The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) has today announced an investment by its fund, managed by Greensphere Capital LLP (Greensphere), to purchase and upgrade an operational biomass plant in Port Talbot, Wales.
The UK Green and Sustainable Waste and Energy Investment Limited Partnership (UKGSWEI), is investing £11m to hold a minority stake in the plant. The UKGSWEI fund, in which GIB is a cornerstone investor, is managed by Greensphere.
Co-investment was sourced by Greensphere from Signia Wealth Management and Stobart PLC.
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. 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 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.
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.
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 refurbishment, the plant will be able to accept c.55% 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.
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Notes to editors
UK Green Investment Bank (GIB)
The UK Green Investment Bank was launched in November 2012. With £3.8 billion of funding from the UK Government, it is the first bank of its kind in the world. It is a "for profit" bank, whose mission is to accelerate the UK's transition to a greener economy, and to create an enduring institution, operating independently of Government.
Greensphere Capital LLP
Greensphere Capital LLP ("Greensphere") is an FCA authorized and regulated specialist investment firm focused on sustainable energy and infrastructure. It was established in February 2011 by its three founding members: Divya Seshamani, Vince Julier and Jon Moulton (as non-executive Chairman), in order to bring discipline and rigour to sustainability and clean energy investing.
Greensphere invests in assets, on behalf of its investors, to create portfolios of long-term cash-yielding investments, underpinned by material and defensive sub-sector platforms. The first sub-sector platforms are concentrated on UK waste and waste-to-energy, namely Anaerobic Digestion and Waste Wood Biomass. Greensphere closed its first major investment platform, in Anaerobic Digestion, in November 2012.