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UK minister challenges banks to back renewables

UK-BASED BANKS COULD LOSE out on significant investment opportunities unless they are prepared to show more enthusiasm for financing renewables projects, UK minister for energy, Brian Wilson, has warned.

Speaking to a conference of the major banks and financial institutions on ‘The New Electric Economy’ in June 2002, Wilson said: ‘There are enormous rewards to be shared from the successful development of renewables in this country. By 2010, we expect to have a market worth more than US$1.5B, as electricity suppliers will need to provide, through the Renewables Obligation, 10% of their supplies from renewable resources. ‘Many renewables companies tell me that financial institutions have been slow in recognising the potential opportunities that the green energy revolution in Britain could provide them,’ continued Wilson. ‘Maybe part of the problem is that we have not been as effective as we might in getting our message across about what we have done to promote renewables and our long term commitment to the industry.

‘Adding in the value off the electricity itself and that outside the scope of the Obligation, as well as the value of the climate change levy, means that the total value of the market for green energy could be up to US$3.1B by the end of the decade,’ he added.

Wilson highlighted the creation of the Aeolus energy consortium, which includes the Bank of Scotland and NIB Capital Bank as a good example of how to bring together banking, legal, insurance and technical expertise to finance renewables projects.