GIB passes £10 billion milestone

Shaun Kingsbury, GIB Chief Executive
The Green Investment Bank (GIB) has backed green infrastructure projects in the UK with a total value of £10 billion since opening three years ago, it announced yesterday (24 November).

The GIB, launched by former Business Secretary Vince Cable in 2012 to support environmentally-friendly projects struggling to gain funding from the private sector, has committed £2.3 billion to 58 projects with a total value of £10.1 billion.

It says it has partnered with almost 100 co-investors in that time and now has a projected portfolio return of over 10 per cent.

The investment that pushed the bank past the £10 billion milestone was a £47-million commitment to a 180,000 tonne per annum waste gasification plant in Belfast, a joint venture, Full Circle Generation, with developed RiverRidge Energy Ltd, Equitix and P3P Partners.

GIB showing that ‘green investment is good business’

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said: “As this milestone shows, the GIB is going from strength to strength and is having a major impact supporting renewable energy projects across the whole of the UK. Crucially, it has demonstrated that investing in green technology and our future energy security can be a profitable business, and I am sure the coming years will see a significant scaling-up of its operations as it moves into private ownership and mobilises private-sector capital.”

Shaun Kingsbury, Chief Executive of the GIB, said: “Our contribution goes beyond the projects we have financed: we have shown that green investment is good business.

“We operate as a specialist investor in a niche, but fast-growing area of financial services. Our focused team of market experts has moulded a flexible and creative investment strategy that has played a major role in establishing a commercial market for green infrastructure investment in the UK. Our experience offers important lessons for other countries looking to the private sector to help deliver their investment ambitions set out ahead of the Paris climate change conference.”

Milestone passes amid privatisation inquiry

Announcement of the landmark came just a couple of days before an Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) evidence hearing into the future of the GIB.

The EAC is conducting an inquiry into the government’s intention to privatise the bank and repeal legislation governing its green purposes.

Plans to sell ‘at least a majority’ of the government’s share in the GIB to private investors were first announced in June. Business Secretary Sajid Javid has since released a statement explaining that privatisation would ‘allow the bank to access a much greater volume of capital than would be the case if GIB were to remain in government ownership’.

He promised that the bank would continue to invest in green sectors, ‘mobilising more private capital and further accelerating the transition to a green economy’.

However, the move has been criticised by green groups and think tanks, which warn that privatisation would undermine the GIB’s ability to meet green goals and damage investor confidence in the low-carbon sector. The EAC inquiry was subsequently launched to investigate the move.

Anna Soubry, Minister for Small Business, Industry and Enterprise, will be appearing at the evidence hearing tomorrow (26 November) morning, along with Richard Callard, Executive Director of the GIB Shareholder Team at the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills.

The EAC evidence hearing will be available to watch live at 09.30 on Thursday (26 November) at the Parliament Live website.

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