MP questions Green Investment Bank sale

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The Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has asked industry minister Nick Hurd for an explanation of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) restructure.

Mary Creagh, MP, raised questions about why twelve ‘special purpose vehicles’ (SPV’s) have been created by the GIB in a letter to Mr Hurd in January.

Ms Creagh said: “The committee would like to know why this restructuring has taken place and whether there are implications for the bank’s green purposes. In particular, the committee would like to ask how the creation of these SPVs stands to facilitate the injection of private capital into GIB’s offshore wind assets?”

Concerns over owner intentions

The key concern seems to be what the new GIB owners’ eventual intentions and actions may be.

Ms Creagh noted that some of the SPVs appeared to correspond to three of the bank’s largest assets – the Galloper, Rampion and Westermost Rough offshore windfarms.

Creagh asked whether the SPVs would have to comply with the bank’s environmental mission, and whether the holder of the special share would have any say over the transfer of assets between the GIB and these newly created entities.

She continued: “Was this restructuring action taken at the request of UK Government Investments, who are overseeing the sale? If so, what is the intention of the restructuring?”

Creagh has previously called on energy ministers to appear before the EAC to explain what is happening with the sale.

GIB sale recap

The GIB was founded in 2012 to help funnel investment into riskier green infrastructure projects which might not otherwise secure financing.

In 2015 Sajid Javid, the former business secretary, announced that the bank would be sold off to enable it to access greater pools of capital. In March 2016 he began the process of privatisation.

In line with the recommendations of an EAC report published in December 2015, Sajid said a “golden share” would be created which would enable the holder – a government-formed Green Purposes Company – to reject any changes to the banks’ green ethos.

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