Global Investment Summit: UK touts £29.5bn of international deals with focus on low-carbon industries

Image: 10 Downing Street. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED.

The £29.5bn was confirmed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Monday (27 November) as he hosted the Global Investment Summit at Hampton Court Palace.

Among the announcements was a £10bn package from Australia-based IFM Investors. The firm has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Department for Business and Trade as it seeks to develop up to 4GW of renewables in the UK by 2025 under its Nala Renewables subsidiary.

Swiss firm Partners Group has pledged to back Britain’s offshore wind sector with £500m and support waste-to-heat infrastructure with a further £1bn. Through its portfolio company Gren, it is developing district heating networks served by heat from waste and biomass in Wick, Sheffield and Nottingham.

Also on the topic of heating, Swedish firm Aira has pledged £300m to the heat pump sector. Its key focus will be on training and upskilling plumbers and electricians to deliver its service offerings in this new market.

Information from Iberdrola

Another major green economy announcement at the Summit came from Iberdrola, the Spanish multinational energy firm best known in the UK for owning ScottishPower.

Iberdrola provided more details on how it intends to allocate the £12bn it had already committed to invest in the UK between 2024 and 2028.

Around two-thirds of this investment will be dedicated to enhancing grid transmission and distribution, to help new renewable capacity come online more swiftly. The firm will invest heavily in subsea transmission cables for its own projects but also in the grid more broadly.

Most of the remaining third will go towards the development of the East Anglia 3 offshore wind farm. Construction at the 1.4GW project began in 2022.

Smaller shares will be allocated to explore potential green hydrogen projects and to grow Iberdrola’s energy retail presence in Britain.

Iberdrola’s executive chair Ignacio Galán said the decision to invest in grid infrastructure is supported by “clear regulatory and policy frameworks”.

The UK Government is currently collaborating with National Grid, Ofgem and the National Infrastructure Commission on a wide-ranging programme of grid reforms. At the moment, many renewable energy generators are facing significant delays with grid connections, sometimes exceeding 10 years.

Timely announcements

Sunak called the deals announced at the Summit “a huge vote of confidence in the future of the UK economy” and noted that they arrived less than a week after the Autumn Statement.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt used the speech to full expensing – a scheme under which businesses can claim back money spent on new equipment – permanent. He also announced more than £4bn of support for business rates and extended tax relief for Freeports from five years to ten.

Additionally, at the Autumn Statement, Hunt sent a strong signal about the role his Government sees low-carbon manufacturing playing in growing the economy. He announced a £4.5bn boost for manufacturing to be allocated between 2025 and 2030. £2bn of this package is set to ease the automotive sector’s electric vehicle transition; a further £970m was set aside for clean energy supply chains.

There had been hopes that Hunt would announce a green econonmy subsidy package to rival those on offer in markets like the US and EU. Business and Trade Secretary Kemi Badenoch has since stated that the current Government will not allow the UK to be “drawn in to a distortive subsidy strategy”.

Related article: UK fast becoming less attractive to international clean energy investors, EY warns

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