Green Investment Bank funds bioenergy projects

By Erin Voegele | March 21, 2014

The U.K. Green Investment Bank has announced its support for several bioenergy projects in recent weeks, including investments in a waste-fueled power plant and a project to install biomass-fired boilers.

On March 19, GIB committed to a £51 million ($84.17 million) investment in a proposed waste-to-energy plant in Kings Lynn, Norfolk. The new facility, known as the Willows Power & Recycling Center, will process 170,000 metric tons household waste and 100,000 metric tons of commercial and industrial waste annually. The project is expected to generate approximately 170 GWh of electricity per year, enough to power 40,000 homes.

Earlier in the month, GIB and Equitix announced a £24.5 million investment to finance the installation of renewable energy boilers at Bernard Matthews’ turkey farms. As part of the project, 179 new biomass boilers will be installed at 21 farms across the U.K. According to information released by GIB, the project was conceived, designed and managed by renewable energy developer Lumicity.

In addition to reducing costs and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the new biomass boilers are also expected to provide benefits associated with improved heat circulation, including reduced ammonia levels, reduced ventilation requirements and increased litter quality.

"Sustainability is central to our long term business strategy. We're already generating a large proportion of our energy needs from other renewable sources including solar and wind and with the addition of biomass boilers on our farms, we're well placed to be generating 100 per cent of our energy sustainably by 2016,” said David Joll, executive chairman of Bernard Matthews.

In late February, GIB announced it is joining forces with Societe Generale Equipment Finance to provide £50 million to support energy efficiency projects. The initiative could provide funding to a wide variety of projects, including combined-heat-and-power (CHP) plants, boilers, building retrofits, and lighting and energy technologies.

A biomass project at Rampton Hospital is the first to benefit from the initiative. The GIB-SGEF partnership will provide £5 million to finance the installation of a CHP plant, dual fuel boilers, biomass boilers and an effluent treatment plant.