INVESTORS INCLUDING The Duchy of Cornwall, Sainsburys and Islamic investment firm Fajr Capital have stumped up £65m to back a network of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants.
The money will be used to form a game-changing start-up company, Tamar Energy, which will focus on producing energy from organic waste matter. The plan is to develop a UK network of over 40 AD plants to generate 100MW of green electricity over the next five years.
The size of the initiative will open up the AD market allowing more food businesses to divert their waste from landfill. The UK currently has just 1% of the number of AD plants in Germany, and the investors identified a significant opportunity for AD to play an increased role in the UK's under-developed Green Energy market.
Tamar Energy and its shareholders aim to lead the development of this industry in the UK, simultaneously dealing with handling of waste and green energy generation.
The project brings together UK and international blue chip partners. It will be led by RIT Capital Partners plc and Fajr Capital, alongside the Duchy of Cornwall, Lord Rothschild's Family Interests, Sustainable Technology Investments, Low Carbon Limited, the management team of Tamar Energy and other private investors.
As well as investing in the project, Sainsbury's is also the strategic partner, providing its expertise and experience as the UK's leading retail user of AD.
Alan Lovell, chairman of Tamar Energy said: "The underdevelopment of AD in the UK is principally driven by a historical lack of financing for the sector. Tamar Energy will be well capitalised by investors, with a pure focus on producing energy from organic waste, rather than as an adjunct to a waste management business. This is a game changing investment.
The project was endorsed by the Government today. Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: "Getting new investors to come into the clean energy market is one of my priorities. The consortium behind Tamar is a prime example of this, combining familiar high street names with big international investors. Energy from waste has the potential to make a substantial contribution to our renewable energy targets and so I look forward to seeing Tamar's plans come to fruition."
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman added: "I want the UK to show leadership in anaerobic digestion and this new partnership will set us on that course.