£10m wood pellet roll-out for Green Investment Bank

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MORE than 60 wood pellet-burning biomass boilers are to be installed in leisure centres, schools and other community facilities following a £10 million injection involving the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB).

The scheme’s backers hope that the project will demonstrate to businesses that they can cut both their energy bills and their greenhouse gas emissions by switching to biomass boilers.

Woodpecker Energy, which is based in Somerset but makes its boilers in Northern Ireland, has secured £4.1m from Energy Saving Investments (ESI), a fund managed by Equitix.

The GIB – which has bases in Edinburgh and London – pumped £50m into Equitix’s ESI fund in August, with private sector investors stumping up match funding.

Another of investment manager Equitix’s vehicles, the Energy Efficiency Fund, will contribute a further £5.1m to the Woodpecker project, which will be managed by energy services firm Roundwood.

GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said: “Today’s announcement will provide a low-cost and straightforward way for a range of organisations like schools, leisure centres and businesses to switch their old, inefficient and high-emission boilers for energy -efficient biomass ones – saving energy, cutting emissions and saving them money.”

Equitix chief executive Geoff Jackson added: “Starting this programme demonstrates the viability of these projects to commercial customers who wish to achieve energy savings and a reduction in carbon emissions.

“The growing pipeline of similar projects makes this an attractive sector for our investors.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable launched the GIB with £3 billion of taxpayers’ cash to stimulate investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency.