North-East-based renewable energy company Engenera Renewables Group has welcomed the move by the UK government to force larger companies and financial institutions to publish plans from 2023 on how they intend to achieve net zero emissions – but it has also called on the government to give further incentives for smaller firms to embrace green technologies.

The plans were unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak at COP26. By 2023, financial institutions and companies with shares listed on the London Stock Exchange must come up with net-zero transition plans, which will be published from 2023.

The strategies will need to include targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and steps which firms intend to take to get there.

These commitments will not be mandatory, however, something which has been criticised by some groups. The government is leaving it to shareholders and other stakeholders to determine if firms are doing enough.

The government also said it will form a taskforce made up of industry leaders, academics, regulators and civil society groups charged with devising a way of assessing such plans and developing a so-called “gold standard” based on science. This would be designed to also prevent so-called “greenwashing” – where environmental initiatives lack substance.

Engenera works as a decarbonisation partner for businesses seeking a holistic solution to better manage all their energy needs and help them align with government targets. It works closely with its clients on a range of renewable technologies including commercial solar PV and battery storage; air and ground source heat pumps; combined heat and power; electric vehicle charging points; Infrared heating and LED lighting.

It is also one of the few renewable energy companies in the UK able to offer renewable energy installations at no capital outlay to customers able to sign power purchase agreements (PPAs). This is because it can access a network of private funding channels, not least its very own £100 million green bond programme

Joanne Bell, Chief Finance Officer for Engenera, welcomed the government announcement and acknowledged the move should encourage more businesses to invest in and embrace green technologies. But he added that small and medium-sized enterprises will be left behind unless more is done to offer them incentives to embrace decarbonisation strategies, which can both reduce their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint.

Bell said: “We wholeheartedly welcome these plans announced by the government – they will make a big difference in moving the UK economy towards the goal of zero net emissions. We look forward to working with many larger companies to help them develop roadmaps that will achieve their goals in line with government objectives.

“Our only concern is that smaller businesses could be left behind, creating a two-tier green economy in the UK. While the largest businesses have the resources and financial backing to make large investments and deliver on these plans, smaller businesses do not. We would like to see a mixture of more education and greater incentives offered to SMEs to make the investments they need to, which would both help the planet and save them money long term.”