Green Investment Team to Unlock Funding for Net-Zero

22nd Mar 2024

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Plans to create a specialist green investment team that can help unlock a £40billion fund needed for Glasgow's Net Zero ambitions have agreed by the council.

The specialist team will be tasked with developing the council's relationship with the private sector so investment can be attracted to the city for crucial climate initiatives such as local heating networks, energy efficiency in buildings, renewable energy projects, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, and other schemes that can accelerate decarbonisation of the city.

Glasgow hopes to build upon recent success in attracting private sector funding after world leading business experts fDI Intelligence ranked Glasgow as Europe's number one city for bringing in overseas investment.

Council officers have also been investigating how other UK local authorities intend to fund their climate action plans and have been linking with Bristol City Council and the Greater London Authority, where partnerships & climate funds with multi-million pound profiles have been formed between public and private sectors.

With Glasgow aiming to achieve Net Zero by 2030, a paper put before the council's City Administration Committee indicates there is a need to accelerate the delivery of the city's carbon reduction projects. But it is also acknowledged that political oversight and governance must be in place with any decisions designed to protect the council in the longer term. The specialist team will therefore seek to bring together expertise in finance, sustainability, procurement, and law. The City Administration Committee agreed to provide £4m over two years in support of the specialist team.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, sees the formation of the specialist team as vital to Glasgow's drive to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Councillor Aitken said: "There is no question that the climate emergency is the issue of our times. To reduce our carbon emissions while also adapting to and mitigating the impact of climate change creates a massive challenge for the city.

"To meet this challenge and deliver the large-scale interventions that will decarbonise our city, it has long been clear that private sector investment is required. It is not possible for the council alone to make the changes that are needed.

"But the scale of opportunity for investors is also enormous. Our Local Heating and Energy Efficiency Strategy, for example, shows that almost two-thirds of Glasgow homes could benefit from a connection to a district heating network. It is kind of plan that will attract investors as they will see the potential for a return on their investment.

"Major cities such as London and Bristol with similar ambitions to Glasgow have shared their knowledge and experience on net zero finance. But the specialist team we intend to form we will be focused on creating and delivering a green investment model that works for Glasgow. The city has great record of attracting inward investment and I am confident the step we are about to take will ultimately take us to a net zero Glasgow."

Glasgow declared a climate emergency in 2019 alongside the commitment to create a net zero city by 2030 and in 2020, the Glasgow Climate Plan set out how the city intended to reduce its carbon footprint and mitigate against the impact of climate change.  The Glasgow Green Deal subsequently provided a nine-year programme designed to transform the city's economy and the Greenprint for Investment in 2021 provided a portfolio of investment projects that would support the push for net zero.

The Local Heating and Energy Efficiency Strategy has found that almost half of the city's population living in two-thirds of Glasgow's home could access district heating networks, which could draw upon a range of renewable sources such as water source heat pumps at the River Clyde, drawing heat from deep geothermal wells and using the energy created by waste processing plants like the Glasgow Recycling and Renewable Energy Centre at Polmadie.  The strategy also looks at how to improve the energy efficiency of homes in the city.

Members of the City Administration Committee agreed to approve a £4m funding award to support the creation of a specialist green investment team. Further information can be found in the paper approved by the City Administration Committee.