Thainstone Energy Recovery Plant in Aberdeenshire

The Thainstone Energy Recovery Facility (ERF) is a 30-megawatt electricity plant, using 200,000 tonnes of residual waste every year as fuel.

This investment ideally suits an equity/pension fund.

The plant uses the latest proven technology from world class vendors, regarded as best available technology (BAT) according to European norms. The design of the scheme has taken into account the local natural environment and population considerations.

The plant sits within the 42,000 square metre site of a former paper mill, which itself once covered 364,000 square metres. So there’s a lot of potential for future building and development of the plant.



Inverurie, Scotland

Investment type:

Capital investment - energy and infrastructure


(Sustainable infrastructure, Energy from waste & recycling)

Project promoter:

Agile Energy Recovery (Inverurie) Ltd


£215 million

Time to Final Investment Decision (FID):

0-6 months

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Bob van Aartsen

Senior Investment Specialist

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Sector and market opportunity

Legislation in Scotland means landfill sites for waste need to close by 2025 – and this energy recovery plant is ideally positioned as a sustainable alternative to these sites in north-east Scotland.


The site is located on brownfield land with excellent road links to the main sources of waste, and within 6km of the region’s main national grid station.

It’s set within an existing commercial park, providing private wire network opportunities and access to a skilled workforce transitioning from the oil and gas industry.

The plant has capacity to process 220,000 tonnes of waste per annum – providing a valuable electricity commodity in a region with a heavy reliance on intermittent power generation.


The site is well serviced by a dual carriageway. The ports of Aberdeen, Peterhead, and Montrose are within 70km, and the City of Aberdeen (the main source of waste) is 15km away.

Local talent and skills

The skills required for the construction, operation, and maintenance of the plant are all available locally.

The former paper mill had a workforce of more than 500 employees, including operations and maintenance staff from the 10-megawatt combined heat and power plant. Many people from this former workforce have indicated their interest in the project.

Research and expertise

Organisations that are assisting and advising the experienced development team, include:

  • Dentons (legal advice)
  • Alvarez & Marsal (finance and tax)
  • Natural Power (environment and planning)
  • Liberty 1 (PR and communications)
  • Fairhurst (civils and building)
  • Ian Allen Associates (commercial and contracts)
  • AFRY (detail design, procurement, project management)
  • Bureau Veritas (third party certification)
  • Notch Architecture (architectural consultancy and building)

Region Spotlight


Scotland is a cost-effective home for your business with a range of skills and opportunities to help you expand and grow. It has a welcoming business environment, diverse industries, vibrant cities, and stunning landscapes. Scotland's tradition of innovation is matched by excellent supply chain infrastructure and networks.

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Environmental, social and governance (ESG) highlights

The circulating fluidised bed technology used in this plant will result in more efficient combustion and lower emissions compared to other Energy from Waste technologies currently in use in the UK.

The project will replace methane produced in landfill sites, and displace carbon dioxide emissions from gas-fired generators. It will also provide local job opportunities and deal with a local waste issue, turning waste into sustainable fuel - a valuable resource for the area.

Promoters and partnerships

The promoter of this project is Agile Energy Recovery (Inverurie) Ltd (AERI), a special purpose vehicle which owns all the assets in the project - including the site lease, planning permission, and the grid connection.

AERI is led by an experienced team of engineers with more than 200 years of collective experience in the oil and gas, utility, and construction sectors. They bring experience and knowledge in project development/management, engineering, planning, quality management, commercial/contract, IT and systems engineering.

Local and national government support

Scottish Enterprise has supported a viability study for the delivery of a heat network locally, and Aberdeenshire Council have supported the project with advice and information.

Other opportunities

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