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Bioenergy Infrastructure Group establishes one of the UK’s largest biomass and waste to energy portfolios

In the United Kingdom (UK), Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG) has established one of the country's largest portfolios of biomass, biogas, and waste-to-energy (WTE) assets following a transaction with Green Investment Bank (GIB). Acquiring 20 assets for an undisclosed amount from GIB, BIG has made a substantial addition to its renewable energy and waste management portfolio.

Birmingham BioPower, a 9 MWe biomass power plant that uses around 60 000 tonnes per annum of wood waste (photo courtesy (BIG).
Birmingham BioPower, a 9 MWe biomass power plant that uses around 60 000 tonnes per annum of wood waste is one of 20 assets Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG) has acquired from the Green Investment Bank (photo courtesy (BIG).

With the transaction, the value of which has not been disclosed, Bioenergy Infrastructure Group (BIG), a specialist investor in the biomass and waste to energy (WtE) sector, makes a substantial addition to its portfolio with 20 assets from the Green Investment Bank (GIB).

The assets included in the transaction are four biomass and waste to energy facilities, 15 anaerobic digestion (AD) plants, and a materials recovery facility, with a combined generating capacity of more than 70 MWe.

Rising demand for electricity from industry and consumers and the need to treat waste in an environmentally sustainable manner reinforces the importance of investing in biomass and WtE technologies. Over the long term, these facilities will be vital to lighting and heating homes, treating waste, and supporting near-future innovations, such as driverless and electric cars, said Hamish McPherson, CEO of BIG.

Important milestone

The transaction is an important milestone in BIG’s ambition to more than double its assets over the next five years, strengthening its role as a market leader with the scale, asset diversification and strategy to build a long term sustainable business.

The facilities added to BIG’s portfolio through today’s transaction range in scale from 200 kW to 20 MW – and are dispersed around the UK, with twelve sites in Northern Ireland, seven in England and one in Scotland. The transaction will have a significant impact on ramping up BIG’s power production capacity to more than 115 MWe. The largest site is the Mersey Bioenergy facility in Widnes, near Liverpool, a 20 MW biomass waste-wood plant.

BIG’s aim is to support the future development of the UK’s biomass and WtE capacities – and therefore enable these technologies to make a growing contribution to the UK’s low carbon, electricity-intensive economy. And by investing in and supporting a network of efficient, technologically advanced biomass and WtE facilities, we can positively impact regional economic growth and job creation in the process, said Hamish McPherson.

BIG’s transaction with the Green Investment Bank builds upon its current portfolio including the 21.5 MWe Ince BioPower facility in Cheshire and the 24 MWe Energy Works facility in Hull. Both plants are expected to be operational in 2018.

Additional investments planned

With over 115 MW of operational and late-stage construction assets and a further 200 MW in the pipeline, BIG is on course to make a significant contribution to the development of the UK’s low-carbon economy, by diverting over 1 million tonnes of waste from landfill.

BIG expects to make additional investments over the course of the next two years and is opportunistically considering various sites in different stages of the project lifecycle across the UK. Future investment will be supported by a comprehensive capital raising programme, drawing on the support of both existing and new shareholders.

Biomass and WtE are two bioenergy asset classes capable of achieving the scale necessary to make a meaningful reduction in UK carbon emissions. BIG is constantly looking for opportunities to grow its portfolio and increase its activity in the market to support its ambitions to develop a long term sustainable business. The incorporation of these assets into BIG’s portfolio is a positive step, and ensures continuity for the companies in the portfolio and their counterparties, said James Samworth, CIO of BIG.

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