Energy

Gov’t Getting Rid Of Taxpayer-Funded ‘Green Investment Bank’

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter

The United Kingdom can now legally off a government-run green energy investment bank after a judge threw out legal challenges to its sale Monday.

Justice Clive Lewis of High Court of Justice threw out a lawsuit blocking the government’s sale of the Green Investment Bank to the Australian-based bank MacQuarrie, according to Clean Energy News. With legal challenges tossed aside, the green bank can be privatized.

The bank was created in 2012 to fund local green energy and other environmentally friendly projects,including pumping $1 billion into offshore wind turbines. Environmental groups and Conservative Party members opposed selling off the bank.

Environmentalists argue selling off the bank would prevent the UK from going green, while some conservatives don’t want to see public sector capital in direct competition with the private sector.

Many conservatives, however, see the bank’s sale as a critical part of the government’s privatization efforts.

Sajid Javid, the secretary of state for business, started to partially privatize the green bank in late 2015, claiming it under-performed, but soon ran into legal trouble. The company Sustainable Development Capital sued after the government rejected its bid to buy the Green Investment Bank in October.

“We obviously hold profoundly different views to decision makers in the Government as to how to secure the best future or long term value for the Green Investment Bank,” Jonathan Maxwell, CEO of Sustainable Development Capital, said in a press statement. “Views similar to ours have been raised by MPs from all political parties and many commentators in the market.”

The U.K. government had been the Green Investment Bank’s sole shareholder since its creation in 2012. The bank has significantly under-performed expectations, according to its own annual reports.

In 2016, it generated a profit of only $12.3 million when it was supposed to generate up to $32 million. At present, the bank has a total transaction value of $4.6 billion.

The sale of the bank follows five major green scandals in the U.K. so far this year in which billion of taxpayer dollars were wasted.

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