THE UK’s Department for Business, Innovation and Skills recently announced that it has appointed Shaun Kingsbury as its chief executive of the UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB), along with six non-executive directors.
The GIB is a major initiative for the UK and is aimed at helping its transition to a ‘green economy’ – it’s significant to see that the UK is putting real money and infrastructure, and not just words, behind this transition.
The GIB is due to open for business later this year. Mr Kingsbury is European investment partner at Hudson Clean Energy Partners, a clean energy private equity firm. He also set up (and now leads) the Low Carbon Finance Group in London.
He’s no bit-part actor in the UK’s effort to respond to climate change and to play its part in this global drama – credible talent has been recruited to this cause.
So what is the Green Investment Bank, and how will it help?
The previous Labour government originally put forward proposals for setting up a GIB, with the aim of supporting long-term investment in in the low-carbon sector – mostly in new energy (renewables and other sources), and transport projects.
In the 2010 Budget, it confirmed that the GIB would involve both public and private sector capital and said that it would be managed by Infrastructure UK.
The coalition government then announced in its emergency Budget, on June 22, 2010, that it intended to take the old government’s proposals forward, setting out detailed proposals after a Spending Review in October 2010
Where does that leave things now?
Well, the GIB will be starting with government funds of £3 billion and aims to encourage a further £15 billion of private sector investment to give an initial war-chest of £18bn to get things moving. Until 2016, it will be prioritising projects such as offshore wind farms, waste processing and recycling, energy-from-waste plants, non-domestic energy efficiency and the UK’s Green Deal (we’ll look at what this means for the UK, and what the comparable situation is here at home in a future column).
The GIB will be starting its real work later this year, subject to European Commission state aid approval.
This is a year earlier than anticipated, so the UK clearly sees it as a priority.
Why is it focusing on green initiatives, when there are arguably enough other challenges to occupy it?
For one thing, the Climate Change Act 2008 requires the UK to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 – the GIB is critical of importance in helping government and the private sector pull together to achieve this.
In addition, recent EU legislation requires that 15 per cent of the UK’s energy comes from renewable sources by 2020.
It’s worth noting that the Isle of Man government made a similar commitment in 2010, but to meet the 15 per cent target by 2015.
However, Manx Government sources have said that this will not be met, and in fact was never feasible when their commitment was recorded in Hansard back in 2010 – a sad reflection on the value of politicians’ words.
Despite this, the island’s 15:15 commitment is still referred to in various current pieces of Government marketing literature – we’re still selling this misleading story to the wider world, as well as our local electorate.
Makes you proud, doesn’t it!
The UK’s coalition government has acknowledged that climate change is one of the most serious threats currently facing the world and pledged to make itself the country’s ‘greenest government ever’.
GIB is an important part of the UK’s work in tackling this global challenge, and FoE will be watching how it performs with great interest.
It will be vitally important that the world’s business and financial communities play their part and work with governments, if we’re to come through this in good shape.
Do you see signs of this happening here on the island?
Do you think it matters if promises are publicly made and then broken?
Let us know – and if you’re not happy, join us and start asking questions.
It’s time we held those paid to govern the Isle of Man to account.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 9 mph
Wind direction: South east
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west