By Daniel Hunter

Plans by the UK Government to set up the world’s first Green Investment Bank (UK GIB) have been approved by the European Commission. The Bank is now set to begin operations in the next few weeks.

State aid approval gives UK GIB the remit to make investments on commercial terms across a wide range of green economy sectors.

“This marks an important step. Funded with £3 billion of Government money and mobilising additional private capital, the UK Green Investment Bank has the potential to make a significant contribution to the development of a green economy. State aid approval gives the Bank the green light to expand investment in the UK’s green infrastructure," Business Secretary Vince Cable said.

Earlier this year the Bank was established as a public company, UK Green Investment Bank plc. Following approval from the European Commission, final preparations are now in hand for the UK GIB to begin making investments.

Shaun Kingsbury, the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, and six new non-executive directors will take up their positions on the Board on 29 October. The official launch of UK GIB will be at the end of November.

"This is excellent news and a very important milestone as we transition to a low carbon economy and work to boost investment across the industry," UK Green Investment Bank Chair Lord Smith said.

"We have already made significant progress in building our teams and the necessary infrastructure for the Bank and we expect to be fully operational in the next few weeks. We clearly have challenges ahead but we have the people, the expertise and the capability to deliver on our priorities and create the foundation for a new climate of green investment."

In the period before state aid approval for UK GIB, investments have been made on commercial terms by BIS’s UK Green Investments team (UKGI). To date, UKGI has committed £180 million to specialist fund managers to co-invest equity in smaller waste infrastructure, energy from waste, and non domestic energy efficiency projects. Assets built up by UKGI will transfer to the Bank.

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