Wind and waste favoured in green bank spend priorities

Offshore wind, commercial and industrial waste processing and recycling, energy from waste and energy efficiency will be the top priorities for the Green Investment Bank (GIB) up to 2016, the government has announced.

Announcing the list, business secretary Vince Cable said he wants the bank to be set up "as soon as possible, so it can start accelerating investments in these key sectors and help British companies take advantage of these opportunities".

The list of priorities remains dependent on European Commission approval under the state aid rules. At least 80 per cent of the funds committed by the bank over the spending review period will be invested in the priority sectors, with the rest spread around other green sectors.

In the meantime, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is setting up an internal team called UK Green Investments (UKGI) to provide early support for green infrastructure spending, using powers under section 8 of the Industrial Development Act 1982.

UKGI will be able to tap a £100 million fund made available by the government to invest in smaller waste infrastructure projects next year. A further £100 million has been provided for it to invest in non-domestic energy efficiency projects in the next financial year.  It will also be able to invest in offshore wind projects.

At the same time, Cable revealed that more than 20 parts of the UK have lodged bids to host the GIB’s headquarters. They include:
* Bournemouth
* Brighton
* Bristol
* Cardiff
* Chester
* Derby
* Edinburgh
* Gloucester
* Leeds
* Liverpool
* London
* Manchester
* Newcastle
* Nottingham
* Paisley
* Peterborough
* Sheffield
* Stoke on Trent
* Warrington

Bids have also been made for unspecified locations in Wales, Yorkshire and Angus in Scotland. BIS said it aims to decide on the location by the end of March next year, based on three criteria covering ability to recruit specialist staff, value for money and opportunities for working with other parties involved in deals.

Waste industry trade body the Environmental Services Association welcomed the £100 million allocation for waste processing.

"This should help to bring forward some smaller recycling projects. The big wins though, will be with larger-scale projects further down the line," said policy director Matthew Farrow.

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