Taking the risk out of green investment

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DE-risking green investment is the key to more uptake of low carbon technology, a Tees Valley expert has claimed

Yesterday a major EIC Environmental Investment Network survey revealed there is significant interest from investors in environmental projects – but the Government needs to do more.

John Barton, projects director with Wilton-based Renew, claims the finance is there for the taking, but more stability is needed to encourage investors to come up with the cash.

Technologies such as value from waste are vital to the Tees Valley’s future, said Mr Barton, and Government policy and legislation is one of the main drivers of its success.

“The investment community can’t handle inconsistency,” he said. “Financing isn’t the issue, we need long term incentives and minimised risk that will make this whole industry take off.

“Value from waste is seeing a large upturn, from turning municipal waste into energy or transport fuel, to organic waste through anaerobic means. Using waste as a feedstock to produce base chemicals can give more security to the Tees Valley.

“Europe is seeing growth in these areas and there are good reasons for that. They’ve had the incentives for a long time and the market has responded. We know it can happen.”

Paul Turner, head of sustainable development for Lloyds TSB wholesale bank, said next week’s climate change summit in Copenhagen could be a turning point.

“We need Governments globally to come out with the right message at Copenhagen,” he said.

“We see an agreement as critical for the right economic signs needed to invest the billions of dollars required to move towards a low-carbon economy.”

The EIC survey, which uncovered environmental investors’ suggestions for the Treasury ahead of December’s pre-budget report, has confirmed Government needs to focus on setting long term regulatory frameworks that will turn investor interest into action.

Just 20% of respondents believed the Government was doing enough to encourage green investment. Despite this, investors have considerable interest in the sector – 68% of respondents forecast their investment activity in this sector will increase in the next two years and a massive 84% believe green projects are a high priority for investors. Interestingly, just 13% of respondents said their environmental investment is restricted by a lack of funds.

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