UK-based Tamar Energy has been recognised across Europe for its innovative approach to attracting funds, for the UK’s first network of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants that turn organic waste into a source of renewable energy.
Having raised £97m in 2012, Tamar Energy has been awarded the ‘Standout Fundraising Achievement of the Year’ Award by Cleantech Group, the global clean technology and sustainability intelligence Company. It is the inaugural winner of the Award, and one of only four organisations from across Europe and Israel to receive an award at this year’s event.
Tamar Energy’s ambitious vision is for a UK-wide network of more than 40 AD plants by 2018, capable of generating 100MW of renewable energy, enough to power more than 200,000 homes. It has four plants currently in construction, with more than 15 others currently in development.
Tamar Energy is well capitalised, backed by a strong investor group of UK and international blue chip partners and investors led by RIT Capital Partners plc and Fajr Capital, alongside the Duchy of Cornwall, and Sainsbury’s, which is also a strategic operating partner. Its breakthrough institutional funding model means it does not need to go to the market to raise money for each project, a major barrier for many clean tech projects.
An AD facility diverts organic waste from landfill, reducing costs for local authorities and commercial operations alike. The process produces biomethane gas which can be used to create electricity or be fed back into the national grid. An added benefit is the creation of a rich natural fertilizer which is an alternative to traditional industrially manufactured bagged fertilizers for agricultural use.
The judges commented that, “What stood out to our team in particular were the size of Tamar Energy’s initial funding round, the impressive and varied nature of the syndicate backing the deal and the signals that this sends to the market, and how in tune with the state of “tomorrow’s” market that this feels.”
The award was presented to Tamar Energy founder and executive director James Russell at Cleantech Forum Europe, which this year took place at the stunning Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain. The Forum is in its ninth year, and typically attracts more than 400 people across a diverse cross-section of industry influencers.
In a keynote address to an audience of industry influencers, investors, green technology start-ups and corporations, James Russell said:
“In the exciting three years since founding Tamar Energy, we’ve shown that attracting institutional investment is the right future for AD, which can often have a complex and time-consuming development process.
“The Tamar Energy model of long-term institutional financing and trusted strategic partners is creating a critical mass of AD plants in a network across the UK, making a crucial contribution to the country’s waste management and renewable energy ambitions. We hope we can inspire others in clean tech in a way that will also benefit sustainable development as a whole, now and for future generations”.
According to finance advisers Ascendant, Tamar Energy was the biggest technology sector capital deal in 2012, having raised £97m. This is against the backdrop of a lower global clean energy investment market, according to a report this week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in part because of the falling cost of technologies such as solar panels. The April 2013 report finds that first quarter investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency programmes, and "smart" energy technologies fell 22 per cent year-on-year to $40.6bn.