Posts tagged with: green investment bank

Engineers are calling on the Government to increase the remit of the Green Investment Bank. The Coalition has signalled their intent to direct the Bank’s fund towards investment in low carbon technology. But, Europe’s largest professional group of engineers, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), is arguing that the Bank should also support energy efficiency innovations in the manufacturing sector.

The investment mandate for the Bank is to deliver the Government’s aims on economic growth, facilitate the transition to a green economy and support the UK’s industrial transformation. Much of the focus to date has been on investment in the manufacture of low carbon goods and the rollout of green infrastructure.

Dr Tony Whitehead, Director of Policy at the IET said: “Energy conservation and efficiency should be amongst the first priorities of a sustainable energy policy.

“Energy is set to become increasingly expensive in the future, and to survive in the global market, UK firms will not only need to produce new products, but to produce them at competitive prices. This means driving costs down wherever possible.

“The manufacture of low carbon technology is often seen as a panacea to meet the UK’s carbon reduction requirements whilst at the same time creating a renaissance in UK manufacturing. Yet the manufacture of low carbon goods is not in itself automatically green. A green industrial revolution should first focus on greening manufacturing processes to reduce energy and resource use.

“For the UK to achieve its targets on carbon emissions there needs to be extra support for green manufacturing processes. Energy conservation and efficiency in the manufacturing sector should be a priority for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and more widely across government.

“In addition, access to the Green Investment Bank by SMEs will be paramount. SMEs are able to develop and commercialise products rapidly in niche areas. By its very nature, green technology and processes will require innovative solutions; an area where SMEs can develop a competitive advantage for UK plc. SMEs should have priority access to the Green Investment Bank to spur green growth and technology.”

President Obama has approved $1.85bn in loan guarantees for two large scale solar projects as part of the economic stimulus package. Combined these projects are thought to be creating 5000 jobs. Abengoa Solar is to receive $1.45bn in loan Guarantees to help support the development of a new solar farm in Arizona which is expected to power 70,000 homes.

 A further $400 Million in Loan Guarantees will be provided to Abound Solar Manufacturing to develop two new solar manufacturing plants. This is expected to create up to 1500 permanent jobs. It is an interesting move away from the Bush era’s pro oil approach. With the BP crisis in the gulf still in full swing Obama will face far less opposition in pushing these loans through. There will also be much stronger public support for renewable energy generally and drop in support for further off shore drilling programmes.

Obama is looking towards renewable energy as not only an investment in the environment but as a new industry to help rebuild America’s fragile economy. By investing in Solar power production Obama is opening a new income steam to the U.S and is also going to be competing directly with China who currently have huge solar panel production capacity.

 As more countries realise the importance of investing in solar energy and solar panel development we are likely to see increases in efficiency and a decrease in technology costs.

With the general election just weeks away, the Conservative party under David Cameron has reiterated its support for green energy and has produced a paper outlining its proposals for a shake up of energy production in the UK. The green paper titled ‘Rebuilding Security’ announces a number of measures designed to help capitalise new and expensive green technologies.

In a budget statement undoubtedly designed to garner support from renewable industry insiders and environmental groups alike, the Conservative party leader is leading a project which will see the creation of a green investment bank with around £2 billion to invest in new, green technologies and help to grow the fledgling industry in the face of tightened lending from the traditional banking sector.

With investment essential to help the UK carbon neutral economy take off, the Conservative’s announcement has been met with encouraging assent from those it is meant to appeal to.

Director general of the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), Tom Foulkes welcomed the news as being key to the success of the UK green sector,

“Clearly, transforming the energy sector will require massive investment in new and upgraded infrastructure. A Green Investment Bank will go a long way towards funding the development of new technologies, but there remains a need for a secure method of funding for the long-term investment in energy infrastructure.”

Certainly, with the election expected in May green issues are expected to feature heavily with issues such as the the Clean Energy Cash Back scheme and the Copenhagen summit making headlines in recent months. Some of the key lobbies to appease ahead of the May ballot will of course be the environmental groups who this time are behind the green paper’s plans for the green energy overhaul.

Andy Atkins, Director of Friends of the Earth commented that,

“A Green Investment Bank is desperately needed to fund the replacement of the UK’s outdated fossil-fuel energy infrastructure with the clean energy technologies of the 21st century, and to create new green industries and jobs.”

With the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) bringing in the feed-in tariff on April 1, the ante has certainly been ‘upped’ with regards to real policy designed at tackling climate change and achieving targets on carbon emission reduction. With the Gordon Brown Labour government making positive moves towards a sustainable energy economy, the opposition will have their work cut out in order to show that they are also capable (and indeed willing) to see the development of a strong green technology industry in the UK. will regularly update all news regarding the feed-in tariff before the election so please visit us again to stay up to date with all green issues.