Worldwide, the green energy sector is worth $5trillon and employs 28 million people. It is growing at a faster rate than GDP in the developed world, increasing by 4% each year; a figure that academics, politicians and businessmen all agreed will accelerate further.
The recently appointed Business Minister Norman Lamb gave a speech at the event. Mr Lamb said: “Worldwide, manufacturing accounts for one third of total energy consumption. China, India and Russia want to reduce energy consumption without reducing their productivity or total output. The UK’s capability in clean, energy-efficient production will help them to achieve that.”
According to EEF, UK manufacturing businesses as a whole have reduced their emissions by 39% since 1990. Between 1990 and 2009, energy consumption in the UK industrial sector fell by 31%. This has led to UKTI targeting green technology as a premium export product.
China has set a target to reduce CO2 emissions by 17% based on 2010 figures, fuelling the market for green exports. It also aims to reduce its energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16% between 2010 and 2015.
New regulations to make polluters pay are set to take effect in China, such as the Clean Production Promotion on 1 July 2012, which has accelerated the demand for green technology.
Madam Jiehua Mai, general manager of the state-owned energy development organisation Guangzhou Fortune Oriental Environment & Resources, said that factories will now be subject to clean-production examinations.
Guangzhou is the biggest of the five provinces that form part of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) project, which set up national low-carbon provinces and cities, and is a region where British companies could potentially sell homegrown green technology.
Research from the 2030 water resources group states that, assuming there are no water productivity gains, global water demand will rise from its existing level of 800bn/m³ to 1,500bn/m³ per year in 2030. This increased demand for water means that the cost will rise too, making it a resource that business will need to map more closely and a worthwhile area to invest in.
Dr Stuart Ballinger, water consultant at energy research firm AEA, said that companies that invest in more efficient water technology will not only save on the cost of the water but the associated costs involved such energy involved for manufacturers to treat it on heating and softening it.
If UK firms can develop and make water saving technologies then there are strong export markets to sell into. The water stress index indicates that Australia, the Middle East, Mexico, India and South Africa are all in demand of water, with an industrial growth meaning that demand will the need will rise by 8% in India and 10.5% in China.
Al-Karim Govindji, technology acceleration manager at the Carbon Trust, commented: “Companies won’t invest without the economic case for doing so. Innovation is less well known so businesses have to take the risk.”