UK’s Green Investment Bank launched
Business secretary Vince Cable allocates £3bn in initial funding
By Gaurav Sharma | CFO UK | Published 18:29, 28 November 12
The UK's Green Investment Bank (GIB) was officially launched on Wednesday by business secretary Vince Cable.
The bank will have its headquarters in Edinburgh and an initial investment capital of £3 billion along with major operations in London.
Launching the GIB, Cable said, “Government funds will leverage private sector capital to fund projects in priority sectors from offshore wind to waste and non-domestic energy efficiency, helping to deliver our commitment to create jobs and growth right across the UK.”
He added that the bank would place the green economy "at the heart" of the UK's economic recovery. The business secretary also revealed the GIB’s initial investments.
These include a £8 million investment towards the construction of an anaerobic digestion plant in Teesside; the first of six planned over the next five years. The investment would be matched by £8 million from the private sector.
The GIB will also invest £5 million to fit manufacturer Kingspan's UK industrial facilities with systems that will reduce its energy consumption by 15 percent.
Advocating cautious optimism, Richard Spencer, head of sustainability at accounting body ICAEW, said the GIB is a significant commitment but the UK government needs to ensure that it is embedded in an overall package of joined up thinking and policymaking.
“It needs to be sending a clear and consistent message to investors, as there is still a lot of uncertainty here, the new Energy Bill notwithstanding,” he told CFOWorld.
"Whilst it is understandable that the initial investments focus on the proven end of the technology spectrum, we must ensure that this isn’t a missed opportunity to push the innovation agenda. We also need to be sure that this isn’t effectively substituting other funding,” Spencer added.
Environmental groups have also largely welcomed the move while insisting that more needs to be done. A spokesperson for WWF said he was encouraged by the launch.
Speaking to CFOWorld, he said, “Significant investment in renewable energy infrastructure and energy efficiency will be critical to meeting UK and Scottish climate targets and securing the green job opportunities available.”
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