How green was the budget? What industry says

The Green Investment Bank dominated budget responses from the business community but there was concern about how far £2bn would stretch and exactly who would get what.

Good Energy

The dedicated renewable electricity supplier commented on the bank plans and green cars.

Juliet Davenport, said: "The Government's announcement of a £2 billion Green Infrastructure Fund is welcome news and it is good to see the environment making a return to the election campaign.

"However, we must ensure that this money does not simply get swallowed by larger projects and companies. The environmental SME sector could be a major force in the UK and needs support more than the bigger players.

"We have a willing army of energy entrepreneurs in this country with projects ready to go. A small injection of capital to support these independent projects would then help them secure the relevant private investment to bring their projects to fruition.

"If we are to have an environmental revolution in this country we need to let a thousand flowers bloom."

"It is good to hear that the Government is supporting the development of green and electric transport. However, if we are to create a truly green electric transport infrastructure, we must ensure that the car charging points in every town centre run from 100% renewable electricity only.

"This is the only way to ensure that the transport sector reduces its emissions rather than just causing them to be produced in power stations elsewhere."

Closed Loop Recycling
The Dagenham-based recycling firm's MD Chris Dow, said: "I certainly welcome any government initiative which opens up investment opportunities in green industries, particularly the recycling industry.

"Whilst it doesn't offer a total financial solution, it's a strong initiative in difficult times which will hopefully stimulate interest in the industry and start to attract the many billions of £s of investment required.

"Investibility and regulation reform, such as a review of the packaging note recovery (PRN) system, are the key to strengthening our green economy, which will help to promote greater growth in the infrastructure and create more low carbon jobs.

"We need to proactively encourage all aspects of the supply chain and end markets to recycle more and produce more sustainable packaging. Investment and regulation need to go hand in hand."

"We are planning to open our second plastic bottle recycling plant in Wales later this year, with more sites planned in the future, so anything which stimulates investment in the industry and is backed up by regulatory reform, such as tax breaks for producing and using recycled material, will be a huge benefit to us and the rest of the industry."

2k Manufacturing

A company that makes green building materials from recycled plastics in Luton. Omer Kutluoglu, CEO, said: "Successive governments have failed British SME innovation and manufacturing through lack of investment and support.

"The £2 billion green fund and the other various incentives for SMEs is a start, but we need a much wider range of green inventives that go beyond pure funding, to other financial initiatives, tax breaks and employment support."

"We also need to be developing a whole employment strategy for the green manufacturing sector. We have plans to open a series of plants around the UK in the next 5 years to produce our replacement plywood product, EcoSheet, which is made entirely from plastic waste.

"Our vision is to increase green jobs, stimulate green manufacturing and offer apprenticeships to help the next generation of green manufacturers. The answer to growth in the economy is companies who can make and build things. We will innovate us out of recession."

"I welcome the tacit admission, albeit somewhat late in the day, that both RBS and Lloyds have entirely failed SMEs during this recession. The promise to force the banks to lend £94 billion to businesses - half of it to SMEs, sounds promising, but the real question here is whether or not the Chancellor and his new Credit Adjudication Committee will actually stand up to the banks this time around.

How many companies have already failed because of a lack of access to finance? We have secured financial support from overseas banks during the worst of the recession."

Low Carbon Accelerator

The low carbon VC fund's CIO Steve Mahon said: "Public sector funding for early stage innovative companies is very fragmented at present so a green investment bank should simplify this.

"However, £2billion won't go far if it is intended for nuclear and other larger scale technologies. The time-lag for introduction of the fund is also worrying considering the very real financial problems many innovative technology companies are facing. The sector needs the money now if it is to achieve its potential."

Climate Change Capital

The environmental investment group's Ben Caldecott said: "The renewal of Britain's ageing energy infrastructure in a carbon constrained world will require investment at a scale and speed not seen for a generation.

"Market reforms that reduce risk and improve incentives should enable the amount of capital needed to be deployed successfully."

"After the Conservative Party's announcements on Friday, it is encouraging to see a cross-party consensus emerge on the need for change. However, any reforms must be completed quickly and investors that have committed capital under existing market arrangements should be protected, otherwise investment could dry up at exactly the moment it is desperately needed to ramp up."

"The proposed green investment bank could help to get important projects off the drawing board. However, as the cash for it is dependent on selling off strategic assets in difficult market conditions, it will take many months or even years before the fund is able to make a meaningful difference. Unfortunately, this simply doesn't fit with the urgency of the task at hand."

Redpoint
The specialist energy consultancy issued a statement saying:

  • The banking crisis has restricted access to funding for small renewable developers. We believe that the Government's commitment to funding will be welcomed by project developers, provided that this funding is accessible. We look forward to seeing greater clarity on the distribution mechanisms for the funding and the lending criteria.

  • We are very keen to see if demand-side/energy efficiency projects qualify in the same way as the generation technologies, such as wind power, as we feel that providing funding for both demand side projects and generation are equally vital to the future of energy development in the UK.

  • Whilst the equity being seeded represents less than 1% of the overall capital asset investment requirement in the energy sector over the next 10-15 years, it could provide funding sufficient to meet over 2% of our annual electricity requirements. However, the hope is that this will unlock greater levels of additional capital and stimulate investment in technology which will eventually deliver further penetration of low-carbon energy sources.

  • We are very pleased to see the broader energy sector being targeted and not simply the power sector, which tends to be the focus of many commentators.

  • We hope to see the investment banks work closely with industry to determine the most effective areas of investment which would then stimulate further private sector investment. This would avoid duplicating investment and ensure that where adequate incentives already exist for the private sector investment, that these investments are not reduced.

  • We are encouraged that the £60m announced for the development of port sites suitable for offshore wind recognises that there are other important barriers to low-carbon deployment aside from financing, notably planning and supply chain limitations.

    Redpoint's clients have included some of Europe's largest energy companies and financial organisations, as well as government institutions, notably DECC, the Committee on Climate Change, Energy Technologies Institute, BG Group, British Energy, BP, Citigroup, EDF Energy, E.ON UK, ESB, Eneco Energie, GE, Statkraft, Taqa,and Ofgem.

    McKinnon & Clarke
    The independent energy consultancy, has welcomed the chancellor's move to set up an investment bank controlling £2bn of equity focusing on greener, cleaner energy and transport.

    Energy analyst, David Hunter, said: "While this is good news both for jobs and the environment, the UK has still a long way to go to meet renewables targets set by the government.

    "There is still significant uncertainty within the industry that the private sector can raise sufficient funds to build the infrastructure to secure a sustainable energy future. The government needs to understand that they have a key financial and regulatory part to play to deliver the £200 billion investment we will need by 2020.

    "Private companies need a crystal clear investment and regulatory policy landscape from the government to make this a reality. While recognising the part renewables will play in the future of the UK's energy mix, the government must deliver clear signals on new nuclear and carbon capture technology so that we can be released from the increasing dependency on imported gas.

    "A floor on the carbon price, Climate Change Levy exemption from nuclear, and generation capacity payments all need to be implemented to persuade energy companies that keeping Britain's lights makes sound business sense."

    He also expressed concern on the timescales for releasing funding:

    "With half of the £2 billion fund to come from public sector asset sales such as the Channel Tunnel rail link, there is a real danger that with depressed asset prices and demand, there may be a significant delay in getting the necessary funding for the Bank - we simply don't have the luxury of time to give these green investments the green light".

  • Tags

    | DECC | gas | nuclear | offshore | offshore wind | ofgem | packaging | rail | recession | transport

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