Thursday, March 12, 2015

News: £150m from Danish investors fuels Rotherham biomass development

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Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners has acquired 100% of the Brite Partnerhsip's biomass-fired power plant project in Rotherham, enabling contractors to be confirmed for the construction and operation.

The Brite Partnership secured planning permission in 2010 for a biomass development at the Firth Rixson Ickles Works at Templeborough where land and disused buildings where purchased in March 2011. The plant will generate heat and power from carbon-neutral renewable wood pellet fuel.

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) is a management company specialising in infrastructure investments and mergers & acquisitions. The Rotherham deal has been concluded on behalf of the Copenhagen Infrastructure II fund, an investment amounting to DKK 1.6 bn (£150m).

Christian T. Skakkebæk, senior partner at Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, said: "The Brite project is an attractive investment opportunity for CIP in a country with a well-established and stable regulatory regime. It fits very well with our strategy of developing projects benefitting from long-term contracts with strong industrial partners in order to deliver stable returns for our investors."

A joint venture between Interserve, the international support services and construction group, and Babcock & Wilcox Vølund has been awarded the contracts to work on the project.

Following a financial review of the project, the plans for wood pellet manufacturing capability has been increased from 200,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) to 350,000 tpa as a result of increased demand from potential customers in the coal-fired power generation sector. Plans for a liquid biomass combined heat and power (CHP) plant were removed as they are no longer financially viable so the capacity of the planned biomass CHP plant on the site has been increased.

Burning recycled waste wood will produce steam used to generate about 44.1MWe, the majority of which will feed into the National Grid. The output is greater than E-On's 30MWe plant at nearby Blackburn Meadows.

Timber pre-treatment activities will be undertaken on land on the Shenker rail sidings site with a conveyor system set to take the wood pellets over Sheffield Road to the CHP plant on the Firth Rixson site.

The timber debarking and chipping plant on the Shenker site will require 40 full-time staff, in addition to the further 100 required on the Firth Rixson site.

Babcock & Wilcox Vølund A/S, the Danish subsidiary of the giant US Babcock & Wilcox Company, will design, manufacture and operate the biomass power plant. Interserve will construct the plant. Stobbart Group previously announced that it has signed a major contract that will see them supply and transport 5.2 million tonnes of waste wood to the Templeborough plant over the 20 year contract, which starts in 2017.

Paul Scavuzzo, senior vice president and general manager, Global Power Division at Babcock & Wilcox, said: "We greatly appreciate the confidence Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners has shown in B&W and this consortium and look forward to executing this project.

"The market for biomass power and waste-to-energy technologies in Europe continues to be strong, and B&W is well-positioned to meet the demand for reliable, clean energy solutions."

Andy Jarman, commercial director at Interserve, added: "The waste sector is a key growth area for Interserve. We recognise that projects of this type are highly technical and challenging, requiring key expertise to construct, operate and maintain. This is why we have formed a strategic partnership with Babcock & Wilcox Vølund who will operate and maintain the Brite plant from 2017."

The Brite Partnership was formed with the sole purpose of developing projects for the production of green energy, and operating them as a viable and sustainable business. With Rotherham as its first project, it expects to expand in the coming years with similar projects throughout the country.

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners website
Interserve website
Babcock & Wilson website

Images: CIP

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