With public opinion at a possible turning point concerning the role of nuclear in energy mixes, the UK’s Green Investment Bank is tight-lipped about its potential future with nuclear. Former Chief Scientist of the UK, Sir David King, believes that nuclear is too controversial for GIB investment. The Green Investment Bank (GIB) is set to launch in 2012 starting with £2 Billion, and enhanced by £1 Billion from the government and expected to receive 15 billion in private sector investments. Its purpose will be to invest in low-carbon projects that have been deemed too uncertain for the private sector. The government has not yet made a decision regarding GIB’s relationship with nuclear power plants.
Assessing the recent nuclear disaster in Japan’s impact on public opinion and long-term planning will now play a more prominent role in determining whether nuclear is an appropriate investment by the GIB. GIB financing is required to match the government’s policy regarding energy investments. So if nuclear energy is given a marketplace advantage through subsidies or other tactics, similar support must be made available to other forms of energy generation.
Renewable energy investment has been flagged as an “early high priority” by the GIB. Nuclear power’s role within GIB investments remains uncertain. Yet after top-level officials spoke out against nuclear following the disaster in Japan, many suspect it will not be included in GIB funded activities nor qualify for future subsidies.