THE Green Investment Bank seemed like an excellent idea in 2012 – it was expected to live up to its title and attract private capital to support the development of renewable energy and other schemes that would lead to a reduction in the CO2 we produce.

It has broadly met these ambitions and directed almost £4 billion of private capital into projects ranging from energy efficient street lighting in Dagenham, a wind farm in Galloway, and electricity produced from biomass in Port Talbot and from household waste in Belfast.

It was responsible for an increase in the number of anaerobic digestion power schemes in southern England and at the same time set up the first funding route for the development of offshore wind schemes.

It also more than covered its costs, and so its sale to an Australian investment bank with an asset stripping reputation, in a nod to political dogma, is an ignorant step by a thoughtless government.

There will be no guarantee that the funding from the new owners will benefit the development of renewable energy in the UK, or indeed elsewhere, and the sale means that immediate profit has taken preference over long term CO2 responsibility.

Perhaps it’s coincidental that this stripping of the available funding for low carbon energy production has come at a time when the divestment movement is doing exactly the same to the fossil fuel industries.

With universities and local government world wide removing pension funds from the capital available for coal, oil and gas expansion one might expect the renewable field to benefit but it will struggle to raise the capital it needs without the help of the Green Investment Bank.

Maybe it’s now up to local councils to take on the role of providing start up capital for CO2 free energy in the areas where they have responsibility.