Gravis, Green Investment Bank in biomass deal

Both are lending to Northern Ireland’s biggest ever renewable project – an £81m wood-fuelled combined heat and power station.

The UK’s Green Investment Bank (UK) and London-listed debt fund Gravis Capital Partners (GCP) are helping to fund Northern Ireland’s largest renewables project – a 15.8-megawatt wood-fuelled combined heat and power station in Derry/Londonderry.

The GIB, via a fund managed by the Foresight Group, is lending £20 million (€23 million; $30 million) to the project – its first Northern Ireland investment – whereas GCP said in a statement it’s providing a £15.5 million, 19-year subordinated loan note with an average yield of 9.55 percent, payable half-yearly in arrears.

In addition to GIB and GCP, Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor – which will help build and run the plant – also co-invested in the project, with Investec Bank and Eksport Kredit Fonden helping to structure and finance the deal. Evermore Renewable Energy, a Northern Irish renewables firm, is the lead sponsor.

“Our mission is to crowd in private sector capital, so I’m especially pleased to see that every pound of GIB investment brought in more than £3 of private funding,” said Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive of the £3 billion GIB.

The Evermore Renewable Energy plant, which is expected to become operational during 2015, is expected to increase the amount of renewable electricity generated in Northern Ireland by circa 10 percent.

Over the project’s 20-year lifetime, it should generate enough renewable electricity to service more than 25,000 homes a year.