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Investment group SinoFortone confirms £2bn finance for energy and shrimp production centres in Wales with plans to roll out the technology globally

A Chinese investment group is to invest £2bn backing two innovative biomass plants and associated food production stations in Wales that will create 1,000 jobs and thousands more during the construction phase.

February 3, 2016

AChinese investment group is to invest £2bn backing two innovative biomass plants and associated food production stations in Wales that will create 1,000 jobs and thousands more during the construction phase.

Chinese investment group SinoFortone said that as part of the £2bn investment it will back projects to develop energy and food stations, initially at Holyhead and Port Talbot. The projects are being developed by Orthios Eco Parks.

The projects will take heat from biomass power stations and use the waste heat to grow food, starting with king prawns and vegetables.

The investment commitment from SinoFortone was confirmed as the start of the official visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UK.

Speaking to the BBC, chief executive of Orthios, Sean McCormick, said that 1,000 jobs would be created at the two power plants.

He added: “We have spent five years researching and developing this model and the investment from China will help us roll it out across the planet,” said Mr McCormick.

“China’s focus on green energy and its ability to take a long-term view [was instrumental in securing the deal].”

SinoFortone is a privately owned investment company but its investment in Wales has been backed financially by the Chinese state.

SinoFortone Group chief executive Dr Peter Zhang said: “We see this as a ground changing model that many countries will benefit from and are delighted to be teamed with the Orthios team.”

He added: “We were impressed with the Orthios professional team and how much research and development they have invested in their unique combined food and power solution.

“With us and the Chinese state as their backers, we are confident we can maximize efficiencies and provide a production facility to deliver this solution around the world.”

Orthios in March confirmed plans for a multi-million pound biomass plant and eco park, bringing 500 jobs, on the site of the former Anglesey Aluminium Plant in Holyhead.

The Holyhead facility could be operational in 2017, while the Port Talbot facility is expected to become operational in three years time.

In Port Talbot Othios and SinoFortone Group are working with Associated British Ports on the proposed project.

Speaking to the BBC head of commercial at ABP South Wales, Ralph Windeatt, said: “We are delighted to be working alongside Orthios and Sino-Fortone to deliver the Port Talbot Eco Park, a combined power and food facility that will deliver much welcomed economic growth, jobs and training opportunities in the region.”

With Chinese funding commitment the long-term plan would be to roll out the energy and food production technology globally.

As part of an overall £5bn investment in the UK, SinoFortone has also agreed to invest £3.2bn in a major amusement park in Ebbsfleet.

A spokesman for the Welsh Government said: “We welcome any further progress on these two projects, which have the potential to create hundreds of jobs and provide a major boost for the local economy.”

As well as at least 500 staff in both facilities, the projects are expected to create thousands of jobs in the construction phase.

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