Bank loans for onshore wind energy

A scheme to offer bank loans for onshore wind-energy projects could allow up to £1.4bn of wind projects to begin construction over the next three years.

RBS, Lloyds Banking and BNP Paribas Fortis have begun offering loans of between £20m and £100m for eligible onshore wind projects to boost the UK’s renewable-energy portfolio.

Ed Miliband, energy and climate change secretary, and Alistair Darling, chancellor, will be hosting a forum to allow wind-farm developers and the banks to start brokering the deals.

Miliband said: ‘The UK now has 4GW of wind capacity and the pace of installation is picking up. It took us 14 years to build the first gigawatt and just one year to build the last, but we still need a six-fold increase in renewables by 2020 to hit our renewables target. That target is vital if we are to be on course to cutting emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.’

‘So we need to pull out the stops, including making sure the capital is there to build the wind farms in the first place. This partnership of the EIB with RBS, BNP Paribas Fortis and Lloyds Banking group will address that problem.’

As part of the scheme, the European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide up to £700m of the finance, with the remainder to be matched by the three banks.

Darling welcomed the EIB’s commitment to provide this funding for renewable projects and said that money would be vital to building the UK’s capacity in renewable energy as the government continues to push for a global agreement on climate change at Copenhagen.

Simon Brooks, EIB’s European vice president responsible for the UK, added: ‘The EIB’s contribution to transforming wind-energy generation in the UK is a core element of our support for renewable-energy technology across Europe. We are sure that targeted support, following UK and European Union policy combating climate change, will facilitate rapid and sustained investment in the industry and promote continued transformation to a low-carbon economy.’