Offshore wind farms will be among the first projects to get help from a new green investment bank to be launched next year, the deputy prime minister has said.
Nick Clegg set out the plans for what he called the world’s first public bank dedicated to the green economy in a speech at Climate Change Capital in London.
The announcement comes after reports of rifts in the Cabinet over tackling climate change.
Clegg said the Government would bring forward laws to ensure the “independence and enduring nature of the bank”.
He said investments would start being made from April 2012, with early priorities potentially including offshore wind, waste and non-domestic energy efficiency, while it could also be used to support the early stages of the ‘green deal’ to make homes more energy efficient.
It will have full operational independence “as soon as possible”, he said, and had a guaranteed £3bn from the Treasury as initial capital.
And it will have borrowing powers from April 2015 as long as the target for government debt to be falling has been met, he confirmed.
Clegg made the announcement after campaigners, who want to see the bank created to help unlock billions of pounds for low-carbon technology, said it must be a permanent institution that can borrow from markets.
Campaigners who have been fighting for a bank as part of efforts to ‘green’ the UK economy have voiced concerns that the Treasury is undermining the plans for the institution.
They want to see the bank enshrined in law and given explicit powers to borrow from the capital markets − without which, they say, it will not be able to deliver the needed investment in low carbon technology.