EIB to authorise 700 million for onshore wind developments

BWEA, the UK’s leading renewable energy association, welcomed the EIB backed Government plan to inject much needed liquidity into the onshore wind power development market. The measure announced in April’s Budget and coming into force today is set to free-up a total of 1.4 billion, as the 700 million in EIB funds will be matched by a further 700 million from the three commercial banks involved. The funds are aimed specifically at wind farms with planning permission.

Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive, said: "Wind energy has never been a risky investment. In fact, wind farms in the UK have never defaulted on their loans. However, the recent turbulence in the financial markets has affected availability of loan finance for smaller and medium sized projects. The funds announced today will be particularly important role in bringing forward a host of sound projects, by developers with a proven track record in wind energy delivery."

Research conducted by New Energy Finance on behalf of BWEA shows that while investment in wind energy on balance sheet has increased from 212 million in 2007 to 920 million in 2009, project finance in the same period has decreased from 336 million to 54 million. Statistics show that there is a strong pipeline of onshore projects with planning approvals in the UK, totalling 756 MW in construction and 3056 MW with consent.

"There is no reason why the UK’s wind energy sector should not be as successful as those of our European neighbours, particularly given our wind resources. The initiative launched today should go a long way towards addressing one side of the delivery problem. We now need a bold strategy to resolve planning, so that we can make good on our promise to deliver 15% of energy from renewables by 2020," commented McCaffery.

BWEA is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 509 corporate members, BWEA is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. Wind has been the world’s fastest growing renewable energy source for the last seven years, and this trend is expected to continue with falling costs of wind energy and the urgent international need to tackle CO2 emissions.

In December 2008, EU Member States adopted a series of targets as part of a package of concrete measures to fight climate change. These include a commitment to cut, by 2020, overall EU greenhouse gas emissions by 20% compared to 1990 levels and increase the share of renewable energy in energy consumption to 20% across the EU. Each Member State has an individual target reflecting its potential to generate renewable energy. The EU emissions reduction target will be increased to 30% if other developed countries agree to do the same in a global agreement.