The Green Investment Bank (GIB) – a £3 billion scheme to accelerate investment in green infrastructure – has been granted state aid approval by the European Commission.
The bank is now free to make investments into the green economy, and will kick off with 20 “big ticket deals”, with each project receiving between £50-£200m in financing. The approval has been granted for a four-year period.
“This is excellent news and a very important milestone as we transition to a low-carbon economy and work to boost investment across the industry”, said Lord Smith of Kelvin, who was installed as the bank’s chair back in May.
“We have already made significant progress in building our teams and the necessary infrastructure for the bank and we expect to be fully operational in the next few weeks.
“We clearly have challenges ahead but we have the people, the expertise and the capability to deliver on our priorities and create the foundation for a new climate of green investment.”
The news has been welcomed by the UK Sustainable Investment and Finance Association (UKSIF), the co-ordinator of National Ethical Investment Week (NEIW), which ends on Saturday.
“This unique development bank will help to fund the new green infrastructure that we urgently need”, said chief executive Penny Shepherd, who formed part of the GIB advisory board – a team of experts tasked with assisting business secretary Vince Cable in the early stages of the bank’s development.
“With the green economy having potentially contributed over a third of the UK’s economic growth in the last financial year according to the CBI, this approval is very significant move for this country’s future economic success.”
Shaun Kingsbury, formerly of private equity firm Hudson Clean Energy Partners, was announced as the GIB’s chief executive last month, while six non-executive directors were also installed. One director – Tessa Tennant – is the founder of the Jupiter Ecology Fund and a former UKSIF chair.
It was revealed in August that the GIB was on the verge of signing off a deal for its office space in Edinburgh – which was confirmed as the headquarters of the bank in March.