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UK govt, green bank to invest in 74 mln stg Scottish renewables plant
August 18, 2014 / 12:40 PM / 3 years ago

UK govt, green bank to invest in 74 mln stg Scottish renewables plant

* UK to raise money for project from bond issuance

* Heat generated will be sold to Macallan whisky distillery

* Investment comes one month before Scottish independence vote

* Several distilleries looking at biomass for energy

By Nina Chestney

LONDON, Aug 18 (Reuters) - Britain’s government and the Green Investment Bank plan to invest in a new renewable energy plant in Scotland, which will help power a well-known whisky distillery.

The project will cost a total of 74 million pounds ($124 million). The UK Treasury will raise up to 48 million pounds from a bond issue, while the Green Investment Bank and asset manager John Laing will each invest around 13 million pounds.

The contributions from the bank and John Laing depend on the successful conclusion of the bond process, the Treasury said in a statement.

The Green Investment Bank was created in 2012 by the government to back green energy projects in Britain and to spur private sector investment in the low-carbon energy sector.

The combined heat and power plant in Moray, Scotland, will use biomass to generate around 87 gigawatt hours (GWh) per year of renewable electricity, which is enough to power more than 20,000 homes.

The plant will also produce nearly 77 GWh per year of heat, which will be sold to the nearby Macallan distillery to use in its processes to make Scotch whisky.

Macallan is one of the world’s largest-selling single malt whiskies and is owned by the Edrington Group.

The project, which is being developed by Estover Energy, is expected to be operational in 2016. The biomass used in the plant will be by-products from the local forestry industry.

Scotch whisky distillers are increasingly burning their unwanted grain byproducts, wood chips and other types of biomass for a source of energy in remote parts of the Scottish Highlands, where gas links are scarce and fuel oil is pricey.

Whisky is big business for Scotland, and Britain as a whole.

Data from the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) showed that exports of whisky last year were around 4.3 billion pounds, representing around 85 percent of Scottish food and drink exports and nearly a quarter of the British total.

Scotland votes on independence on Sept. 18 and many businesses have expressed concerns about what currency would be used in an independent Scotland. Financial regulation, taxation, and EU membership are also hot topics. (1 US dollar = 0.5979 British pound) (Editing by Keiron Henderson)

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