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