The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has announced two new senior appointments, nominating two offshore wind experts to support the bank’s efforts to boost renewable energy investment.
Nick Gardiner, who joins from BNP Paribas, will take on the role of managing director for offshore wind, leading GIB’s offshore wind direct investment team.
Karl Smith, previously a director in GIB’s offshore wind investment team, will take on the newly created role of fund managing director.
Ed Northam, head of investment banking at GIB, commented, ”This is an exciting time for GIB’s offshore wind business, as we continue to look at investments in construction assets and start fundraising for the UK’s first dedicated offshore wind fund.
“I look forward to working with our two new MDs as we realise our ambitious plans for the offshore wind sector.”
In June, the government-owned bank unveiled new plans to raise a £1 billion fund that will encourage private investors to support Britain’s offshore wind farms.
The fund, which will be managed by a Financial Conduct Authority regulated GIB subsidiary, will work to broaden support for UK offshore wind projects by appealing to private investors.
The bank is already an important player in the offshore sector, having invested £461m into two “next generation” wind farms in March.
Its recently published 2013-14 results showed that in the financial year from March 31 2013, the bank committed £668 million to 18 new projects, making it the most active investor in the UK’s green economy.
Private investors followed, pledging a further £1.9 billion to the projects, adding up to a total of £2.5 billion of new investment.
Most of the projects in the GIB’s portfolio remain under construction, but when completed, they are expected to reduce the UK’s carbon emissions by 3.5 million tonnes per year.
However, some argue that the GIB is still not fulfilling its potential. Many environmentalists have called for the government to give the bank freer reign and freedom to borrow.
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