Infrastructure fund invests €18m in Derry green energy plant
Facility will be largest of its kind in Ireland
Ciaran and Stephen Devine, who established Evermore Group four years ago, have announced funding for an £80m biomass power plant for the Port of Derry. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Presseye.com/PA Wire
A Smith & Williamson-backed fund is investing close to €18 million in a biomass power plant that will be one of the largest projects of its kind in Ireland.
GCP Infrastructure Investments is loaning £15.5 million (€17.9 million) to the Evermore Renewable Energy plant that is planned for a 10- acre site in Derry’s port.
Belfast-based Evermore Renewable Energy is building the wood-burning facility at a total cost of £81 million. The plant will produce 15 megawatts of electricity, which its developers say will be enough to supply 25,000 homes.
The facility will be the largest of its type in Ireland and will burn 110,000 tonnes of wood a year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 3.7 million tonnes a-year.
GCP is investing in the project alongside the Green Investment Bank, a specialist lending institution established by the British government with £2 billion in seed capital to provide finance such projects.
According to GCP, the bank is investing alongside the fund on a matched basis, meaning that both are providing the same amount of cash to the project. The fund is loaning the cash to the Derry project for 19 years and expects a yield of 9.55 per cent.
Investors in green energy projects benefit from guaranteed prices paid to such generators for the electricity that they are produce, which are designed to promote the development of renewable power.
GCP is listed on the London Stock Exchange. One of its backers is Smith & Williamson, which has been offering clients here the chance to invest in infrastructure-linked funds through its Dublin office.
The fund specialises in infrastructure and on June28th had advanced a loans valued at £288 million to 25 different projects.
According to Smith & Williamson, infrastructure investments are popular with clients as they offer some protection against inflation and help to reduce exposure to more volatile investments.