Funding secured for renewable energy facility in UK

Foresight Group and the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) are investing in the construction of a new waste wood combined heat and power (CHP) facility in Merseyside, UK.

The plant, which will generate 20.2MW of electricity and 7.8 MW of thermal power, will be powered by 146,000 tonnes per year of waste wood, sourced by Stobart Biomass Products under a long-term fuel supply contract.

The facility will provide power to the grid and the heat offtake will be used by Stobart's adjacent wood drying facility. It will be built within the Mersey Multimodal Gateway project, a 180 hectare logistics hub, just west of Liverpool.

The project, which is expected to become operational by December 2016, will be amongst the largest power plants of its type in the UK, and is the largest waste wood plant in the northwest of the country.

The plant will be built and operated by Danish power plant specialist Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor, and over its expected 20-year lifetime, the facility is forecast to supply renewable electricity equivalent to the needs of more than 35,000 homes annually and deliver a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 1.3 million tonnes – the equivalent to taking nearly 30,000 cars off the road.

GIB is providing £16.9 million (€21 million) of mezzanine loans and also making a £13.2 million equity investment, via its Foresight-managed fund, UK Waste Resources & Energy Investments, in which it is the cornerstone investor. The remaining £42.1 million mezzanine finance is being provided by GCP Infrastructure Investors.

Investec Bank and Eksport Kredit Fonden have together committed £42.5 million of senior loans, while Stobart and BWSC will both take an equity stake with commitments of £9.8 million and £2.6 million, respectively.

'This project is a great example of how we can build the next generation of energy and waste management infrastructure in a way that is green, cost-effective and highly efficient. This type of innovative infrastructure adds to our domestic electricity generation and reduces our carbon emissions,' says the UK GIB's CEO, Shaun Kingsbury. 'What is particularly important is that these projects are replicable and scalable.'

Richard Butcher, CEO of Stobart Energy and Infrastructure, comments: 'This agreement secures an attractive energy investment for the group and will make an important contribution towards achieving our target of delivering 2 million tonnes of fuel per annum into the UK biomass market by 2017-2018.

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