The boss of the Green Investment Bank has hailed the completion of its takeover by Australian infrastructure investor Macquarie as the “next chapter” for the lender.

Edward Northam, Head of the newly-renamed Green Investment Group (GIG), reiterated the lender’s commitment to invest more over the next three years than under UK Government ownership.

Northam said the GIG would expand overseas, hence the decision to drop “bank” from its title as the name cannot be used in some countries.
He signalled a focus on using energy storage technologies to support renewables.

Northam said: “We will continue to be strategically committed to the green energy market: a specialist investor staffed by one of Europe’s largest teams of expert green energy investors.

“Commitments are in place that will see us target a blend of established technologies alongside emerging technologies.

‘Bias towards early stage’

“We will invest with a bias towards the early stages of development and construction and aim to work at the leading edge of market developments.”

The Renewable Energy Association urged the new Bank owners to maintain its “social purpose” to help mainstream new technologies that will decarbonise the energy sector and build new industries.

James Court, Head of Policy for the REA, said:

“As we have seen with wind and solar, renewables are now cost competitive following government support and industrial innovation. Prices have come down massively after being deployed at scale and we still believe there are more technologies that have a huge future if backed. The new owners should continue the Bank’s aim of providing finance to early-stage innovative technologies.”

But former Business Secretary Vince Cable, who launched the bank in 2012, described its sale was "environmentally irresponsible".

"The bank has done an extremely good job in supporting renewable energy, energy efficiency and low-carbon projects," the Liberal Democrat leader said.

"It has managed to attract over £10bn of private investment in these sectors that would not otherwise have happened.

"At a time when business confidence is falling and the Conservatives are giving mixed signals on their commitment to the environment, this is the worst time to undermine investment in the green economy.

"The Green Investment Bank's environmental mission is in danger of disappearing under the ownership of a private Australian bank whose track record does not inspire confidence."

> Read Northam's comments in full