Department behind RHI scheme has stake in wood pellet firm

Prince Charles is shown around the fuel pellet production plant at Balcas, Co Fermanagh, in 2007

Prince Charles is shown around the fuel pellet production plant at Balcas, Co Fermanagh, in 2007

The Department for the Economy has acknowledged that it owns a stake in a firm which produces wood pellets – the principal fuel involved in the RHI scheme.

It confirmed the shareholding to the News Letter following a report in a daily paper on Thursday.

The department said shares were originally bought in Balcas Ltd in 1994 by the then-Department for Economic Development.

The shares were later transferred to Invest NI, which is part of what is now the Department for the Economy.

The department said it currently holds 1.2m of shares in Balcas.

The firm describes itself as having “led the development of the market for wood pellet fuel in Ireland and Britain”.

Its website lists the address of “Balcas Timber Ltd / Balcas Ltd” as Killadeas Road, to the south-west of Ballinamallard, Fermanagh.