Stobart announces strategic partnership, CHP project

By Erin Voegele | December 05, 2014

U.K.-based biomass supplier Stobart Energy has entered into a strategic partnership with Imperative Energy Ltd., a provider of biomass energy solutions. The board of Stobart Group Ltd. also recently announced financial close on a combined-heat-and-power (CHP) biomass plant at its site in Widnes, England.

In a statement announcement the partnership, Stobart indicated Imperative Energy was founded in 2007. Since that time, Imperative Energy has completed 80 biomass installations with a combined capacity of more than 45 MW. An additional 10 projects are currently under development.

"We are delighted to forge this tighter relationship with Imperative Energy, one of the leading providers of biomass energy solutions in Ireland and the U.K.,” said Richard Butcher, CEO of Stobart Energy. “The companies already have a close working relationship and we are attracted by the high quality nature of Imperative's installations to which we currently supply biomass fuel. Combining Imperative's high quality boilers and installation work with Stobart Energy's proven biomass supply abilities, this partnership can offer an appropriate solution for all end users needing a biomass energy supply." As part of the agreement, Butcher has joined the board of Imperative Energy Holdings (UK) Ltd., effective immediately.

"At Imperative Energy, we offer our customers a range of renewable energy solutions from turnkey provision of biomass heating and CHP to taking on the role of project developer where we design, finance, build and operate large scale biomass projects,” said Joe O’Carroll, CEO of Imperative Energy. “Our installations are in place across the Government, healthcare, hospitality and processing (food and manufacturing) sectors, including a district heating system for all Irish State buildings between Kildare Street and Merrion Street in Dublin, Lancaster University, Southmead Hospital, Arden Lea Nurseries and Adelphi Distillery."

Regarding the CHP project in Widnes, Stobart indicated the £110 million ($172.70 million) project will have the capacity to generate 20.2 MW of electricity and 7.8 MW of thermal energy. In conjunction with the project, Stobart Group has signed a 16-year index-linked fuel supply agreement.

The CHP plant is expected to begin operations in December 2016. Stobart Energy will supply 146,000 metric tons per year of recycled waste wood to the plant over 16 years, and will operate an adjacent wood drying facility that utilizes heat from the CHP plant. According to Stobart, the drying facility will have the capacity to dry 140,000 metric tons of virgin wood material per year, producing 90,000 metric tons per year of material for sale into the small-scale market.

Information released by Stobart indicates the company will make an equity investment of £7.5 million for a 40 percent interest in the CHP plant’s holding company, Mersey Bioenergy Ltd. The Green Investment Bank will provide 49 percent of the equity through its Foresight-managed fund. Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S, the project’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor, will have an 11 percent stake.