UK to invest £40 billion in green infrastructure projects

Government has set aside a total of £40 billion for 40 energy, road and rail infrastructure projects  

(Pic: Armin Kubelbeck)

(Pic: Armin Kubelbeck)

By Nilima Choudhury

The UK’s Treasury has announced that it will provide £33 billion backing for 40 major wind, gas and biomass projects.

The government will act as a guarantor for projects giving lenders confidence that they will get their money back if the planned scheme cannot pay.

In total, £40 billion has been set aside for forty projects which are worth £33 billion that have been selected for the guarantee scheme, with over half coming from the energy sector.

A £75 million guarantee has already been awarded to the Drax power plant for their £700 million programme to partially convert the UK’s biggest coal power station to biomass.

The power station produces 7% of the UK’s electricity, with the biomass conversions set to be up and running over the next three years.

The Renewable Energy Association (REA) issued a statement saying that with capacity margins tightening, decades old coal and nuclear plants are retiring, it is crucial to get new capacity built quickly.

The REA said because renewables are much quicker to deploy than nuclear or carbon capture and storage, they are the “only low carbon technologies which can make a meaningful contribution to bridging the generation gap this decade.”

Other projects that have made it to this stage include a biomass plant in Avonmouth in the south west which would cost around £300 million and create around 450 full time jobs during the construction phase.

The Able Marine Energy Park, a port facility to support the manufacture, assembly and installation of offshore renewable technologies on Humberside has also been awarded backing from the government.

Also part of the scheme are fossil fuel projects which include a £400 million gas storage project in Northern Ireland, a gas-fired plant in Essex costing £600 million and an unconventional gas processing plant near the North Sea.

“Having passed the first hurdle these companies know the government is there to help if they need it,” said Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon. Danny Alexander MP.

“I hope today’s announcement will encourage even more businesses to consider how they can take advantage of a guarantee.”

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