UK Green Investment Bank announces £11m investment in Welsh renewable energy plant

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 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.