Australian bank Macquarie has unveiled plans to invest £3 billion in low-carbon projects over the next three years after buying the Green Investment Bank (GIB) from the UK Government.

If the investment comes to fruition then it will represent an acceleration for the GIB, which has invested £3.4bn since it was created four-and-a-half years ago, leveraging £3 of private sector finance for £1 of public money invested.

The UK Government sold the bank for £1.7bn, with Macquarie taking on a further £600,000 of liabilities, valuing the deal at £2.3bn in total.

Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Minister Nick Hurd said: “Macquarie has published a series of commitments over the future of GIB under its ownership, including that GIB’s green purpose and green objectives will be maintained.”

Investment in novel green projects

Lord Smith of Kelvin, Chair of the GIB, said: “Macquarie has made significant and important commitments to the UK Government to maintain GIB as a discrete entity within its business, maintaining GIB’s investment focus and approach with a target to invest more capital each year than GIB has historically.

“GIB in private ownership can, and should, continue to play an important leadership role in supporting the global low carbon transition and the UK Government’s ambitious plans for a strengthened industrial strategy and emissions reduction.”

Karen Ellis, Chief Adviser on Economics and Development at environmental charity WWF, pointed out: “Numerous market failures are constraining the availability of finance for green investment, so to ensure the GIB continues to deliver on its mandate, it should invest in novel green projects, which are less likely to be funded privately; it needs to focus on crowding in additional finance by reducing the barriers to investment.”

> See Nick Hurd's statement in full