Tens of billions of pounds to make Scottish homes net-zero

Scotland is facing a bill of "tens of billions" of pounds to retro-fit homes across the country and bring them in line with net-zero carbon ambitions, MSPs have been told.

Energy efficient homes are planned for Edinburgh's Rowanbank Gardens (computer-generated image)

Holyrood's environment committee heard concerns on Tuesday the authorities have yet to grasp the "scale" of the change required to address climate change, from a leading Green investment expert.

But the head of the new Scottish National Investment Bank (SNIB) told MSPs there was a "huge amount" of investment available for the institution to help drive the country's push towards a low carbon economy.

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The Scottish Government issued an updated climate change plan last month that set a target to reduce emissions by 75 per cent by 2030 – compared with 1990 – and to net zero by 2045.

Andy Kerr, UK and Ireland director with green investment and change firm Climate-KIC, said the plan and establishment of the SNIB was welcome.

But he said: “If you look at the scale of the funding required to genuinely transform our cities, our regions, our towns and our industrial sectors, there is still quite a mismatch.

"The work that we've been doing in cities across Europe, and Edinburgh is one of our partner cities – back of an envelope calculation, we 're going to need something like ten billion [pounds] to retrofit all the homes and get it to net zero in the next ten years.

"Same again for Glasgow, etc ... you can add them up. It becomes tens of billions very, very quickly."

Mr King said the SNIB was an “excellent organisation”, but there was a danger it could be seen as a “silver bullet” for generating the level of investment required.

He said more work would be needed from councils and other authorities to help drive this.

Eilidh Mactaggart, chief executive of the SNIB, said the new institution would seek to invest in companies, which would help the shift towards reduced carbon emissions.

She said the institution was keen to "crowd in" investment from different sources, which it will then add to.

"You will rarely see us doing 100 per cent of an investment because that would defeat the purpose of the 'crowd in' ambition that we have,” she said.

"As we progress we will be looking to raise third party capital to invest alongside our public capital. That could be via managing funds or segregated accounts or institutional investors who are interested in investing alongside the bank.

"So we do see a massive opportunity there for the bank and we do think that's going to be critical to the bank delivering its mission."

Ms Mactaggart added: "There is a huge amount of capital that is interested in investing in the green recovery.

"You can hardly pick up a FT [Financial Times] these days without seeing a mention of it.

"The trick for Scotland, and we've been working with the Scottish Government closely, is to make sure that we get together investable propositions and projects and businesses that need investment."

The bank will work with other areas of the public sector, including enterprise and environment agencies, as well as central government.

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