Renewable Energy Generation to Expand UK Waste-fired Bioenergy Plan

Renewable Energy Generation Ltd., a British low-carbon asset developer backed by BlackRock Inc., will build six waste-to-power plants with Caterpillar Inc. and Finning U.K. Ltd. in an expansion of plans published last month.

REG is already building the first 18-megawatt station after announcing the development Jan. 27, according to Chief Executive Officer Andrew Whalley. It has now agreed to build five more facilities as “mirror images” of the first, with a combined capacity of about 100 megawatts, he said by telephone.

The plants will produce power from waste cooking oil. REG is expanding as the U.K. promotes low-carbon generation to meet demand while curbing emissions. Britain plans to get 15 percent of its energy from clean sources by the end of the decade, with almost a third of that potentially coming from bio-energy.

REG’s first plant in the program — in Yorkshire, northeast England — will cost about 6.3 million pounds ($10.3 million), Whalley said, without disclosing the sites of the remaining five. Total investment in the fleet, scheduled for completion by March 2017, will be about 36 million pounds to 40 million pounds, he said.

Bio-energy may become a “sizeable” part of the company’s business, Whalley said. “It could be anywhere between 25 percent and 33 percent of our total earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization by March 2017.”

REG, based in Guildford, southern England, said in October that it may invest 300 million pounds in bio-energy, onshore wind and solar power over the next three to four years. BlackRock agreed in January 2013 to buy two REG wind plants as part of a longer-term partnership.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg

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