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Palmer Capital secures post Brexit £160m investment at Discovery Park

Palmer Capital is delighted to announce a £160m investment into Discovery Park, in Kent, for a combined heat and power biomass plant project, the first of its kind to be located at a UK Science Park.

Despite the uncertainty Brexit has caused, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners and Burmeister & Wain Scandinavian Contractor A/S (BWSC) have acquired 100% of the biomass-fired combined heat and power plant project.

The Kent Biomass Power Plant will add many advantages to Discovery Park which will become one of the few business parks to benefit from a Biomass plant and the only UK Science Park to do so. Discovery Park is already the UK’s most successful enterprise zone but will now provide for all its occupiers’ energy resilience and decarbonisation benefits all arising from one of the largest inward investments from Europe post Brexit. All large transactions since the UK voted to leave the European Union have been in Central London. This is the largest regional European Investment.

The plant will produce power corresponding to the entire supply for Discovery Park plus a further 50,000 households. The entire Biomass required will be sourced under a long term contract with one of the largest virgin wood supplies in the UK. Kent is the most wooded county in England. It has the largest area of chestnut coppice in the UK. With the closure of the East Kent coal fields where coppice were used for pit props, less need for fencing and ten years ago the closure of Kemsley Paper Mill, the areas of coppice has declined, become overgrown and mismanaged. This project will go a long way to recreating demand for coppice with all the biodiversity benefits and jobs that come from this.

The Biomass Plant will also provide Discovery Park with almost complete independence from “grid derived” power sources whilst always ensuring that the park is able to return to the grid should the need arise. The future of electricity generation is more uncertain than it has ever been and thus securing the Biomass Plant as the principle source with the grid becoming the backup provides a further major and almost unique advantage.

All of the tenant occupiers at Discovery Park have previously been paying their share of UK renewable deployment through their electricity bills and might have achieved up to approximately 25% of their electricity decarbonised. Now all Discovery Park tenants will be able to achieve close to 100% decarbonised heat and electricity for a lower cost. The plant will deliver CO2 savings of approximately 100,000 tonnes per year.

The total investment in Kent amounts to approximately £160m of which Copenhagen Infrastructure II K/S will invest around 80% and BWSC around 20%. Estover Energy Ltd will, once commercial operation commences, hold a minority interest in the project.

Ray Palmer, Executive Chairman at Palmer Capital commented, “We started these negotiations three and a half years ago and are delighted that the deal has been finally completed. This is one of the most complex negotiations I have ever conducted and brings to Discovery Park many unique advantages and makes it the greenest Science Park’s in the country. Ever since we acquired Discovery Park in 2012, we have succeeded in being at the forefront of job creation and innovation for Kent. This further deal with £160m going into green energy is one of which we are particularly proud.”

About Palmer Capital

Palmer Capital is a private equity real estate investment management company. Founded in 1992, the company is privately owned and manages around £600m of discretionary and advisory client owned assets.

About Discovery Park

Discovery Park is Europe’s leading science and technology park, based on the outskirts of Sandwich, Kent The park is an Innovation Cluster where companies and organisations are encouraged to work together and share information. Providing world class facilities, Discovery Park has attracted a host of international companies from the life science, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, science and technology sectors. Facilities include research and development laboratories and specialist niche manufacturing facilities, commercial office space and warehouse solutions. Discovery Park benefits from Enterprise Zone status and is home to over 150 companies employing just over 2,400 employees. Discovery Park is owned and managed by Discovery Park Limited, a consortium operated by three partners – Trevor Cartner, Chris Musgrave and Palmer Capital.

Posted on 09/08/2016