GIB, Foresight support anaerobic digestion facility in London

By U.K. Green Investment Bank | May 20, 2014

The U.K. Green Investment Bank recently announced a £7.5 million ($12.63 million) commitment in a new £15 million anaerobic digestion and green waste composting plant in Enfield, just outside London. The investment is being made by Foresight, one of GIB's fund managers.

The anaerobic digestion plant will be powered by 30,000 metric tons of food waste each year from the hotel, restaurant, retail trade and local food manufacturers, which would have otherwise been sent to landfill.

The composting facility will take garden waste from homes across London and the Northern Home Counties and turn it into compost. This, along with the digestate from the anaerobic digestion process, will be used as fertilizer by the farmers, on whose land the new facility will sit. This will save the farmers over £120,000 each year.

Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of the U.K. Green Investment Bank, said, "Today's announcement provides another demonstration of the attractiveness of anaerobic digestion infrastructure as an investment opportunity. The announcement of this new project follows the opening, last month, of London's first commercial-scale anaerobic digestion and composting facility which is now producing renewable energy and generating returns for its investors. We are seeing real momentum in the commercial deployment of this technology which, I hope, will see further growth in the year ahead.

"I congratulate Foresight on securing the investment to construct this new facility, which will not only save thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill, but also generate a revenue stream from a resource that would have otherwise been thrown away."

The facility will generate 7,400 MWh of renewable electricity each year, enough to power 1,750 homes.

It is anticipated to save approximately 21,000 metric tons of CO2 equivalent per year, equivalent to taking 9,500 cars off the road.

Construction is expected to begin in June 2014 and the plant is expected to be operational by Spring 2016. The project will create six full time, permanent jobs to support the on-going maintenance and operation of the plant.

The developer, D Williams & Co Limited, will be constructing the project on their own land at Cattlegate Farm. They currently run the 2,000 acre agricultural farm in Enfield which produces herbs as well as traditional arable operations.

The investment is being made via GIB's Foresight-managed fund, U.K. Waste Resources and Energy Investments, which is investing £7.5m alongside the Foresight Environmental Fund which is investing £7.5m on the same terms as UKWREI. FEF is cornerstoned by the European Investment Bank and the London Waste and Recycling Board through the London Green Fund alongside several institutional and private investors.

GIB announced last month that the first anaerobic digestion plant that it provided funding for, the TEG Biogas plant in Dagenham, has been completed on time and on budget and is now producing renewable energy. The project, also funded via Foresight, was London's first commercial scale anaerobic digestion plant. In 2013 GIB published a report on the growth opportunities for the UK's anaerobic digestion sector.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said, "The UK has the potential to become a world leader in this kind of technology and the Green Investment Bank (GIB) is playing its part.

"This new plant will mean less of our waste going to landfill, less reliance on fossil fuels for energy generation and provides compost for the farmers whose land it is built on. Through our industrial strategy we are working in partnership with business to give companies the confidence to invest, securing green jobs and a stronger economy."

Matthew Pencharz, the mayor of London's Senior Energy & Environment Adviser said, "This innovative facility is turning food and garden waste into two much needed resources - energy and cheap fertilizer. I want to see more of these dynamic initiatives mirrored across the city, which boost the environment and put the capital at the forefront of the waste and recycling sector. This truly demonstrates that investment in London's Cleantech Industries can deliver real savings, jobs and growth for London."

Nigel Aitchison, partner of Foresight Group said, "This project is a welcome addition to the growing waste to energy infrastructure that is supporting London in its ambition to become a world leader in waste and recycling.  Our team has been working extensively with the developer, technical advisers and other parties for over 18 months, so it is heartening to see that work come to fruition.  This is the second project where both the Foresight Environmental Fund and the U.K. Waste Renewable Energy Investments have invested alongside each other to provide the majority of the equity and the first where they have provided the full project capital needed."