Scottish National Investment Bank to benefit tidal & wave?

Scottish National Investment Bank implementation plan launch (Photo: twitter/ScotGovFM)

Following the publication of the implementation plan, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that a Scottish National Investment Bank will be set up. Scottish Renewables has welcomed the banks’ investment focus.

Developed by Benny Higgins, CEO of Tesco Bank, and released on February 28, 2018, the implementation plan has recommendations covering the remit, governance, operating model and financing of the new publicly-owned bank.

The plan recommends that the bank should be publicly-owned and mission-driven, focused on supporting Scotland’s economic priorities and promoting inclusive growth.

Also, the recommendations state the bank should provide long-term, patient finance for both smaller firm and larger project, and that is should be supported by long-term capitalization of at least £2 billion over the first ten years.

Benny Higgins (Photo: twitter/ScotGovFM)

Higgins further advises the bank should cowork to word in – not crowd out – private sector investment, and also create opportunities and new markets for the private sector to invest in.

Commenting on the report, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “To realize our ambitions for Scotland’s economy, innovative companies need access to strategic, patient finance to grow and thrive, while the business environment must encourage our young people to be the entrepreneurs of the future. That is why I committed to a publicly-owned national investment bank, which will act as a cornerstone for the economy.”

Welcoming the comments made by Sturgeon, the Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables – the representative body of the Scottish renewable energy industry – Claire Mack, said:

“Scotland leads the world in the development of devices which can capture energy from waves and tides – but these are sectors which are at a difficult stage of their development.

“We welcome comments made today by the First Minister that the new Scottish National Investment Bank will focus on delivering ‘patient long-term strategic investment’ to cater for ‘sectors that the market currently doesn’t’.

“Wave and tidal technologies offer particular characteristics that are helpful in supporting our move towards a new, less centralized energy system and, as we’ve seen in the economic cases behind our island wind projects, can offer wider benefits to smaller, more fragile economies.

“With the right investment, our wave and tidal energy sectors can continue on the path towards full commercialization, giving Scotland a huge first-mover advantage in an energy sector with enormous global potential.

Wave and tidal energy devices tested at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland (Photo: EMEC)

“Also of note are the positive statements made by Benny Higgins, who led an advisory group investigating the concept of the bank. He described renewable energy as a sector ‘in the crosshairs of what is intended for the Scottish National Investment Bank’, lending further support to an industry which is at the heart of Scotland’s new industrial revolution,” concluded Mack.

Establishing a Scottish National Investment Bank was announced by the First Minister back in September 2017.

An advisory group to support Benny Higgins included investment professionals, academics, the Scottish Futures Trust, Scottish Enterprise and senior Scottish Government officials, according to Scottish government.

The recommendations will be considered by Scottish Ministers, before a formal response in the spring, the government added.

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