RBS was by far the biggest lender to renewable energy projects in the UK last year, lending more than double the amount of its nearest competitor, according to independent research. The bank says it expects the sector to grow further in the next few years.
Figures from Infrastructure Journal show RBS loaned more than $366 million to UK renewable projects last year. The journal also calculates that across the sector, lending increased by nearly 200% on the previous year. In 2010 deals worth $464 million were completed, which increased to $1.37 billion in 2011 (figures from Infrastructure Journal).
Jamieson Thrower, senior director in RBS’s structured finance division says: “RBS is playing its part in financing the transition to a greener economy. We have built up an impressive level of expertise in this area, which shows in the growing number of transactions we completed last year. With EU members committed to sourcing 20% of their energy from renewables by 2020, the sector is likely to remain busy over the next few years.”
One driver behind the increase in activity in the sector is the surge in biomass developments after the UK reviewed its Renewables Obligation banding in October 2011. This was encouraging for onshore wind and proposed greater subsidies for enhanced biomass generators while leaving incentives for other forms of biomass power mostly unchanged, easing uncertainty across the industry for continued future development. Biomass plants generate power from organic materials such as woodchips, municipal waste and straw.