GIB makes third investment in Northern Ireland's AD industry

The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) and private equity group Foresight have committed to invest £1.7m in the construction of an anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Northern Ireland.

The completed plant is expected to generate around 3,600MWh of renewable electricity a year

The completed plant is expected to generate around 3,600MWh of renewable electricity a year

The 0.5MW plant, which will be built and operated by a Northern Irish engineering company, has been developed by a local farming family and KPMG (Belfast).

Once operational, it is expected to generate around 3,600MWh of renewable electricity – enough to power 850 homes and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

The investment is being made through the Foresight-managed Recycled and Waste LP (RAW) fund - of which GIB is a cornerstone investor - alongside another investment of £1.7m by SQN Capital Management. 

Digestate produced by the plant – around 18,500 tonnes annually – will be used as fertiliser on local fields whilst also generating a biogas that will produce renewable electricity from silage, slurry, chicken litter and beet. 

Foresight says it is “thrilled” with the investment into small-scale anaerobic digestion, which reflects the “continuing demand for AD and the growing pipeline of opportunities for our investors”.  

As the third such plant the two funders have backed - with two others located in County Tyrone and County Down - GIB hopes that the investments will help rural businesses to save money.

GIB's head of investment banking Ed Northam said: “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. Northern Ireland has once again proven that it is awake to that opportunity.”

SQN Capital Management described anaerobic digestion as a “growth area” and stated that it would continue to look for further opportunities within it. 

Saffron Johnson

This article first appeared on edie's sister title, Utility Week


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