Green Investment Group buys share of £210m energy-from-waste plant

An Edinburgh-based green energy investor has secured a stake in a £210 million facility that will convert 216,000 tonnes of Scottish waste into green energy each year.

Green Investment Group (GIG), together with energy-from-waste owner and operator Covanta Energy, has completed the acquisition of a 50 per cent stake in the Earls Gate Energy Centre (EGEC) in Grangemouth.

A combined heat and power project, EGEC will covert 216,000 tonnes of waste, the equivalent of around 20 per cent of Scotland’s total landfilled household waste, into energy, producing 79 gigawatt hours (GWh) of green electricity and 81GWh of heat in the form of steam each year.

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Edinburgh-based Brockwell Energy owns the remaining 50 per cent stake in the project, which has a total value of approximately £210m.

The Grangemouth plant will convert the equivalent of around 20 per cent of Scotlands total landfilled household waste into energy. Picture: Contributed
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EGEC will become a source of green, low-cost energy for businesses located at Earls Road, such as chemical manufacturer and site service provider CalaChem, which has entered into a long-term energy supply agreement for the offtake of electricity and steam produced by EGEC.

This is expected to reduce CalaChem’s annual carbon consumption by the same amount as taking 17,000 cars off the road for a year. The remaining electricity will be exported to the grid.

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EGEC marks the first investment in Scotland by GIG, formerly Green Investment Bank, since the company’s privatisation by Macquarie Group last year.

Construction on the site is due to start in 2019 and it is expected to be operational by late 2021, creating up to 500 jobs during construction.

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Edward Northam, head of GIG Europe, said: “For the first time ever, 2017 saw Scotland recycle more waste than it sent to landfill. This is a fantastic achievement, but there remains a lack of capacity in Scotland’s waste management system to unlock the value to businesses and households from converting residual waste into low-carbon energy. The Earls Gate facility will play a major role in changing that.

“Earls Gate is our 19th investment in Scotland to date, and we’re delighted it will help secure a reliable, low-cost, green heat and power supply for local industry, further supporting the decarbonisation of the Scottish economy.”

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The facility is expected to make a significant contribution to the local authority’s ability to achieve Scotland’s biodegradable municipal waste landfill ban, which is due to come into effect from January 2021.

Previous GIG projects to support Scotland’s decarbonisation include an energy-from-waste plant in Millerhill, Edinburgh, and a heat and power plant in Craigellachie, Moray.

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Matthew Mulcahy, Covanta’s executive vice president and head of corporate development, said: “The project is well-structured with long-term contracts on both waste and energy and will provide critical sustainable waste disposal capacity in Scotland.”