UK GIB to invest £11m in Welsh biomass plant

The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has today announced that it will invest £11m to purchase and upgrade an operational biomass plant in Port Talbot, Wales.

The investment will see a number of upgrades implemented, including an increase in Grade A waste wood as a fuel source, and refurbishment of the plant. This is expected to improve operational efficiency and reduce operational risk.

Funding will come from the UK Green and Sustainable Waste and Energy Investment Limited Partnership (UKGSWEI) fund, which GIB is a cornerstone investor, and is managed by Greensphere Capital.

UK GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury, said: “This investment will secure the long-term future of an important Welsh renewable energy plant and will improve its efficiency and sustainability.

“The Greensphere fund was set up, in part, to help support the UK’s waste wood biomass sector and its first acquisition of an operational asset is an important step.”

The plant, Western Bio-energy Limited, is a 14.7 megawatt (MW) biomass facility and was the first commercial-scale power station of its kind in Wales. It has been operational since 2008 and currently produces enough electricity to power over 28,000 homes.

Greensphere has negotiated a contract to provide feedstock for the lifetime of the plant with Stobart Biomass, which will significantly increase feedstock reliability and reduce costs.

After the scheduled upgrade, the plant will be able to accept around 55% grade A waste wood, a “significant increase”. The upgrade is expected to take place in summer 2014.

Leigh Stringer

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