Research into renewable energy technologies has been given a financial boost by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The government will put £47.4 million into the Carbon Trust for investment in technologies such as offshore wind, third-generation photovoltaic power, marine energy and biomass heating.

The trust will get another £12 million for its energy-saving loans scheme for small and medium size enterprises, bringing the total lent to SMEs to £62 million since 2003.

Over the next three years, the government will also set aside £10 million for an anaerobic digestion programme. Up to four commercial-scale facilities will be built to show the potential of this bio-gas technology that uses food waste to create energy.

The announcement is part of DEFRA’s overall budget for 2008/09, estimated to be a 1.4% increase over this past year.

In December the government said it would push for up to 33GW of offshore wind energy development, enough to power 25 million homes by 2020. Britain has approved 8GW of offshore wind farm development.

UK regulations state that suppliers must generate 10% of their energy from renewable sources by 2010. At the moment only 2% of the UK’s energy is renewable – the lowest of any major European country.