Foresight Group – a leading, independent alternative asset manager with current assets of over £650 million – and the UK Green Investment Bank – the bank created in 2012 to accelerate the UK’s transition to a green economy and to create an enduring Institution, operating independently of Government – have invested £20 million into the construction of the Evermore Renewable Energy (15.8MWe) wood fuelled combined heat and power (CHP) station to be built in Derry/Londonderry, in Northern Ireland. The Foresight managed fund, UK Waste Resources & Energy Fund (Ukwrei), in which the Green Investment Bank is the cornerstone investor, has made the investment, which is the first GIB funded project in Northern Ireland.
The Evermore project, which is expected to become operational during 2015, is forecast to be the largest renewable energy project in Northern Ireland, increasing the amount of renewable electricity currently generated in Northern Ireland by approximately 10%. Over the expected 20 year lifetime of the project, it is forecast to supply renewable electricity equivalent to the needs of more than 25,000 homes a year, create 200 construction jobs and more than 20 full time jobs once operational. Over the project life it is forecast to save 2 million tonnes of wood from going to landfill and is expected to deliver a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 3.7 million tonnes.
The electricity will be supplied to the national grid and the heat output will be used by an integrated wood drying facility, supplying fuel for new biomass boilers within Northern Ireland. The project will be fuelled by around 110,000 tonnes per annum of wood secured under a long-term fuel supply contract from Stobart Biomass.
Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive, UK Green Investment Bank, said: “The announcement will substantially increase Northern Ireland’s renewable energy capacity. Not only will the project save the same amount of carbon as taking around 77,000 cars off the road, it will also make use of over two million tonnes of wood, a valuable energy resource that would otherwise have gone to landfill. Our mission is to crowd in private sector capital, so I’m especially pleased to see that every pound of GIB investment brought in more than £3 of private funding.”
According to Business Secretary, Vince Cable, “The first deal done in Northern Ireland is a landmark moment for the UK Green Investment Bank and I’m confident that there will be more to come. The investment will have a significant green impact, reducing carbon emissions and diverting wood from landfill. It is also good news for the local area, creating jobs and building a stronger economy.”
Andrew Page and Nigel Aitchison, Partners at Foresight Group commented: “The Foresight deal team has worked intensely over many months with Evermore, our financing partners, and the contractors and suppliers to structure and complete this landmark investment. This is the second investment by the Ukwrei Fund, in which the Green Investment Bank is the cornerstone investor.
This deal demonstrates that with the strong team we have built to work alongside the project developers, attractive renewable energy infrastructure investment opportunities can be structured and delivered by Foresight attractive to both banks and other institutional investors necessary to complete projects of this scale.”
“We are making a serious commitment to the Northern Ireland energy market”, commented Ciaran and Stephen Devine, co-founders of Evermore. “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. This is the culmination of many years of hard work to develop and finance the largest green energy power station in Northern Ireland. Our ability to attract this level of investment into Northern Ireland is testament to our team’s commitment and skill in both project development and project financing. This now marks the start of the construction phase and with that the creation of over 200 much needed construction jobs in the North West”.