NatWest and RBS to increase funding for renewable energy
NatWest and RBS are creating a dedicated £50M fund and renewable energy team to help meet demand from businesses looking to install wind turbines and solar panels. Research by NatWest and RBS reveals that 33% of agriculture businesses wish to deploy renewable energy at their farm to reduce running costs, as well as carbon emissions. Over half of agriculture businesses surveyed said they would need funding from their bank to take this forward.
Renewable energy technologies are becoming increasingly attractive as economic uncertainty prompts businesses to become more efficient and sustainable. Wind turbines and solar panels are inexpensive to run once installed and offer long term benefits to running costs and the environment. With 40% of all wind energy in Europe blowing over the UK, there are plenty of opportunities where turbines could be deployed. Helping more businesses install wind turbines and solar panels will also contribute to the UK's target of 15% of energy from renewables by 2020.
Ian Burrow, Head of Agriculture and Renewable energy at RBS, said: "We're serious about being at the forefront of helping UK businesses switch to a more sustainable way of meeting their energy needs. We have nearly 200 relationship managers trained in covering the technical, legal and financial considerations specific to renewable energy - no other bank can offer this depth of knowledge and level of service to SMEs."
While research shows strong interest in renewable energy amongst the agriculture sector, the banks have capacity to make a much bigger fund available if demand exceeds expectations. Support could also extend to include hydro energy and other technologies.
Turbine installations require extensive planning, access to the site, noise and visual effect are just some of the key environmental considerations. Many small businesses simply do not have the resource or time to get such a complex operation off the ground. The renewable energy team will help customers deal with uncertainties around planning, completing feasibility studies and making environmental impact assessments to help speed the process up of application. Each relationship manager will have graduated from the bank's renewable energy finance programme and be independently accredited to advise customers by the Chartered Institute of Bankers.