U.K. Power Company Mops Up Waste Olive Oil From Jamie’s Italian

(Bloomberg) — Waste cooking oil from Jamie Oliver’s
Italian restaurants will help feed as many as four new U.K.
power plants as developer Renewable Energy Generation Ltd. races
to lock in clean-energy subsidies before they’re dissolved.

REG, backed by BlackRock Inc., plans to build the plants in
the next two years for about 25 million pounds ($39 million),
Chief Executive Officer Andrew Whalley said in an interview.

REG and its peers are adding clean-power projects to take
advantage of a government subsidy program that ends in 2017.
Waste-to-electricity stations are used by the grid as reserve
generators, providing instant supply when fossil-fuel plants
trip, demand peaks or wind and solar energy falls short.

“Balancing the grid using plants such as ours is going to
become ever more important as more renewables come online,”
Whalley said in London.

REG already has four plants that generate heat and power
using waste cooking oil from restaurants in Birmingham,
Nottingham and the East Midlands. They vary in capacity from 2
megawatts to 18 megawatts and receive subsidies through the
state’s Renewables Obligation system.

As part of wider energy reforms the government is phasing
out the RO program and replacing it with contracts for
difference, which guarantee power payments for 15 years
regardless of market prices. Generators will be forced to bid
for a limited number of contracts in annual auctions.

Project Financing

REG’s new plants, which will use waste oil from a number of
restaurants as well as the Jamie’s Italian chain, will be
financed with debt and the developer’s own equity.

Caterpillar Inc., which provided the engines for REG’s bio-energy station in Yorkshire, northeast England, as well as 4.3
million pounds of debt, has “expressed interest” in supporting
future plants, Whalley said.

REG also has onshore wind farms around the U.K. The
Guildford, England-based company is considering raising about 30
million pounds for wind projects through zero-coupon preference
shares, or stock that has no entitlement to dividends.

REG expects to bid for three or four wind farms and a
similar number of solar projects — 50 megawatts to 100
megawatts in total — in the next contracts-for-difference
auction. It has about 800 megawatts of wind power at different
stages of development.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Louise Downing in London at
ldowning4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Reed Landberg at
landberg@bloomberg.net
Amanda Jordan

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