By DARA BUTTERFIELD
A syndicate of investors – including the Eddie Stobart haulage, logistics and infrastructure conglomerate – is to invest £110 million in the construction of a new UK waste-wood renewable energy plant.
Other investors include the Foresight Group, the Edinburgh-based Green Investment Bank, Investec Bank and and Gravis Infrastructure Investors – the only UK-listed infrastructure fund.
The Stobart Group sources – which processes and delivers biomass fuel (wood waste) to power plants for third parties under long-term contracts – plans to invest in minority stakes in other sustainable CHP and anaerobic digestion plants over the next two years
Revenue growth comes from the ongoing increase in tonnages supplied – which exceeded 900,000 tonnes in the year to February 2014.
Over its lifetime, the 2MWe combined heat and power plant will save around 1.3 milliion tonnes of C02 emissions and produce enough more for the needs of 35,000 homes. It will be powered by 146,000 tonnes of Grade B-C recovered wood each year, sourced by Stobart Biomass Products Ltd under a long-term fuel supply contract. The facility will be providing power to the grid and the heat offtake will be used by Stobart’s adjacent wood drying facility.
The project, which is expected to become operational by December 2016, will be amongst the largest power plants of its type in the UK, and will be built within the Mersey Multimodal Gateway project, a 180-hectare logistics hub west of Liverpool.
The plant is to be built and operated by Danish power plant specialist Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor and will create more than 200 construction jobs and 20 full time jobs once operational.
Shaun Kingsbury, Chief Executive, UK Green Investment Bank, said: “This project is a great example of how we can build the next generation of energy and waste management infrastructure in a way that is green, cost-effective and highly efficient.
“This type of innovative infrastructure adds to our domestic electricity generation and reduces our carbon emissions.
“What is particularly important is that these projects are replicable and scalable. The Widnes project has been brought together by the team that supported a similar project in Northern Ireland and I hope we will see many more.”