It’s time for an update on progress with the Green Investment Bank (GIB). I have been working with Vince Cable on bringing together the Advisory Group, and I hope an announcement will be made soon. When the Advisory Group has its first meeting in September, it will have the opportunity to review the work to date
The Environmental Audit Committee has published the Government’s response to its report. While it is great to see so much agreement between MPs and Government on what needs to be done to realise the GIB, there is still a lot to do.
Let me also take this opportunity to reply to the posted blog entries from Chris Moore, Paul Auston and Andrew Haslam-Jones. It is too early to give a definitive answer, to these questions but there are two key preliminary points to note:
- First, it is enormously valuable to have direct feedback from people at the sharp end of project development because you have first hand experience of what’s working and what’s not as regards the financing of renewable projects, and
- Secondly, even though the GIB’s remit is going to be focused on a few limited, priority areas, at least at the outset, it needs to keep its ear to the ground generally to monitor the progress of renewable initiatives across a broader spectrum.
Ministers have indicated areas where there appears to be a case for intervention. The whole GIB initiative needs State Aid consent from Brussels and so, at this stage, everything’s a little tentative. While we wait for this clearance the Government wants to get things going now by making a few selected investments that are compatible with State Aid rules, but we will have to lay the groundwork carefully first.
So the early work in fleshing out the GIB proposition will focus on investment policy, what sort of products might it put forward to address cases of market failure (credit enhancement products, and aggregating loans for small projects are two possibilities), and what processes will ensure that GIB investments are policy-driven, can demonstrate value-for-money and to ensure high standards of professional execution.
More on all of this later in the year.