The European Investment Bank (EIB) is working alongside RBS, Lloyds and BNP Paribas Fortis to lend up to £1bn to British onshore wind energy projects over the next three years.
The investment is part of the £4bn EIB loan that has been earmarked for renewable energy investment as part of Alistair Darling’s ‘low carbon’ budget.
The cash will be made available through the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and is expected to help building work start for small and mid-sized onshore wind projects which have been hit by the credit crunch.
Companies will also be able to apply for DECC cash to develop offshore wind technology. There will be up to £10m made available as part of the £120m announced in the renewable energy strategy last week to support offshore wind.
In addition, DECC has announced that subject to suitable grant offers, it will make an award of more than £6m to fund part of Vestas Technology’s research and development centre on the Isle of Wight. The investment includes over £3m of funding from the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA).
Energy and Climate Change secretary, Ed Miliband, said: ‘Earlier this month we laid out a transition plan to a low carbon economy that included a massive expansion of green wind energy. The resources we are announcing back up our plans with clear actions to ensure we deliver.
‘The European Investment Bank funds will help the building start on consented wind farms that could provide 1 gigawatt of electricity, enough to power more than half a million homes.
‘The money for the development of offshore wind manufacturing will help us generate green jobs on top of our success as the leading country in the world for the generation of offshore wind.
‘Alongside these proposals, we are reforming planning laws, finding new ways of working with local communities and are determined to persuade people that we need a significant increase in onshore wind as part of the UK's future energy mix.’
EIB vice president, Simon Brooks, added: ‘The development of the UK’s wind energy capacity will support the European Union’s and national targets for renewable energy generation. As well as helping to reduce greenhouse gasses it will strengthen the security of energy supplies. This initiative underlines the EIB’s long involvement, as the EU’s financing arm, in the UK’s energy sector and reinforces efforts to reduce the impact of climate change.’