WAG supports low-carbon technology

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A £34m programme to encourage development of technology that can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and create jobs in Wales has been announced by the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG).

The Low Carbon Research Institute Energy programme is aimed at meeting Welsh Assembly targets for reducing CO2 emissions, by bringing together Welsh universities and industry to develop new products, technologies and services for commercial use.

The programme will include research projects in areas such as solar energy for heating buildings, hydrogen for powering transport, power generation using biomass and photovoltaic (PV) technology to generate electricity. It is also hoped it will encourage the development of zero-carbon buildings and marine renewable energy sources.

The funds for the programme include £15m from the Convergence European Regional Development Fund. The scheme will be led by Cardiff University with Glyndwr, Bangor, Swansea, Aberystwyth and Glamorgan universities, which will also provide funding along with the private sector.

Rhodri Morgan, the Welsh first minister, said the scheme is designed to help Wales play a role in tackling global environmental changes.

‘This programme will place Wales at the forefront of industry-led research to achieve more affordable, low-carbon energy, improve energy efficiency from a range of sources and reduce energy demand across all sectors,’ he said.

It is hoped that the six-year programme will create new job opportunities and contribute to Welsh Assembly targets of ensuring that all new buildings are zero carbon by 2011. The Welsh Assembly also aims to reduce the country’s CO2 emissions by three per cent per annum from 2011 and make Wales self-sufficient in renewable energy by 2025.

The programme will provide optional training to individuals and business to support the new technology, products and processes developed. It is argued that such training is needed in the labour market to sustain a low-carbon economy.

Professor Phil Jones, head of Cardiff University's Welsh School of Architecture and chair of the Low Carbon Research Institute (LCRI), said: ‘The LCRI Convergence Energy Programme is a unique collaboration of Welsh universities partnering local industries to provide a comprehensive cross-disciplinary energy research base to support the WAG's low-carbon policies.

‘It will significantly add to the LCRI's research capacity to establish


as an international leader in low-carbon research.’