Plans for a new £138m green energy plant in Northumbetland have been given a further boost with a £48m investment.
Estover Energy was granted planning approval last year to develop a Biomass Combined Heat and Power (CHP) Plant at the Windmill Industrial Estate in Cramlington, which will use low-grade wood from the north east to provide renewable steam and electricity to the industrial complex, as well as generating green electricity for the National Grid.
In January the firm announced it was increasing its investment in the scheme, and now UK Green Investment Bank plc and John Laing Group plc have committed £48m to the plant.
The facility will provide enough electricity for 52,000 homes, and boost the pharmacuetical industry in the area.
GIB will make a £21m investment in the project, with JLG investing in a stake worth £27m. Barclays will provide the remainder of the funding as debt, 60 per cent of which will be guaranteed by the Danish export credit agency EKF.
The construction of the plant will be undertaken by a consortium of Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractors A/S (BWSC), and up to 25 permanent positions will be maintained at the operational facility, with further jobs created within the project supply chain.
Ed Northam, head of investment banking at the UK Green Investment Bank, said: “The Cramlington plant promises to create local jobs, support an industry whose vitality is essential to the growth of the regional economy and help cut UK greenhouse gas emissions while promoting the country’s adoption of green energy sources.”
Ross McArthur, managing director of Renewable Energy at John Laing Group plc, added: “Our investment in Cramlington biomass CHP plant builds on the success of our partnership with Estover and GIB established on Speyside Renewable Energy plant.
“This exciting new project demonstrated the valuable contribution biomass can make to delivering renewable heat in the UK.
“Cramlington adds further depth to John Laing Group’s growing portfolio of renewable energy assets in the UK and internationally.”
And Estover Energy’s founder, Marcus Whately, said the investment was fantastif news for the north east.
“It means more jobs in forestry, and a secure energy supply for industry. Twice the size of our first plant in Scotland, it shows Estover is becoming a real force in these long-term energy and infrastructure projects,” he said.