Construction begins on pioneering £25m Green Energy centre in Scotland
~ Milestone marks Amber Infrastructure’s fifth investment through the SPRUCE Fund ~
Amber Infrastructure Ltd (“Amber”), the leading sponsor and manager of social and economic infrastructure projects, is pleased to note the official start of construction on a £25 million green energy centre at Guardbridge in Fife, a project being developed by St. Andrews University which is part-financed by Amber’s Scottish Partnership for Regeneration in Urban Centres fund (“SPRUCE”).
The site of the state-of-the-art biomass facility was today handed over to the construction team to start work by Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy, John Swinney MSP. Using only wood from sustainable local sources, the Centre will be built on the site of a former paper mill at Guardbridge and will distribute hot water from the plant to heat and cool laboratories and student residences four miles away in St Andrews.
The Centre will help to regenerate north east Fife by creating more than 225 jobs in the construction phase alone. The University has developed the Guardbridge Guarantee as part of the project. This ensures that the project supports apprenticeship and graduate training, creating and sustaining jobs while working with the local community to promote environmental responsibility, development of energy infrastructure and local business.
As the only lender in the project, SPRUCE – the Amber-managed fund which offers loans to regeneration and energy efficiency projects in 13 local authority areas in Scotland – is providing the 9-year loan facility to the University. SPRUCE is one of three Amber-managed Joint European Support for Sustainable in City Areas (JESSICA) funds, making Amber the European market leader in investing JESSICA public funds for a financial and socio-economic return. The £48 million fund, which uses capital from the European Regional Development Fund and Scottish Government, has now deployed in excess of £40 million in a wide range of regional projects from infrastructure to development of office and commercial space. The project is the Fund’s fifth investment to date and the Fund is on track to be fully deployed by the end of December 2015.
Visiting the construction site, Mr. Swinney said: “I am delighted to be in Guardbridge today as work begins on this innovative and ambitious project. By committing to the Guarantee, the University is ensuring that Guardbridge and the wider area will not only benefit immediately from the substantial number of new jobs and apprenticeships, but the surrounding communities will also continue to profit from the expected regeneration outcomes for years to come. At the same time, the project will deliver significant carbon savings, as well as financial savings to the University.
“The Scottish Government is using all the levers at its disposal, including through European Funding initiatives, to help regenerate areas and maximise employment opportunities that help achieve sustainable economic growth.”
The green energy centre is a key part of the University’s drive to become the UK’s first carbon-neutral university for energy. University of St Andrews Chief Operating Officer, Derek Watson said: “This is an exciting day for the green energy centre, for the University and for the local community. After years of planning and consultation we are now seeing this project get under way.
“The start of construction work at Guardbridge represents a major strategic step for the University. We are committed to becoming carbon neutral for energy and this large industrial site lends itself to the creation of a range of renewable energies which are vital to our efforts to remain one of Europe’s leading research institutions. With the biomass at its heart, we believe the diverse range of potential uses at Guardbridge has the capacity to re-establish this huge site as a key economic centre in Fife.”
Cameron Cook, Head of Origination for Amber Infrastructure in Scotland, said: “The Guardbridge project is a ground breaking initiative that will deliver significant economic activity within the area and substantial environmental benefits in the form of carbon dioxide savings. Amber is delighted to be participating in the project, realising ambitions to help social, economic and green infrastructure in Scotland.”
For further information:
Amber Infrastructure Limited
Cameron Cook +44 (0)131 200 6028
Erica Sibree +44 (0)20 7939 0558
Ed Berry / Mitch Barltrop +44 (0)20 3727 1046 / 1039
Amber Infrastructure Group (Amber) is a leading international infrastructure specialist, providing asset management and investment advisory services in respect of over £5 billion of assets in the UK, Europe, Australia and North America. Amber’s core business focuses on sourcing, developing, advising on, investing in and managing infrastructure assets within the utilities, PPP, transport, renewable energy and regeneration sectors.
Amber provides investment advisory services to International Public Partnerships Limited as well as private investment funds, specialising in urban regeneration and energy efficiency. Amber is headquartered in London with offices in Edinburgh, Munich, Sydney, Melbourne and San Francisco and employs over 80 people, making it one of the largest international infrastructure specialists.
SPRUCE is part of the Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) programme which is being implemented across Europe with the assistance of the European Investment Bank, offering a unique opportunity for public and private co-investment in regeneration and energy developments. SPRUCE is one of three Amber JESSICA funds under management, making it the European market leader in investing JESSICA public funds for a financial and socio-economic return.
SPRUCE is part of the Joint European Support for Sustainable Investment in City Areas (JESSICA) programme which is being implemented across Europe with the assistance of the European Investment Bank, offering a unique opportunity for public and private co-investment in regeneration and energy developments.