A transfer to the private sector will allow the GIB to maximise investment into green energy projects by attracting greater private sector investment, which has so far been constrained by rules governing how public bodies can raise capital.

The launch of the sale comes as GIB announced it has supported a new £10 million investment to acquire and expand the renewable energy plant and district heating network in Wick, on the far north coast of Scotland.

Announcing the intention to sell GIB in his speech at the Lord Mayor’s Trade and Industry Dinner, Mansion House, Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

“The Green Investment Bank is a world first, and it is a sign of its success that the idea is being copied globally. Having proven the business model works, we now want it to make an even greater impact.

“The special share structure protects the bank’s green mission meaning the Green Investment Bank will continue to do exactly what it says on the tin.”

Since being established in 2012, GIB has helped mobilise a total of £10.6 billion of investment into almost 70 projects covering sectors including offshore wind, energy efficiency and waste and bio energy. Moving GIB into private ownership will give it access to much more than capital than if it remained in government hands, meaning it can increase its investments and have a bigger impact.

The most recent investment has seen £10 million funding to upgrade the infrastructure at the energy plant and district heating network in Wick, and expand the district heating system with the aim of nearly doubling the network. This will save 3,000 tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) each year, comparable to removing 1,300 cars from the road. GIB has provided almost half of the total investment.

Lord Smith of Kelvin, independent chair of GIB said: “Attracting new investors is vital if GIB is to fund its ambitious plans to double the size of its business, expand into new parts of the UK green economy and deliver a growing green impact.

“I am confident that the sale process will provide GIB with good new owners who will support GIB’s continued growth and leadership role in the global green economy long into the future.

“This launch, and the wider plans to introduce new capital and new owners to GIB, has the full support of GIB’s independent Board.”

Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of GIB, said: “In three years the team at GIB have built a special business that is green, profitable and admired around the world. GIB is an exciting investment opportunity, providing new investors with predictable returns and significant growth opportunities. The business is perfectly placed to play a leading role as the world moves decisively towards an unprecedented programme of green infrastructure investment.”

The Government is now inviting Expressions of Interest from bidders to be evaluated as part of the first phase of the sale process. This will be followed by a bidding process later this year.