A Northern Ireland manufacturer of wood pellets has helped a Scottish whisky distillery install a steam-generating biomass boiler.
Balcas in Co Fermanagh joined up with Energy Savings Investments – a fund managed by infrastructure company Equitix – to fund the project at Tomatin Distillery near Inverness in Scotland.
The parties were advised by business advisors BDO in Belfast.
Energy Savings Investments is made up of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) and the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF).
The bank – which is today expected to announce its first investment in Northern Ireland – contributed around £600,000 of the total £1.2m in funding.
The new boiler is set to replace 80% of the heat usually generated by the oil-fired boiler, which the bank said would cut the distillery's carbon dioxide emissions.
Barry-John Kelly, corporate finance director at BDO, said: "BDO is delighted to have worked with Balcas in raising the finance for the first of many biomass boiler installations.
"We see a great opportunity over the coming years for investment in biomass and other similar renewable technologies."
Brian Murphy, finance director of Balcas, which employs around 400 people, welcomed the partnership with Tomatin.
"Balcas finds itself uniquely placed to be able to offer industrial heat users a complete energy solution – a fully funded alternative to fossil fuelled heat that not only creates major carbon savings, but also offers financial savings."
GIB chief executive Shaun Kingsbury said the Tomatin deal marked its first investment in Scotland. He said: "As well as significant emission reductions, the project will provide a boost to the local economy.
"We have a strong pipeline of investments in Scotland and hope to be able to announce further investments in Scottish distilleries, as well as other projects, soon."
UK Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "By funding a new biomass boiler, we are helping Tomatin to become more energy efficient and hi-tech. This money will help secure local jobs and support the supply chain."
Geoff Jackson, chief executive of Equitix, said: "This is the second deal that Equitix has closed in which GIB has invested with the Equitix Energy Efficiency Fund as the private sector co-investor.
"We are pleased to be able to add a positive economic and environmental impact to Inverness. Equitix continue to source high-quality opportunities for investment and expect to deploy further capital in this region in the future."