Industry welcomes Green Bank ‘milestone’

Trade bodies and industry figures have heralded the opening of The Green Investment Bank as a ‘significant milestone’ in attracting the investment needed to decarbonise the UK’s economy.

Backed by £3bn of government funding, GIB aims to leverage large amounts of private capital to fund clean energy projects and expand the green economy.

Ben Caldecott, head of policy at environmental investment company Climate Change Capital, said: “Today is a significant milestone and we commend the government for quickly launching this important, first-of-a-kind institution.

“Over time there will be many opportunities for the GIB to spur investment into the modernisation of the UK energy system, but in the near-term it must focus on what’s possible given its relatively small £3bn capitalisation. It must also align its work closely with other government initiatives, such as the £50bn UK Infrastructure Guarantee Scheme.” 

Both the Renewable Energy Association (REA) and RenewableUK were similarly full of praise for the welcome financial boost offered to the industry but called on officials to do more in order to maximise the deployment of renewable energy technologies.  

REA chief executive Gaynor Hartnell said: “We are pleased that the first investment is a bioenergy project. We hope that biomass and waste-to-energy – as well as offshore wind – will form a significant component of the Bank’s activity. It is important to get as much leverage as possible from the initial £3 billion and investment in a diverse portfolio of renewable technologies will be helpful.  As the Bank’s funding expands in future, it would be fantastic if it could follow in the footsteps of the German state-owned bank KfW.”

RenewableUK’s deputy chief executive Maf Smith said: “The opening of the Green Investment Bank comes at a crucial time for the renewables sector, the day before the publication of the Energy Bill which will set the framework for the entire energy industry for decades to come. Today’s unequivocal assurances on investment, from some of the biggest hitters in the cabinet, provide further tangible proof that the renewables sector is regarded by those at the heart of policy-making as one of the main engines for growth. We trust that a similar message will be forthcoming in the Energy Bill so that we can deliver more than 88,000 jobs in the wind wave and tidal sectors alone by 2021.”