Government goes global with GIB

The Government has given the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) £200m to expand its investment portfolio into India and Africa.

In a letter to Parliament on Tuesday, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said the joint venture with Decc would maximise the impact of UK climate aid.

“Unmitigated climate change will hit the poorest first and hardest,” said Davey. “It is vital that we use public climate finance to catalyse private investment into developing countries.”

The GIB will focus on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, using the same framework as its UK operation: invest based on commercial viability and mobilise additional private sector finance.

International infrastructure

Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of GIB, said: “This important new pilot programme will see GIB investing outside the UK for the first time. I am confident that our unique business model, tried and tested in the UK, will have a very positive effect in developing countries, helping them to build vital new green energy infrastructure.”

Since its official launch in autumn 2012, GIB has invested in 42 projects and committed £1.8bn of capital, which will deliver £6.6bn of new infrastructure investment. The projects supported by GIB will save 3.7m tonnes of CO2 per year.

Wood waste project

The GIB also announced on Tuesday it has committed £35m to a new £190m renewable power facility at the Port of Tilbury, Essex. 

The biomass facility is expected to generate 300 GWh of green electricity per year, enough to power more than 70,000 homes, when it is commissioned in early 2017.

Stobart Biomass will be providing 270,000 tonnes per year of waste wood fuel for the project, sourced from the local catchment area and processed at an onsite facility.

Green Investment Bank chief executive Shaun Kinsbury said: “The Tilbury project is well placed to capitalise on the UK’s largest regional waste wood market, generating green electricity and creating local employment from London’s waste resources.

Additional funding will be provided by Irish utility ESB as well as Investec, Rabobank and EKF.


However another investment in an energy-from-waste plant will undoubtedly cause controversy as the GIB has already had to defend its waste investment decisions from claims they are “holding back progress on carbon reduction”. 

Dr Dominic Hogg – the CEO of environmental consultancy Eunomia – said this week that 90% of the GIB’s waste investment has gone to projects that are “wholly or mostly” energy-from-waste (EfW), to the detriment of recycling.

However the GIB has disputed the claims that its investments are damaging the environment, arguing that it is constrained by commercial decisions and still benefits the environment by reducing landfill waste.

Funding sustainability at Sustainability Live 2015 

The Green Investment Bank’s head of sustainable finance Gavin Templeton will feature among an expert panel discussing funding sustainability at our brand new high-level Conference at Sustainability Live 2015 in April. The panel will explore how to get access to funding and the types of funding available – public and private. 

Find out more and register to attend the Sustainability Live 2015 Conference for free here.

Brad Allen

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