UK Wind Energy Industry Welcomes Green Investment Bank Proposals

Meeting at their annual offshore wind power conference in Liverpool, RenewableUK, the trade association for the UK’s wind, tidal and marine energy industries, has welcomed the overall proposals outlined in the Wigley Report Unlocking investment to deliver Britain’s low carbon future.

The report sets out new ideas on the funding, and remit, of a Green Investment Bank to help drive the development of the UK’s renewable energy industry and wider low carbon sector.

However, the trade body has stressed that it believes the role of any Government coordinated investment bank must operate in support of and in addition to, and not seek to direct or replace, private capital expenditure on renewable energy projects.

The wind energy industry has also stressed its belief that government-led investment could, and should, play a role in supporting R&D through such a financial institution, and in particular focus on renewable energy investment opportunities that can also lead to a manufacturing supply chain and job creation, and not simply be used for capital spending which only seeks energy production as a return.

Maria McCaffery MBE, Chief Executive of RenewableUK commented:

"The wind energy industry broadly welcomes the report, released today, on proposals to develop a green investment bank to support the UK’s fast-growing renewables industry.

Government money must, however, be used to support and not replace private investment and its requirements, and at the same time be invested wisely and to maximise the opportunity for renewable energy schemes which can also deliver green manufacturing and supply chain jobs, and not just produce energy.

The Green Investment Bank should be designed to bring forward private capital – what we need isn’t just new money but smart money."

The Wigley Report supports industry analyst estimates that fulfilling the UK’s energy requirements over the next decade will cost 200bn. Energy sector experts predict half of this investment will be spent on up to 30 GW of wind farm by 2020, two thirds of which is likely to come from offshore wind farms, with a total of £550bn needed when additional spending on other measures such as ports and high speed rail are included.

RenewableUK’s report Offshore Wind: Building an Industry, also released today, states that deploying 20 GW+ of offshore wind farm by 2020 should secure major new private investment with up to 22 new UK based factories creating 45,000 new British green-collar jobs.

RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Formed in 1978, and with 600 corporate members, RenewableUK is the leading renewable energy trade association in the UK. Our primary purpose is to promote the use of renewable power in and around the UK, both onshore and offshore. We act as a central point of information for our membership and as a lobbying group to promote renewable energy to government.

The UK’s offshore wind power potential has been developed through a series of competitive leasing rounds by The Crown Estate, landlord and steward of the UK’s seabed. Rounds 1 and 2 provided a combined total of 8GW of potential capacity, whilst Round 3 awarded licences for up to 32GW of electricity in January 2010. According to data for 2008, contained in the Digest of UK’s Energy Statistics (published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change), each 1GW of installed offshore wind turbine capacity is sufficient to satisfy the annual electricity consumption of 684,000 UK households.