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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

R&D budget boost

After years of declining support for research and development (R&D) of British renewable energy the budget has been increased to £43.5 million over the next three years. The money will be targeted at development and cost reduction for new renewable technologies. Priority for R&D funding will go to technologies that are expected to contribute significantly to UK or export markets in the near and medium term up to 2010, and those with prospects for the longer term that need money for research, development and demonstration. Wave energy, previously dismissed as being too far from the market, is now included in the R&D support program.

Funds will also be targeted at removing institutional and administrative barriers to market entry. Key aims will be recognition of the value of embedded generation (particularly through helping produce codes and guides for connection of small generators into the local distribution system), helping trading and "green" markets for renewables (including producing an accreditation scheme to certify green power), raising public awareness of renewables, and helping the renewables industry expand into export markets.

According to its recent renewables review (main story) the government is also to introduce an R&D tax credit next year for small and medium size enterprises spending more than £50,000 annually on R&D. This effectively reduces the cost of R&D to smaller companies by 30%.

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