GIB-funded project breaks ground in Northern Ireland

By Erin Voegele | December 11, 2013

The U.K.-based Green Investment Bank announced work began on Dec. 9 to construct a 15.8-megawatt (MW) biomass plant in Northern Ireland. The £81 million ($133 million) combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plant is being developed by Evermore Renewable Energy on the Londonderry Port. The project represents GIB’s first investment in Northern Ireland.

“We are making a serious commitment to the Northern Ireland energy market. Working with the best partners in technology, fuel supply and financing we hope to show that Northern Ireland is a great place to do business so that further inward investment will follow,” said Ciaran Devine, co-founder of Evermore.  “These projects are extremely complex and they require the involvement of many statutory bodies and government departments and we hope this Investment will show the rest of the UK how committed Northern Ireland is to supporting renewable energy development, and how competent Evermore is at bringing these elements together and financing complex structures.”

The GIB announced a £20 million investment in the project in late July. The investment was made through the Foresight Group managed U.K. Waste Resources and Energy Fund, in which GIB is the cornerstone investor. Partner funders included GCP Infrastructure Fund Ltd., Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S, Investec Bank, and Eksport Kredit Fonden.

The plant will be built and operated by BWSC, which also built and operates the 14-MW Western Wood plant in Wales. The facility is expected to be fully operational in mid-2015.

Biomass fuel for the plant will be supplied by Stobart Biomass Products Ltd. Up to 30 percent of the biomass will be locally sourced. Power NI will purchase all of the energy produced at the facility under a long-term contract.

Last month, the GIB announced an investment of £20 million in a £244 million rail interchange and energy recovery center in South Gloucestershire, England, known as the Severnside Energy Recovery Center. The 34-MW plant will consume up to 300,000 metric tons of residual household waste per year. The waste will be collected from six West London boroughs, with 96 percent of the collected material diverted from the landfill.

The GIB also recently unveiled its green investment policies and is inviting stakeholder feedback. "Publishing these policies is an important milestone for GIB. We are tasked with a double-bottom-line of being both green and profitable. These policies show how we have put our green commitment at the heart of our business model and how we assess, monitor and report on green impact at every stage of the transaction process,” said Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of GIB. “As the world's first dedicated green bank we carry a special responsibility in this area. That is why we have published our investment policies and principles in such detail and with full transparency. In engaging openly with our stakeholders we hope to improve our own policies and strengthen wider industry practice." 

Additional information on the GIB’s green investment policies is available here.