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Green investment will need careful management

Speed is of the essence: the GIB is needed urgently to help fund energy efficiency, including by helping to reduce the interest rates charged for Green Deal improvements; to overcome financial barriers to offshore wind deployment; and to support much needed improvements in materials recovery.

However, it’s not clear why the GIB should be involved in energy from waste. Many EfW technologies are technically mature and sufficiently incentivised through the Renewables Obligation.

The barriers these face are due to poor environmental performance or public acceptance. Indeed, just focusing on energy recovery would be a mistake.

Reinventing the wheel, a Green Alliance report, shows that a circular approach to materials recovery will be vital to cutting lifecycle emissions which arise from mineral extraction. It will also become increasingly important in avoiding resource scarcity. In this context, valuing anaerobic digestion for its role in nutrient recycling as well as its energy recovery would be the right approach.

Perhaps more significantly for the effectiveness of the bank, its lending risks being spread too thinly. Five priorities will consume 80% of its £3bn capital, meaning that less than £500m will be available for each priority.

Achieving transformational change will require more focus to use scarce funds effectively.  

Dustin Benton, senior policy adviser, Green Alliance

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