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HSBC pumps £100m into renewables

money3.jpg“Money can’t buy me love,” sang Sir Paul McCartney in his mop topped Beatles phase. “I don’t care too much for money, money can’t buy me love.”

It can buy you out of a messy divorce though, which Greenbang suspects the ex-Wings member is more than a little chuffed about.

The other thing it can buy you is a chuffing great stake in a renewable energy company. Just ask the world’s local bank.

According to reports, HSBC Environmental Infrastructure Fund has swapped £18 million for a 49 percent stake in Partnerships for Renewables, an offshoot of Carbon Trust Enterprises which deals with public sector bodies, such as local authorities, NHS Trusts, Universities and central government grganisations, to develop and manage on-site renewable energy projects.

HSBC will also cough up £100 million to help expand Partnerships for Renewables’ projects, which are set to cover 500 megawatts over the next few years.

Here’s what the Carbon Trust published:

The Carbon Trust and HSBC today announced a landmark deal which will see HSBC Environmental Infrastructure Fund making a substantial investment in Partnerships for Renewables Limited (PfR), a venture created by Carbon Trust Enterprises to develop renewable energy projects on public sector land. HSBC Environmental Infrastructure Fund will commit up to £18 million to acquire 49% of PfR and provide development funding, as well as make a £30 million revolving construction capital facility available to fund an estimated £100 million of equity required to build out renewable energy projects. This will be HSBC Environmental Infrastructure Fund’s first investment.

Partnerships for Renewables aims to develop a 500MW portfolio of renewables projects on public sector land across the UK during the next five years. This portfolio of projects would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of some 230,000 homes. It is already talking to more than one hundred public sector organisations, including Oxford City Council and Reading University, with the primary aim of delivering 2-15 MW onshore wind projects.

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn welcomed the announcement, saying:

“There is enormous untapped potential for generating renewable energy on public sector land. As we explore every opportunity to generate renewable energy, making the most of the potential for public sector renewables is more important than ever. I’m delighted that the Carbon Trust has secured a partner on commercial terms for their Partnerships for Renewables venture, which demonstrates the very real market opportunities for action on public sector sites.”

Tom Delay, chief executive of the Carbon Trust, commented:
“This announcement is a win win for the environment and the public sector and it sums up our belief that acting on climate change brings a plethora of new commercial opportunities. Our partnership with HSBC Environmental Infrastructure Fund is groundbreaking and will enable the UK to fast track the development of a major renewable resource that at present lies largely untapped.”
James Hall-Smith, HSBC Specialist Investments, said:
“As the world’s first carbon-neutral bank, HSBC is committed to tackling the challenges presented by climate change, including promoting effective means for generating renewable energy. This investment in PfR represents a particularly exciting opportunity for HSBC as it is the first investment to be made by our new Environmental Infrastructure Fund. Furthermore, it demonstrates that it is possible to combine genuine commercial investment opportunity with sustainable or environmental infrastructure.”

Stephen Ainger, chief executive of Partnerships for Renewables, said:
“The public sector owns more than one million hectares of land. Even if a small proportion of this land is utilised for renewable energy development, it has the potential to make a significant contribution towards the fight against climate change. Today’s announcement provides us with the financial means to deliver the economic and environmental benefits associated with renewable energy to the public sector without diverting their resources away from frontline services.”

John Sauven, Greenpeace executive director said:
“This is an excellent example of private finance delivering real emissions reductions through innovative partnerships. It also demonstrates that significant cost effective renewable energy potential exists at all levels rather than simply in industrial scale wind power, and that a viable business case can be made for this investment. Within the context of the UK’s demanding emissions reductions targets, we sincerely hope this is a sign of things to come”

Professor Gordon Marshall, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Reading said:
“Working with Partnerships for Renewables has enabled us to look at the renewable energy potential of our whole land portfolio. As environmental work progressed the number of potential sites reduced and we recently announced that we were going to start detailed environmental work on a site adjacent to the M4.”

Councillor John Goddard, Leader of Oxford City Council, said:
“Oxford City Council wants to play a leading role in the community in responding to the challenge of climate change. We have already set demanding targets for reducing the council’s carbon footprint. We welcome, therefore, the opportunity to develop renewable energy from wind turbines. Working with Partnerships for Renewables provides a low risk way for the local authority to generate renewable energy locally for local benefit. This provides the City Council with a major opportunity to generate revenues for the council to invest in other sustainability projects and at the same time generate green energy.”

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