Britain to launch the world's first sovereign green savings bond

Suban Abdulla
·3 min read
Offshore wind farm energy turbines at dawn. Surreal but natural sunrise at sea. Modernistic image. The future of clean energy production.
Rishi Sunak said that the green bonds would help drive innovation and technologies needed to reduce Britain's usage of greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels. Photo: Getty

The UK is on course to become the first country in the world to offer sovereign green savings bonds to retail investors who are interested in saving the environment.

According to the Treasury the move allows people to help drive Britain's greener future and goals to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The bonds — which will be launched by chancellor Rishi Sunak in next week's Budget — will help the government raise funds to invest in renewable energy and clean transportation projects among other things.

Sunak will announce the launch of three programmes that will receive funding from the £1bn ($1.4bn) Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, the Treasury said. The portfolio is a UK-wide scheme to support the development of the innovative technologies needed to reach net zero.

UK savers will be able to purchase bonds and contribute towards projects that will speed up the UK's transition to a "low carbon economy, create green jobs, and support the collective effort to tackle climate change" while saving money at the same time.

"The UK is a global leader on tackling climate change, with a clear target to reach net zero by 2050 and a Ten Point Plan to create green jobs as we transition to a greener future," the chancellor said.

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Funding allocations are expected to include, £20m for a competition to develop floating offshore wind demonstration projects, which can be "deployed in deep waters where winds are strongest."

This will support the government’s plans to generate enough electricity from offshore wind to power every home by 2030, the Treasury said. It added that the floating offshore wind market has significant growth potential, especially in Scotland and Wales, which could "lead to the creation of new, high value, sustainable jobs."

Additionally, almost £70m is expected for a competition to deliver "first-of-a-kind long-duration energy storage prototypes" that will cut the cost of net zero by storing excess low carbon energy over longer periods.

With a further £4m towards a "biomass feedstocks programme" with the aim of increasing the production of "green energy crops and forest products" that can be used for energy. The Treasury said that these "play an important role" in decarbonisation.

It comes as the Treasury revealed that immigration reform is on the cards in next week's Budget, with Sunak set to announce "fast track" visas for highly-skilled workers — a move which will make it easier for scientist to come to the UK post-Brexit.

Sunak said that the green bonds would help drive innovation and technologies needed to reduce Britain's usage of greenhouse gas-producing fossil fuels.

"In a world first, we’re launching a new green savings bond which will give people across the UK the opportunity to contribute to the collective effort to tackle climate change," he said.

Additionally, the government is also "launching new competitions that will unlock innovation in renewable energy" that will help the country "develop the cutting-edge technology we need to reach net zero."

The new green savings bond will be offered by NS&I — the Treasury-backed savings organisation which offers Premium Bonds and other savings products.

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