Tomatin Distillery toasts funding for biomass plant

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A BIOMASS plant at a distillery near Inverness has become the first project in Scotland to win funding from the Green Investment Bank (GIB).

Tomatin Distillery, owned by Japanese spirits group Takara Shuzo, will finance the wood-chip fuelled biomass boiler with £576,733 from the Energy Saving Investments (ESI) fund in which the GIB is a “cornerstone” investor, while a further £600,274 will come from the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF).

Both tranches are administered by Equitix, a London-based fund manager which won a mandate from GIB to manage £50m, focusing on non-domestic energy efficiency projects where funds are matched by private investors.

Balca, a Norther Irish manufacturer of wood pellets, will produce the fuel pellets from sustainably managed forests at their plant at Invergordon.

The green boiler is expected to cut more than 96,500 tonnes of CO2 emissions over a 20-year span, and will also save the distillery “a significant amount” on energy bills.

GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said: “We have a strong pipeline of investments in Scotland and hope to be able to announce further investments in distilleries, as well as other projects, very soon.”

Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Moore hailed the deal as a “landmark moment” for the GIB. He said: “It demonstrates that combining Scotland’s expertise in the financial and green sectors with a strong transaction team in London, can deliver significant benefits for businesses and local communities across Scotland.”