Edinburgh bids to host Green Investment Bank

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By a Newsnet reporter

Alyn Smith, SNP MEP and Member of the European Parliament’s Energy Committee, and Edinburgh resident, has yesterday welcomed Edinburgh’s formal bid to host the new Green Investment Bank (GIB). 

Edinburgh is one of 19 cities in the running to site the headquarters of the bank.  The GIB is being set up with £3bn of public money to help firms finance early-stage renewable energy schemes.

It is hoped that GIB will be a key player assisting the development of a green economy.  The bank’s mission will be to provide financial backing to to accelerate private sector investment in the green economy.  GIB will play a vital role in addressing market failures affecting green infrastructure projects and proponents hope that it will stimulate increased private investment in this growing field.

Edinburgh’s bid to act as home of the bank is supported by some of Scotland’s biggest investment funds, including Standard Life Investments, Martin Currie and Aberdeen Asset Management.  The group promoting Edinburgh’s bid is formed from local universities, green and renewable energy companies, as well as the city’s powerful financial sector. 

The leaders of Scotland’s other five cities have also lent their support to the Scottish capital, saying that locating the bank in Edinburgh would have a positive effect throughout Scotland.

Speaking to the BBC on behalf of the consortium supporting the bid, Owen Kelly, chief executive of Scottish Financial Enterprise, said: “An impressive broad range of interests from the worlds of industry, government and politics have been working together to develop Edinburgh’s proposal to be the home for the new Green Investment Bank.

“We have put together a very compelling argument. As the UK’s most complete financial services centre outside of London, Edinburgh has all the necessary skills and talent that the Green Investment Bank will require.

“When you combine that with the vast renewable and low carbon expertise that exists both in and around Edinburgh area as well as its proximity to key developments across Scotland the North of England, we believe that Edinburgh is best placed to deliver the UK government’s low carbon ambitions.”

The UK government will announce its decision on the bank’s location by the end of February.

Mr Smith said:

“Scotland gave the world Adam Smith, and in terms of natural comparative advantage the case for hosting the Green Investment Bank is open and shut.

“Scotland has a unique mix of natural resource; cutting edge research; practical engineering expertise; international heavyweight companies already active in the sector; and a human social geography which means you can get everyone into one room and collaboration is natural. Together with our already world class financial sector this makes a uniquely compelling case to site the bank here.

“All of these advantages of course will remain with us after independence, and within the single market of the European Union the bank will be able to continue to invest in projects across the British Isles and wider EU on merit. Any other working relationship would leave the bank open to an accusation that instead of being a genuine attempt to encourage the market it risks instead being a politically driven white elephant.”