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Stobart rolls with £110m bio deal

Merseyside CHP plant due online in 2016; GIB among lenders

Stobart rolls with £110m bio deal image

Stobart Energy has secured £110m in funding to build a 20MWe, 7.8MWth combined heat and power biomass plant at Widnes in the northwest of England.

Finance came from the UK Green Investment Bank and GCP Infrastructure Investors, among others, while Danish company Burmeister & Wain will build and operate the facility.

Full operations are schedule for December 2016 at what will be the largest waste wood plant in the region, requiring 146,000 tonnes of recovered materials annually to be supplied by Stobart.

Power will be exported to the grid while heat will be used by Stobart's adjacent wood drying facility. More than 200 jobs will be supported during construction and 20 full-time posts will be created once operational.

GIB funding totalled £16.9m in mezzanine loans with £13.2m in equity coming from the Foresight-managed UK Waste Resources & Energy Investments fund, in which GIB is a cornerstone investor.

GCP provided the remainder of the £42.1m mezzanine finance with other lenders including Investec bank and EKF. Stobart committed £9.8m in equity while B&W is putting up £2.6m.

Stobart Energy chief executive Richard Butcher said: “This agreement secures an attractive energy investment for the group and will contribute 24% of the growth we need to achieve our target of supplying 2m tonnes of fuel per annum into the UK biomass market by 2017-18. It also demonstrates the strength of our integrated infrastructure, energy and engineering capabilities."

GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury 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."

Image: processed wood ready to fuel biomass generation (RegenSW)

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