Welsh renewable energy company Eco2 sells 38-MW straw-powered Sleaford, Lincolnshire, biomass plant in £170M deal, but will manage construction, operations; building to take 30 months, with first straw deliveries to be made by end of 2013

CARDIFF, Wales , December 14, 2011 (press release) – Welsh renewable energy company - Eco2 Ltd - has announced the sale of its 38MW straw-powered biomass plant in Sleaford, Lincolnshire to specialist investment fund BNP Paribas Clean Energy Fund in a landmark £170m deal.

Eco2 obtained planning permission for the project in 2008. Following the sale, Eco2 will manage its construction and subsequent operation and has already commenced some of the initial off site works.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said “Eco2 is a great example of a Welsh company competing at a global level and beyond the borders of Wales. This an exciting project that will produce renewable energy and I wish it every success.”

Speaking of the announcement Chief Executive of Eco2, David Williams, said “Biomass is set to provide around half of all of the renewable energy required if Europe is to meet its targets. We are extremely pleased that interest in the sector is growing and that we have been able to achieve such a landmark deal for the good of the industry. Eco2 has nine more projects like this in its portfolio."

The Sleaford plant will use around 230,000 tonnes of indigenous straw as a fuel and will generate enough electricity to meet the needs of 65,000 homes and it will also provide renewable heat, using a District Heating system, to a number of public buildings in Sleaford.

The straw is sourced through contracts with local farmers providing a reliable additional income for the local agricultural community. The inert ash produced by the project still contains valuable nutrients and will be recycled back to the land as a fertiliser.

Mr Williams added, “Each year this project will inject around £10million into the local economy from its fuel supply contracts and it will also create new jobs for the area during construction and operation.”

The total programme for the building of the Sleaford plant will take 30 months and Eco2 expects the first deliveries of straw to be made towards the end of 2013.

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