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UK Green Investment Bank and Foresight back Northern Irish on-farm energy generation project

UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) and Foresight Group have committed £1.7 million (€2.3m) to the construction of a £3.4m anaerobic digestion plant in Armagh, Northern Ireland.

The investment is being made through the Foresight-managed Recycling and Waste LP (RAW) fund, in which GIB is a cornerstone investor.

SQN Capital Management will also invest £1.7m in the 0.5MW plant, which will be built and operated by Northern Irish engineering company Williams Industrial Services.

According to Ed Northam, head of investment banking at GIB, investing in anaerobic digestion encourages rural businesses to be self-sufficient, reducing their reliance on fossil fuels and diverting organic waste from landfill.

‘The process creates energy generators out of those who would otherwise just be energy users, giving them the ability to make money by exporting electricity and producing fertilisers while simultaneously saving them money,’ Northam says.

The plant has been developed by a local farming family together with KPMG (Belfast).

Once operational, it is expected to generate around 3,600MWh of renewable electricity – enough to power 850 homes – and save around 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per annum.

Silage, slurry, chicken litter, and beet will be used to generate a biogas that will produce renewable electricity when combusted in a gas engine.

The digestate produced by the plant – around 18,500 tonnes annually – will be used as fertiliser on local fields.

This is the third Northern Irish AD project that GIB and Foresight have funded, the others being located in County Tyrone and County Down.