Call for Green Bond to grow public investment in renewable energy

The UK Government should launch a 'Green Bond' to allow savers to invest in the growth of the renewable energy sector, Scottish Renewables has said.

Green Bonds could boost renewable energy investment and public engagement

Green Bonds could boost renewable energy investment and public engagement

The plan was outlined today (4 November) at the launch of Scottish Renewables' blueprint for the next UK Government ahead of the 2015 General Election.

"The UK needs to invest tens of billions of pounds in the energy sector over coming years - firstly just to keep the lights on, and secondly to continue the move away from fossil fuels to cleaner sources of energy," said Scottish Renewable chief executive Niall Stuart.

"New power generation, transmission lines and renewable heat projects all require big capital investment up front, but could offer savers a decent return on their money over the life of the project, certainly beating the record low interest rates on savings accounts today."

Stuart suggested that the Bond, which could be offered by the Green Investment Bank, would also encourage more public engagement with the renewables sector.

"There are already some specialist investment funds available on the stock market and to big investors, and they show that the model works. But it's time to give every saver in Britain the opportunity to invest in and to benefit from the continued growth of the green energy sector," he said.

Wind Power

Stuart also called for more investment in the wind industry, which generated a quarter of Britain's power on one Sunday in October.

"Scotland will generate more than half of its electricity demand from renewables next year thanks to the growth of onshore wind, said Stuart.

"It is the cheapest renewable technology that can be deployed at scale today, costs are coming down all the time, and it supports thousands of jobs across the country - why would we not want to see further expansion of the sector?"

The trade body also proposed that renewable energy subsidies be paid for by the government rather than consumers, cutting around £36 a year off the average energy bill.

Public Attitudes Tracker

In related renewable energy news, a new survey released today has revealed that more than three-quarters (78%) of UK adults advocate the use of renewables, while nationwide opposition to fracking now exceeds support.

Those are the headline figures from Decc’s latest Public Attitudes Tracker, which monitors perceptions of the Department’s main business priorities including energy bills, energy security and renewable energy sources.

For renewables, the story is very much the same as it was for the last Tracker back in June, when 79% of 2,103 UK households said they supported the use of renewables to generate electricity, fuel and heat.

Specifically, solar is the most popular form of renewable energy, with 80% support. But off-shore wind (74%), wave and tidal (73%) onshore wind (67%) and biomass (61%) all follow fairly close behind.

When it comes to the use of shale gas, three-quarters of respondents (76%) had some awareness of fracking, which is similar to the 74% in June.

But one noticeable development from the last Tracker was a further increase in levels of opposition to fracking, which now stands at 27% of respondents -  up from 24% in June and, for the first time, edging ahead of the level of support (26%).

Brad Allen


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