Iona expands green energy portfolio in Yorkshire

Iona Capital, which invests in environmentally friendly energy plants, is to open a new office in York to expand its growing portfolio of biogas infrastructure assets in Yorkshire.

Ionas portfolio of investments includes Washfold in North Yorkshire

Currently, Iona has £75m of investments in nine facilities in Yorkshire, generating enough electricity in a year to power 12,400 homes, and enough gas to heat a further 5,600.

The environmentally friendly energy plants save the equivalent of 37,300 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

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The new York office will have a team of 25 in the region, with another 13 employed indirectly to support the business and many of these roles will be new appointments.

Mike Dunn, co-founder of Iona, said: “Yorkshire is an increasingly important market for us. We not only have our portfolio of facilities in the county but also investors, such as West Yorkshire Local Authority Pension Fund, are excited by our regionally based approach to renewable energy infrastructure.

"York is also a great location within the region as it has excellent transport links which means we can easily visit our sites across the region and of course London is only two hours away by train.”

The new office is based in Westminster Place, which is part of York Business Park.

Iona’s portfolio of investments stretches from Brocklesby, near Hull, to Leeming outside Northallerton, Gravel Pit, just East of York, and New Mill, Wray House, Washfold, Home Farm, Westholme and Howla Hay, which are all in North Yorkshire.

It also owns and operates another 10 facilities outside Yorkshire.

These plants generate biogas from agricultural and food waste, which is used to generate electricity or heat businesses and homes.

In Yorkshire, Iona has teamed up with a number of the county's best known food and drink producers to safely remove their waste and convert it to energy. Many can not be named due to commercial sensitivity reasons, but Iona's partners include R&R Ice Cream and Brocklesby Biogas which takes restaurant waste from Hull.

Iona collects ice cream waste from R&R's factory in Leeming Bar, typically when the ice cream vats are cleaned out.

R&R originally had rights to put its waste into the sewage system, but following discussions with Yorkshire Water, the two firms opted to follow the environmentally friendly option of converting the waste into energy.

"We take feed stock, process it and produce methane from it. The methane can be converted to electricity or fed into the gas network operated by NGN," said Mr Dunn.

"We put the client near to the producers.

"Yorkshire is a great place for us because land price is relatively low, it has good connectivity to gas and electricity networks and good access to feed stocks. Northern gas network has encouraged green energy producers and has proved very flexible in accommodating new suppliers."

Iona's primary driver is to target carbon reduction, thereby reducing climate change and global temperature increases. It estimates that its current £75m investment in Yorkshire will double over time and it has the backing of important pension funds like West Yorkshire Local Authority Pension Fund.

Mr Dunn said that local authorities across Yorkshire have been very supportive.

"Local authorities councillors often sit on pension fund boards and they encourage their professional investors to choose funds such as ours," said Mr Dunn.

"There is a positive environment in Yorkshire, which has been supported by the Leeds Climate Commission who are actively encouraging renewable and energy efficiency investment in the SME sector working in conjunction with funders such as ourselves."