Bond issue to fund green energy plant at distillery

The UK government is to guarantee bonds totalling almost £50 million as part of a £74m funding package for a renewable energy project to power one of Scotland’s best-known distilleries.

Biomass plant will cut distillery energy costs. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) and infrastructure group John Laing will also together make an equity investment in the Speyside Biomass Power project at the Macallan whisky distillery in Moray.

It is the latest project to be supported by the UK government guarantees scheme, where Westminster acts as a loan guarantor to major infrastructure investments in the energy, transport, communications, waste and housing sectors.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant is set to create 123 jobs, with 100 people employed in the construction of the plant while the scheme will also provide 23 permanent jobs.

Lord Smith of Kelvin, chairman of the GIB, said the project was a “great example of the wide ranging benefits of renewable energy”.

“This will be a significant investment in Scotland’s rural economy, creating modern, green infrastructure that will benefit local people as well as the environment,” he said.

The Speyside project is being developed by Estover Energy, an Edinburgh and London based firm specialising in developing biomass CHP projects.

The plant will be fuelled with sustainable forestry by-product sourced from the local area, one of the UK’s most productive forestry areas.

A consortium of local growers and forest industry suppliers including Stobart Biomass Products and UPM Tilhill will supply the plant.

The facility will contribute to reducing the cost of energy at the Macallan distillery by providing around 90 per cent of all of the steam needed in the distillation process.

Chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said the £48.5m UK government backing meant more than £1 billion of infrastructure projects had now been brought forward as a result of the UK guarantees scheme aimed at supporting major projects.