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Another £1 billion for UK wind energy industry

LONDON: The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB), established in 2012 as the world's first 'for profit' Sustainability bank, is to raise a further £1 billion to expand Britain's expanding offshore wind farm sector.

The move follows a move earlier this year by Siemens to invest £160 million in wind turbine production and installation facilities in 'Green Port Hull' and Paull, Yorkshire. Associated British Ports (ABP) has committed a further £150 million to the Hull development.

"The British energy policy creates a favourable framework for the expansion of offshore wind energy. In particular, it recognizes the potential of offshore wind energy within the overall portfolio of energy production," said Michael Suess, member of the managing board of Siemens AG.

SiemensSiemens says Britain's offshore wind market has doubled in two years to around 10 gigawatts of capacity and the company expects to install 14 gigawatts by 2020 and has plans to develop capacity for over 40 gigawatts.

Since 2012 the GIB and private investors have committed a total of £4.8 billion in UK green infrastructure projects. Once built, GIB's existing portfolio of investments will reduce the UK's annual CO2 emissions by 3.5 million tonnes each year - equivalent to taking 1.6m cars off the road. The wind farms will produce 12.8 terawatt-hours of renewable energy, enough to power three million homes, and avoid 1.3 million tonnes of waste going to landfill, equivalent to the annual domestic waste produced by 1.3 million homes.

GIB chairman Lord Smith of Kelvin commented: "We have emerged from our start-up phase as the most active investor in the UK's green economy. 2013-14 was a good year for GIB in a difficult market – we backed 18 new projects, more than double our first year, committing an additional £668 million of capital."

In a coincident reference to the forthcoming vote on Scottish independence, the bank notes that its current investments will produce enough renewable energy to power all of Scotland's homes with electricity.

In mid-June, a joint venture between ScottishPower Renewables and energy management company Vattenfall received government permission to build the UK's largest renewable energy project. Construction of up to 240 wind turbines off the coast of East Anglia is expected to begin in 2017 to generate enough power for 820,000 homes by 2019.

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