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Green economy investment is a 'great opportunity'

The UK's green economy is a "great long-term investment opportunity and it will get better", Lord Smith of Kelvin, the chairman of the Green Investment Bank, told the National Association of Pension Funds investment conference in Edinburgh, writes Simon Bain.

The SSE chairman said the GIB had backed 25 projects across its target sectors of offshore wind, energy efficiency and waste, and all 25 were on track commercially.

The GIB had worked with 60 co-investors, directly committing £750 million which would mobilise over £3bn, had invested in 30% of the UK's offshore wind capacity, and had financed the UK's first large-scale conversion from coal to biomass.

Lord Smith said the bank had also last year helped launch the UK's first listed renewable energy fund Greencoat Capital, adding: "The Greencoat model has now been successfully copied at least four more times to date in the UK alone with the sector now providing in excess of £1.2bn of capital."

Lord Smith said the 2013 NAPF workplace survey had found over 40% of scheme members wanting their savings to be invested in a pension fund which combined financial return with making a contribution to society.

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