A NEW plant that will convert the region's waste into electricity is the first project to get funding from the government's flagship Green Investment Bank.
An £8m cash injection of taxpayers' money will be matched with a further £8m from the private sector, Business Secretary Vince Cable announced, will be used to build Earthly Energy's new anaerobic digestion plant in Middlesbrough.
The announcement is a major coup for the region and reinforces its growing reputation as a centre for the renewable energy industry. It follows recent announcements by Teesside-based Scott Brothers Group and US company Air Products, both of whom confirmed plans to build waste-to-energy plants in the North-East.
Mr Cable made the announcement in Edinburgh where the GIB will be headquartered. It will also have a major presence in London. Earlier this year he rejected bids to have the new bank located in the North-East.
Alex Dawson, chairman of Energi Coast which represents 24 North-East firms, welcomed today's announcement and hoped it would underpin efforts to make the North-East a hub of the green energy industry.
“We support the Green Investment Bank’s purpose of attracting the capital required to support low-carbon energy generation such as offshore renewables," he said.
"With the North-East being home to one of the first GIB-funded projects I hope more investment will be made in the region to provide vital support for North-East companies that want to invest in skills and technology that will advance our green energy commitment.”
The GIB will also invest £5m to fit manufacturer Kingspan's UK factories with systems that will reduce its energy consumption by 15 per cent.
The bank will make a total of £3bn available for green technology projects to create jobs and attract new investment.