European Investment Bank to authorize £700 million in matched loans for onshore wind developments

Three UK banks involved

Lending scheme designed to tackle lack of project finance

BWEA report shows extent of problem

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The British Wind Energy Association (BWEA), the UK’s leading renewable energy association, welcomed the EIB backed Government plan to inject much needed liquidity into the onshore wind development market. The measure announced in April’s Budget and coming into force today is set to free-up a total of £1.4 billion, as the £700 million in EIB funds will be matched by a further £700 million from the three commercial banks involved. The funds are aimed specifically at wind farms with planning permission.

Maria McCaffery, BWEA Chief Executive, said: “Wind energy has never been a risky investment. In fact, wind farms in the UK have never defaulted on their loans. However, the recent turbulence in the financial markets has affected availability of loan finance for smaller and medium sized projects. The funds announced today will be particularly important role in bringing forward a host of sound projects, by developers with a proven track record in wind energy delivery."

Research conducted by New Energy Finance on behalf of BWEA shows that while investment in wind energy on balance sheet has increased from £212 million in 2007 to £920 million in 2009, project finance in the same period has decreased from £336 million to £54 million. Statistics show that there is a strong pipeline of onshore projects with planning approvals in the UK, totaling 756MW in construction and 3056MW with consent.

“There is no reason why the UK’s wind energy sector should not be as successful as those of our European neighbors, particularly given our wind resources. The initiative launched today should go a long way towards addressing one side of the delivery problem. We now need a bold strategy to resolve planning, so that we can make good on our promise to deliver 15% of energy from renewables by 2020,” commented McCaffery.

One of the main obstacles that I see, however, to the UK's wind energy sector being as successful as our European neighbors is the lack of political will to puch such projects through and also the obstacles that are put in the way of turbines, large and even small one for small wind, by the NIMBYs and it is the NIMBYs that the Members of Parliament and local councilors listen to because they are their voters.

Other countries have different systems and in some countries of Europe renewable energy and all things green have such a high standing that there are no objections about and also, in some cases, none possible because of the government legislation that have been framed in such as way that renewable energy projects always have a priority over anything.

© 2009