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Green Bank funds new power plant

A new £81 million renewable energy power plant in Northern Ireland which could supply 25,000 homes will be the largest of its kind.

Two million tonnes of wood will be burned at the Londonderry site in a massive boost for the green economy, investors said.

The Evermore 15-megawatt combined heat and power plant is expected to begin operating in 2015 and will increase the amount of sustainable electricity generated in Northern Ireland by approximately a tenth. It is the first deal done in Northern Ireland by the UK's Green Investment Bank, which is providing £20 million.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "The first deal done in Northern Ireland is a landmark moment for the UK Green Investment Bank and I'm confident that there will be more to come."

He added that the investment will have a significant impact, reducing carbon emissions and diverting wood from landfill while creating jobs and building a stronger economy.

Shaun Kingsbury, chief executive at the bank, said: "This announcement will substantially increase Northern Ireland's renewable energy capacity.

"Not only will the project save the same amount of carbon as taking around 77,000 cars off the road, it will also make use of over two million tonnes of wood, a valuable energy resource that would otherwise have gone to landfill."

Northern Ireland is striving to reach stringent renewable energy standards laid down by Europe. By 2020 a fifth of supplies have to come from green sources.

The Stormont administration has pledged a range of incentives including payments for businesses and homes using sources like solar, wind or woodburning biomass.

The wood-fuelled plant is to be built on a 10-acre site at the Londonderry Port and Harbour Commissioners land at Lisahally, developers said. The flagship biomass unit is the first of its kind on the island of Ireland and also the first project to be developed and funded by Evermore, established by directors Ciaran and Stephen Devine.

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