The Carbon Trust is to become a mainstream accreditation agency for energy consultants in a bid to raise money after the government slashed its grant for 2011/12 by 40% to £50m.
As a result of the cut the Carbon Trust is to make 35 of its 216 employees redundant and will also make major cutbacks in its services.
One of the main casualties is free business energy efficiency audits. These will cease in England, although they will continue in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Some 380 individual consultants and 60 consultancies carry out these audits on the trust’s behalf. Each has to pass an accreditation test before it can work for the trust.
This scheme has achieved “growing recognition in the low carbon marketplace as an indication of quality and expertise", the trust has now told accredited consultants. Hence it is planning to provide accreditation to all-comers on a commercial basis.
In a recent letter it continues: “We believe the accreditation scheme is capable of providing significant value to a wide range of stakeholders… to direct these organisations to the most appropriate skills to ensure they get the best quality advice.”
The Carbon Trust says it is developing its plans for the new scheme which will be relaunched in April.
Another victim of the cuts is the Carbon Trust’s Industrial Energy Efficiency Accelerator, developed to reduce carbon emissions from industrial processes (ENDS Report, November 2009).
The trust has also wound up investment in its algae biofuels challenge to commercialise production for use in aviation and road transport. It is seeking other investment sources to continue the project.
The trust has also stopped funding ten research projects with companies. A further ten are under review. It refused to disclose further details on the projects.