Saturday 24 March 2018

ESB writes down green investments by €10m

Roisin Burke

As consumers are strangled by soaring electricity bills, the ESB has lost millions on badly performing investments in the cleantech and green energy sectors.

The ESB has taken a €10.4m hit as the value of investments in its Novusmodus green energy fund was written down over the past two years. The liquidation of a €3.5m investment in a failed biomass company and a slash in value of two other firms backed by the fund resulted in a €10.4m loss being recorded.

Two firms were written down by close to €7m and a third went into liquidation, reducing its value to zero, the ESB said.

The €200m ESB Novusmodus fund is the semi-state energy giant's green investment vehicle.

Blaming the recorded loss over two years in 2011 and 2012 on accounting procedures, the ESB said it had invested €71m in Novusmodus, with the current value of investments overall at €67m.

Novusmodus led a €3.5m investment in Bioflame, a British biomass generator firm, which went into liquidation and shut in 2011, resulting in a loss to the fund.

This month, the fund led funding of almost €8m in anti-radar jamming company Aveillant, along with Brian Caulfield's DFJ Esprit.

Other companies it has backed include Heliex, a Scottish company that converts steam into electricity; wind energy firm Airvolution; and Dublin-based lasertech company Intune Networks.

Ireland has the second most expensive electricity in Europe, data office Eurostat recently revealed, over 40 per cent more expensive than the European average.

Annual results for 2012 show the ESB raked in profits of €328m, while in the same year it hiked electricity prices by almost six per cent.

Irish Independent

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