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GIB and Equitix commit £10m to expansion of Wick district heating scheme

4th March 2016

• UK Green Investment Bank and Equitix commit £10m to the acquisition and expansion of Wick renewable energy plant and district heating network.

• The scheme will undergo a major upgrade with the aim of connecting it to 150 new customers.

• The expansion of the project will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an additional 3,000 tonnes of CO2 per year

UK Green Investment Bank plc (GIB) and Equitix have today announced the £10m acquisition of Ignis Biomass Limited, the owner and operator of a 3.5 MW combined heat and power (CHP) plant and associated district heating scheme in the north of Scotland.

The network, located in Wick in Caithness, currently provides heat and power to the Pulteney Distillery and heat to local customers including Caithness General Hospital, Wick Assembly Rooms, residences owned by Cairn Housing Association and approximately 200 other domestic residences.

Plans are in place to upgrade the heating infrastructure at the plant and expand the district heating system with the aim of reaching an additional 150 customers by March 2017.

Plans are also in place for the implementation of at least four new smaller-scale stand-alone CHP systems for major heat users in and around Wick, typically in the care home sector, for whom connection to the existing network is not viable.

Due to Wick's location in the far north of Scotland, heat is predominantly generated by heating oil or liquid petroleum gas (LPG) or via a local gas grid fuelled by liquefied natural gas tankered in by road.

The district heating network supplies heat from a biomass-fuelled plant direct to customers through a network of pipes, providing significant cost savings and environmental benefits.

By replacing oil and gas heating through the district heating network and generating renewable electricity from the CHP, the project will save an additional 3,000 tonnes CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) each year. This is the equivalent of removing 1,300 cars from the road for the life of the project.

The Equitix-managed fund Energy Savings Investments (ESI), in which GIB is a cornerstone investor, has committed £4.9m to the project. An additional £5.1m of private capital has been mobilised from the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF).

Regen Limited, which has acted as project manager to the network for the past four years, is contracted under a Project Development Agreement to help develop the project. Stirling-based facilities manager FES FM Ltd has been appointed to oversee the operations and maintenance of the network.

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