UK Green Investment Bank Gets Approval This Year

The UK’s Green Investment Bank – the first in the world dedicated to greening the economy – took a step forward with the appointment of its CEO.

The British government appointed Shaun Kingsbury to the post, who previously served as a partner with private equity firm, Hudson Clean Energy Partners.

6 directors were appointed earlier this year. "The UK GIB is a major new innovation vital to securing investment in what is one of the great challenges of our age, the decarbonisation of our energy supply," says Business Secretary Vince Cable.

Initially, the bank – which is capitalized with 3 billion pounds ($4.84 billion) – will focus on waste processing and recycling; waste energy; non-domestic energy efficiency; offshore wind; and the Green Deal, which encourages businesses and home owners to make their buildings more energy efficient.

The goal is to develop projects that have significant green impact as well as financial returns.

It began making investments earlier this year and is expected to be fully operational by year end when it gets approval from the European Commission. That approval gives the Bank the ability to receive state aid. But it won’t be able to begin borrowing money until 2015, and only when the national debt has declined as a percentage of GDP."

Many believe these restrictions make it a "fund" rather than a "bank." The government also doesn’t require it to get a banking license, which means it can’t leverage its capital.

Prior to EC approval, the UK government’s Green Investments team has been making investments through four investment funds it set up: £80 million to co-invest in small-scale waste infrastructure – it’s already invested in a food and green waste processing plant – and £100 million to co-invest in small commercial energy efficiency projects, typically below £30m.

Read a critical comparison of the UK Green Investment Bank and German development bank KfW, which devotes a third of its lending to green technologies: 

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