The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has invested £11m in a minority stake in a Welsh biomass power facility, securing the long-term future of “an important Welsh renewable energy plant”.
Western Bio-Energy Ltd will use the money from a GIB fund to refurbish and improve efficiency at its 14.7-megawatt power station in Port Talbot.
Stobart Biomass will provide the wood feedstock for the plant, which been working since 2008 and produces enough power for more than 28,000 homes.
Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive, UK Green Investment Bank, said: “This investment will secure the long-term future of an important Welsh renewable energy plant and will improve its efficiency and sustainability.”
DECC estimates bioenergy plants may meet eight percent to 11 percent of the nation’s primary energy demand by 2020.
Shaun Kingsbury, GIB – “This investment will secure the long-term future of an important Welsh renewable energy plant and will improve its efficiency and sustainability”
Bioenergy and waste is one of GIB’s investment priorities, with the bank awarding a mandate to Greensphere to help invest in small-scale waste-to-energy facilities. This is the fund’s second investment since it started up in July 2012.
The investment in the Port Talbot plant will see a number of upgrades implemented. These will include 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.
After the scheduled refurbishment, the plant will be able to accept c.55 percent grade A waste wood, a significant increase. The refurbishment, which is expected to take place in Summer 2014, is likely to create a number of local jobs.
The Greensphere-managed fund forms a key part of GIB’s investment strategy into the waste and bioenergy sector, one of its investment priorities.
GIB initially awarded the competitive fund mandate to Greensphere to drive investment into small scale waste to energy projects. This is the fund’s second investment since it was set up in July 2012.
Divya Seshamani, Managing Partner, Greensphere Capital LLP, added: “We see the Port Talbot plant as a cornerstone of the waste-wood-to-energy platform we are building in this sector.”