UK bank to invest £1bn of green energy in the ocean blue

June 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

The offshore wind power farm “Alpha Ventus” is pictured off the northern German Island of Borkum (AFP Photo DDP / David Hecker Germany out)

The UK’s Green Investment Bank (GIB) will raise £1bn to invest in domestic offshore wind farms, tapping into the billion dollar industry of generating renewable energy from ocean winds.

GIB has put £1.3billion into 29 green infrastructure projects
since it was started 18 months ago, and is transitioning from
simply raising funds for projects to fully investing, the
Financial Times reports.

The government-funded green energy incubator has £3.8 billion of
public money to invest in ‘greening’ the British economy.

In its 2014 Annual Report, the Edinburgh-based bank
said it has raised £3.5 billion of private capital to invest in
projects, including biomass boilers in Scottish distilleries, and
digestion plants on the outskirts of London.

Not all projects have been successful- two were scrapped due to
the potential risks to local wildlife.

“We aim to mobilize investment on a project by project basis
but also, through a positive demonstration effect, to improve the
attractiveness of the wider sector,”
Shaun Kingsbury, the
bank’s chief executive, said in the report.

By 2020, the global offshore wind industry is expected to grow to
€130 billion (or about £111 billion)

according to a 2013 report by consultants Roland Berger.

Offshore wind farms that are popping up aren’t all that different
from land turbines, except that winds in the ocean are much
stronger, producing almost double the output. However, offshore
stations are more risky because bad weather can restrict access
to energy. Most stations are located within 70 km of the
shoreline.

Over 95 percent of offshore wind turbines are located in European
waters, and the UK is an attractive site because of shallow
waters and strong winds.

The first offshore wind farm was erected in Denmark in 1991, and
as of January 24, 2014, 68 offshore stations have been
constructed in Europe.

E.ON, one of the UK’s leading energy suppliers, predicts that by
2020, 40 Gigawatts (GW) of wind farm capacity will be installed
throughout Europe. At the end of June 2013, Europe’s total
combined offshore energy capacity was just over 6 GW.

The UK’s dwindling fossil fuel supplies could be gone in five
years, bringing urgency to developing renewables.

However, across Europe renewable energy initiatives face
opposition because government subsidies often drive up prices in
more traditional industries, like electric and gas.

According to UK industry regulator Ofgem, energy prices have
risen 24 percent over the last four years. Still, UK gas and
electric prices are the lowest in the EU.

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