San Carlos BioPower

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Bronzeoak to complete 3 biomass projects by 1st quarter next year:

BRONZEOAK Philippines, Inc. is targeting the completion of the first of its three biomass projects in Negros Occidental in the first quarter of 2017, with the second plant coming online a year after, a company official said. “

“We have three plants that are going into biomass, which are where our solar sites are. We have San Carlos, La Carlota and Manapla. Each of these sites has a biomass plant attached to it,” Don Mario Y. Dia, director and treasurer of Bronzeoak Philippines, said in a chance interview.

The project is in partnership with the International Finance Corp. (IFC), which said last month that it was investing $161 million in three biomass power plants in Negros Occidental that are expected to generate 70 megawatts (MW) of electricity possibly under the feed-in-tariff system being offered by the government.

“San Carlos should be [completed] about first quarter of next year, and then every year thereafter the two others will follow,” Mr. Dia said about the plants’ completion dates. “La Carlota follows, and then Manapla.”

He said the San Carlos plant’s target capacity is 20 MW, while the La Carlota and Manapla plants will each have 25 MW.

“IFC is purely biomass,” Mr. Dia said, about the World Bank’s investment arm’s exposure in the company.

IFC previously said that the investment also has the support of the Canadian government and the Clean Technology Fund.

“IFC will pick up at the end of the development period the entire project cost, which is about $161 million. The entire project is like a refinanced arrangement,” he added.

He explained that the arrangement would require Bronzeoak Philippines to first fund the construction of the plants, with the IFC picking up the tab upon completion and commercial operation “so that we can free up the equities that are inside and then develop more.” 

The biomass project will convert agricultural waste to generate reliable base load power. It is also expected to bring additional income to farmers, reduce fertilizer costs, and help contribute to cleaner environment.

The three power plants are expected to qualify for the biomass feed-in-tariff, for which the Energy Regulatory Commission has set a 20-year guaranteed rate of P6.63 for each kilowatt-hour exported by a biomass power plant to the grid.

Bronzeoak Philippines’ San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc. is a greenfield, stand-alone solar farm that supplies daytime peak power. It has a capacity of 45 MW. The La Carlota and Manapla solar farms under the special purpose vehicle Negros Island Solar Power, Inc. have a capacity of 32 MW and 48 MW, respectively.-- Victor V. Saulon

Manila Bulletin

IFC invests in $161-M biomass project:

International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank Group, yesterday said it will invest in three biomass power projects with combined cost of $161 million in Negros Occidental support the country’s clean renewable energy initiatives.

IFC will be joined by the government of Canada and the Clean Technology Fund in bankrolling the specified renewable energy projects being developed by the Zabaleta-led Bronzeoak Philippines in the towns of Manapla, San Carlos and La Carlota in the Visayas grid.

In a statement, IFC noted that the project is expected to generate 70 megawatts of clean renewable energy for the country.

Bronzeoak Philippines Chief Executive Officer Jose Maria Zabaleta said “this funding will help utilize agricultural waste to generate reliable baseload power, providing additional income to farmers, reducing fertilizer costs and helping contribute to a healthy ecology.”

The project will convert sugar cane waste to electricity “using a low carbon-emitting process called circulating fluidized bed boiler technology.”

Prior to the discovery of sugarcane waste as feedstock for power generation, it was just being burned in the fields, thus, contributing to the worsening air pollution problems.

As reckoned by IFC Country Manager Yuan Xu, “converting agricultural waste to biomass power is a sustainable way of creating economic value while caring for the environment.”

The Philippines’ wider foray into RE projects is also aligned with its overarching goal of diversifying energy sources and in cementing its energy security agenda, he said.

The Canadian government and Clean Tech’s fund share in the project’s financing shall be channeled through the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program, with them setting high hopes that the investment would turn out viable.

According to Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, their support in the Philippine RE projects is in keeping with targets to reduce global greenhouse gases.

“Through our partnership with the IFC, the government of Canada will deliver funds that will enable the growth of renewable energy while supporting the creation of green jobs,” she stressed.

To date, Canada has provided CA$271 million for climate change investments generate significant environmental and economic benefits in developing countries.

Tony Coveney, executive director of Thomas Lloyd Group Ltd., additionally noted that “with its use of local sugar cane waste, this project is an exciting development for all stakeholders and especially for the local community.”

ThomasLLoyd CTI Asia Holdings is the project’s principal financial sponsor; while WBE International Green Energy Ltd. of Hongkong, which is also a shareholder to the venture, will provide engineering and construction services.

In addition to loans from Canada and the Clean Technology Fund, IFC is also mobilizing funding from the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, a new syndications platform that offers institutional investors the ability to passively participate in IFC’s future senior loan portfolio.

The three power plants are expected to qualify for the biomass feed-in-tariff of the Philippine Energy Regulatory Commission. The feed-in-tariff is available to energy producers with up to 250 megawatts of biomass generating capacity.-- Myrna Velasco

Business World

Renewables group Bronzeoak targets 320 megawatts in capacity:

BRONZEOAK Philippines, Inc. plans to put up more renewable energy facilities, with a target of bringing its total power generation portfolio to 320 megawatts (MW), a company official said recently.

President Jose Maria P. Zabaleta, Jr. said the company is currently working on its first facilities utilizing solar and biomass technologies in San Carlos City.

The first two phases of the solar facility -- involving 13 MW and 9 MW units -- are already operational; while another 10 MW and 13 MW are undergoing development via San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc.

The company, through San Carlos Biopower, Inc., will start building the 20-MW plant in a 20-hectare (ha) property this year.

“It is scheduled to be completed by the middle of next year,” said Mr. Zabaleta during the latest Asia CEO Forum in Pasay City.

“We are looking at further opportunities in the power sector,” said Mr. Zabaleta.

The official also bared plans to put up four more solar projects, two more biomass plants and one wind facility -- all on Negros Island.

In his presentation, Mr. Zabaleta said the second solar project will be built in 44-ha site in La Carlota City. It will have a total capacity of 32 MW.

A 33-MW solar farm will be constructed at a 45-ha site in the municipality of Manapla; and a 30-MW plant at a 53-ha site in Bais City.

The fifth solar project -- which will have a capacity of 50 MW -- will rise on a 60-ha property in San Carlos Economic Zone.

“The second solar project is already in construction. The next three are going through final financing [arrangements] right now,” said Mr. Zabaleta.

“These will go into construction in the next few months,” he added.

For biomass, Bronzeoak is planning a 25-MW plant on a 27-ha site in La Carlota City; and another plant with the same capacity at a 28-ha site in Manapla.

“These two other projects are in the final stages of planning. We’re starting the second one in the second half of this year and the third one in about a year from now,” Mr. Zabaleta said.

A 60-MW wind farm is also in the pipeline. This will likewise be located in San Carlos City.

These projects, once completed, will further cement Bronzeoak’s presence in the local power sector -- particularly in Negros Occidental.

Mr. Zabaleta noted that the company wants to have more capacity installed before the dry months of 2016.

He also added that the goal is not to make Negros Island the center for renewable energy development.

“I think the opportunity exists just as much elsewhere. We are in Negros not because it’s significantly more attractive but because it’s a reflection of where we are and where we do business,” he said.

“We don’t go far from home when there’s a big opportunity in the backyard,” he added.

Established in 2003, Bronzeoak is 70%-owned by Filipino investors.

The company completed a sugarcane-based ethanol and power cogeneration plant in 2008 -- which produces 40 million liters of fuel ethanol and 60 million kilowatt-hours of electricity.-- Claire-Ann M. C. Feliciano


RE firm invests $90M in 20-MW biomass plant:

Bronzeoak Philippines Inc., the leading player in solar power projects in the Philippines, is gearing up for another renewable energy (RE) investment thrust—this time in biomass power.

The company’s board of directors approved a $90-million investment for a 20-megawatt (MW) biomass power plant in Negros Occidental. The facility will use sugarcane farm waste as feedstock to help boost the income of farmers in the area, said Bronzeoak director Don Mario Dia.

The biomass venture will be undertaken by San Carlos BioPower Inc., a joint venture of Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. and European asset management firm ThomasLloyd Group.

San Carlos BioPower began work in April 2013. Equipment installation should start around April 2015 and development could take up to 24 months, Dia said.

The biomass project will be built alongside an ethanol facility of San Carlos Bioenergy, and near the solar power facilities being undertaken by another joint venture of Bronzeoak and ThomasLloyd Group, San Carlos Solar Energy Inc.

Bronzeoak and ThomasLloyd Group have already completed the first phase of their solar power lineup with a 22-MW facility in Negros Occidental and are expanding through future builds. Their partnership on biomass power covers four projects in the Philippines: the San Carlos BioPower project; the $114-million 25-MW South Negros BioPower project; the $130-million 29.99-MW Central Tarlac BioPower project; and the $114-million 24.99-MW North Negros Biopower project, which is still up for financial closing.

ThomasLloyd Group chair and CEO T.U. Michael Sieg said that the firm’s investments were all committed through the ThomasLloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund.

Once completed, the facility would begin delivering 140 million kWh to the high growth Visayas grid.

The Visayas grid’s power supply is wearing thin and Negros Occidental is presently importing 80 percent of its power requirement from different power plants in Cebu province.

According to the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the province itself needs more electricity to support its expanding manufacturing, retail and real estate sectors. -- Riza T. Olchondra


IFC lends $330 million to Swiss-German company for renewable energy projects in Negros:

MANILA - The World Bank's private-sector lending arm has committed to bankroll a Swiss-German company's renewable energy projects in the Philippines.

In a statement, ThomasLloyd Group Ltd said it signed a mandate letter with the International Finance Corp (IFC) for a $330 million debt.
The amount will be used to augment the $87 million that the Swiss-German company already deployed to construct a portfolio of three solar facilities and three biomass facilities in Negros Island.

A global investment banking and asset management group, ThomasLloyd has been advising and financing the development of renewable energy facilities in the Philippines for five years through a joint development agreement with homegrown Bronzeoak Philippines Inc.

ThomasLloyd financed construction of San Carlos Solar Energy Inc's 22-megawatt (MW) solar plant. This will be the first renewable energy project built in the
country to take advantage of the feed-in-tariff introduced by the government under the 2008 Renewable Energy Act.
Two more solar projects on Negros are already underway, the first of which will also be constructed in 2014.

Alongside these projects, ThomasLloyd has also financed the development and construction of San Carlos Biopower Inc's 19.99-MW biomass-to-power facility, which will primarily use the sugar cane waste from the local farming community. This is due to complete construction later this year under an engineering and procurement, and maintenance contract with Wuxi Huahuang of China.

A further two biomass projects will be built in the southern and northern parts of Negros within the next two years using the same technology.

The development and construction of these facilities have already created more than 1,000 jobs in the local community, which will further increase significantly as the portfolio grows.

Power generated will serve households and businesses, as part of ThomasLloyd’s key investment criterion: “local production for local consumption.”
The biomass facilities will also give local farmers a large-scale alternative use for agricultural waste, which has historically been burnt in the field.

"The Philippines provided a great opportunity for both us and the IFC to bring permanent jobs and sustainable energy supply to the country. We believe that targeted use of capital can work to create local power for local communities," ThomasLloyd executive director Tony Coveney, said.

IFC resident representative Jesse Ang said the Negros Island projects "provide an important 'on -island' power resource for Negros Island and the Visayan grid which has suffered brownouts due to power facilities being negatively impacted by Typhoon Haiyan."
– Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo



Bronzeoak group to invest $260M in PH:

Bronzeoak Philippines and its partners are investing about $260 million (or roughly P11.7 billion) in renewable energy projects, which can generate as much as 125 megawatts.

In an interview with reporters last week, Bronzeak Philippines chair Jose Maria T. Zabaleta said the company, through various subsidiaries and partners, was building biomass projects in Negros that can generate a total of 75 megawatts, and a solar farm that can generate as much as 50 MW.

“One biomass project is still under construction, while the other one has broken ground, but we have not yet received the notice to proceed,” Zabaleta said.

San Carlos BioPower Inc. began last year the construction of the 20-MW biomass power plant in the San Carlos Agro-Industrial Economic Zone on the eastern coast of Negros Occidental, while South Negros BioPower Inc. is still in the permitting stage, but it expects to start construction of the 25-MW facility in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, within the year.

The San Carlos facility is scheduled to start operations early 2015, while the South Negros plant is expected to start providing power to the grid by early 2016.

More biomass projects are reportedly in the pipeline. – Amy R. Remo

Manila Standard Today

Bronzeoak’s biomass power plants on track:

Bronzeoak Philippines and European fund manager ThomasLloyd Group are on track to finish two biomass power projects in the Visayas with a combined capacity of 45 megawatts, an official said over the weekend.

Bronzeoak Philippines chairman Jose Maria Zabaleta Sr. told reporters the San Carlos BioPower’s 20-MW biomass power plant was now under construction, while the 25-MW plant of South Negros BioPower Inc. in La Carlota City was in the process of obtaining permit from authorities.

Bronzeoak Philippines, established by Zabaleta & Co. and Bronzeoak Ltd. of the UK,  specializes in the renewable energy project development and the finance and management of integrated agro-energy projects in the Philippines.

The ThomasLloyd Group, meanwhile, acquired Bronzeoak Ltd. of the UK, the principal subsidiary of Bronzeoak Group Ltd., several years ago.

The San Carlos BioPower will tap sugarcane residues typically left in the fields after harvest and energy crops from dedicated plantations as feedstock. The principal feedstock will be augmented by other locally available agricultural residues such as biomass.

The San Carlos BioPower facility, which will be built alongside the existing San Carlos Bioenergy ethanol facility, will provide electricity to an area of short supply and increasing demand for power, and will provide an additional source of income to the local farming community.

Zabaleta said the company was hoping to start construction of the South Negros facility by the third or last quarter of the year after getting government permits.

“South Negros is also in the permitting stage and we hope to do that within this year to issue the notice to proceed… It takes two years to build,” Zabaleta said. – Alena Mae S. Flores

Yahoo! News

Bronzeoak to complete $500M worth of renewable energy projects 2017, says ThomasLloyd:

Bronzeoak Philippines Inc., a bioenergy developer, will complete $500 million worth of clean energy projects in 2017, adding 100 megawatts (MW) to the Philippine grid, its financier said Monday.

The projects are funded by ThomasLloyd, a European asset management and project finance group that investments especially in Asia renewable energy developments.
Under the ThomasLloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund, the company already invested $82 million in its Philippine portfolio, and is committed to invest $130 million more in the next two years.

The company will likely seek bank finance to complete its clean energy projects in the Philippines, Michael Sieg, ThomasLloyd Group chair and CEO told reporters Monday.
A solar power and three biomass-fired power plants in Negros and a biomass power plant in Tarlac are now in the pipeline. According to ThomasLloyd, these projects will generate 2,750 jobs and open up opportunities for farmers to sell farm waste as feed stock for the biomass projects.

Now under construction in Negros Occidental is the $45-million San Carlos Solar Energy plant which will be operational and connected to the grid in the second quarter of 2014. This 22 megawatt (MW) facility will deliver 35 million kilowatt hours (kWh) to the grid, ThomasLloyd noted.

Another project in the construction phase is the $85-million, 19.99-MW San Carlos Biopower which will start commercial operations in 2015. The plant will deliver 140 million kWh to the grid, said ThomasLloyd.

The biomass plants will use farm waste like sugarcane stalks, rice husks, coconut shells, palm frods, corn stalks, corn cobs and peanuts.

The biomass-fired power plants are expected to buy P500 million worth of agriculture wastes per year, said Bronzeoak Philippines president Jose Maria Zabaleta Jr.

A joint venture between the Bronzeoak Group and Zabaleta & Co., Bronzeoak Philippines is mainly into developing bionergy projects.

The projects are going to be registered with the feed-in-tariff allocation for biomass projects, said Sieg. “The feed-in tariff allocation for biomass is significantly undersubscribed at the moment,” the ThomasLloyd official noted.

The Department of Energy is now enforcing the feed-in-tariff scheme that gives incentives to local and foreign investors in renewable energy. – VS, GMA News

philSTAR Business

San Carlos BioPower breaks ground for bagasse-fired plant:
Ground Breaking Eveny
MANILA, Philippines - San Carlos BioPower Inc. broke ground yesterday for an 18-megawatt bagasse-fired power plant project in Negros Occidental, an official of the Department of Energy (DOE) said.

The company, controlled by listed firm Greenergy Holdings Inc., would start the construction of the project to meet its December 2014 target completion date, said DOE director Mario Marasigan.
Biomass facilities are becoming more popular. These facilities produce clean renewable energy out of human, plant or animal waste. Sugar mills, meanwhile, produce large amounts of bagasse as waste, which in turn can be used to produce fuel for the biomass plants.

The biomass project will be built alongside the existing ethanol facility of San Carlos Bioenergy, another Greenergy unit.

The project is seen to boost electricity supply in the booming Visayas region.

Furthermore, the biomass project is seen to provide additional source of income for local farmers.

Last month, Greenergy, through subsidiary Biomass Holdings Inc., released P667.527 million to San Carlos BioPower, representing a 64-percent equity interest in the company.

This followed the execution of an investment agreement between Biomass and San Carlos Biopower.

“The release of the total investment price to SCB (San Carlos Biopower) completes the investment of BHI in SCB for the acquisition of 64 percent equity interest in SCB and shall enable SCB to commence the implementation of the 18 MW bagasse- fired power generation project in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental,” Greenergy earlier said.

San Carlos City


P3.5-billion bagasse plant scheduled to open soon:
CONSTRUCTION of the P3.5-billion bagasse-fired power generation facility in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental is set to start soon following the groundbreaking ceremonies held Thursday.

The 18-megawatt (MW) biomass project is being undertaken by San Carlos BioPower Inc. (SCBPI), controlled by listed firm Greenergy Holdings Inc.
The facility will be built alongside the existing San Carlos Bionergy ethanol facility.
“San Carlos BioPower uses sugarcane wastes with multi-feedstock capability. The construction will start soon,” said Department of Energy (DOE) director Mario Marasigan, adding that by December 2014, the construction should be finished.
The biomass plant is seen to supply electricity in the Visayas.
Biomass Holdings Inc. (BHI), a unit of Greenergy, last month released P667.527 million to SCBPI following the execution of an investment agreement where BHI will acquire a 64-percent equity interest in SCBPI for the amount.
BHI said the amount was considered as a deposit for future subscription to common shares of SCBPI from the latter’s increase of authorized capital stock.
“The release of the total investment price to SCBPI completes the investment of BHI for the acquisition of 64-percent equity interest in SCBPI and shall enable it to commence the implementation of the 18-MW bagasse-fired power generation project in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental,” Greenergy said earlier. 

The Visayan Daily Star


P3B power plant construction set:
San Carlos BioPower is investing P3 billion for the construction of an 18-megawatt Biomass-Fired Power Plant in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, and an integrated supply chain system, Jose Maria Zabaleta Sr., chairman of SCBP and Bronzeoak Philippines, said yesterday.

Site clearing will begin immediately, with construction to follow in May. The plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, Zabaleta told the DAILY STAR.

The new plant will be located beside the existing integrated sugar mill and ethanol distillery of San Carlos BioEnergy, owned by Menarco Clean Energy and Bronzeoak Philippines, he said.

It will provide approximately 1,000 jobs during construction, and eventually employ almost 400 people during its operation, scheduled to start in early 2015, Zabaleta added.

“We have reached financial closure and so the project is a go,” he said, of the plant that will be powered by waste from sugarcane and other agricultural crops.

“In the future, we plan to add two more power plants in Negros that should help tremendously the income of all farmers, both large and small, as agricultural residue, formerly waste just burned, is now turned into a more valuable resource”, Zabaleta said.

On Nov. 29, 2012, SCBP completed its equity raise and finalized agreements with its group of investors. Following these agreements, the funds have been received by the company to begin project implementation starting yesterday, he said.

SCBP will be owned by a partnership between Bronzeoak Philippines Inc., Biomass Holdings Inc. and WBE International Green Energy Ltd of Hong Kong.

Biomass Holdings Inc. is jointly owned by PSE-Listed Greenergy Holdings Inc., and the German-based ThomasLloyd CleanTech Infrastructure Fund.

During a recent visit by Thomas Lloyd CEO Michael Sieg, he said they were very optimistic about renewable energy prospects in the country and that their investments would also contribute to the continued economic development of the country, especially in countryside and agricultural development, Zabaleta said.

The power plant is to be designed, supplied and built by Wuxi Huaguang Electric Power Engineering, the General Supplier and Contractor of the project, Zabaleta added.

The company was issued its Certificate of Registration by the Board of Investments on Dec. 21, 2012, and on Feb. 13, 2013, was found by the Department of Energy to have satisfactorily met the minimum documentary requirements to avail of the Feed-in-Tariff rates when it begins commercial operations in early 2015, as part of the first 250MW of installed biomass power capacity, he said.

With its completion of all permits and the coming start of construction, the company expects to be among the first 250MW of installed capacity, enabling it to ensure its availment of the FIT rates under the DOE's First-Come, First-Served policy, he added.

DOE Director Mario Marasigan expressed his support for the new project, saying that the DOE is very excited to see the start of construction of one of the first biomass power plants under the Renewable Energy Law.*CPG




ERC Approves Feed-in tariff rates:
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), on July 27, 2012, approved the initial Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) that shall apply to generation from renewable energy (RE) sources, particularly, Run-of-River Hydro, Biomass, Wind, and Solar, as follows:


The ERC, however, deferred fixing the FIT for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) Resource for further study and data gathering.  The decision came after a series of public hearings ending in March this year, on the petition of the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) for the setting of the FITs. In its petition filed on May 16, 2011, NREB proposed the following FITs: 


In fixing the FITs, the ERC accepted the methodology used by NREB in calculating its proposed FITs, which takes into account, among others, the cost of constructing and operating the representative plants for each RE technology, the generation output or capacity factors of these plants, and the reasonable return on investment to be allowed the developers of these plants. 

The ERC arrived at FITs substantially lower than NREB's proposed FITs for Wind and Solar after it updated the construction costs of the representative plants for these technologies to reflect the downward market trend of the costs of putting up these plants. It also adopted higher capacity factors for these plants to ensure that only the more efficient plants will enjoy the FIT incentive. 

For all the RE technologies, the ERC revised other project costs such as those for the switchyard and transformers, transmission interconnection cost and access/service road cost using the same benchmarks it had employed in approving similar projects of the regulated utilities. The ERC also adopted a lower equity Internal Rate of Return (EIRR) of 16.44°/o in calculating for the FITs, except for Biomass, which was allowed a higher EIRR of 17% to account for fuel risks. 

Section 7 of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 mandates, among others, the setting of the FITs to apply to wind, solar, run-of-river hydro, biomass, and ocean RE resources. Under the FIT system, the eligible RE developers will be paid the FITs applicable to them for the energy they feed into the grid. The FITs are subject to degression to encourage the developers to invest at the initial stage and hasten deployment of renewable energy and also to avoid substantial windfall from being enjoyed by developers especially in the technologies where significant cost reductions are expected in the future. 

The approved FITs shall also be subject to review and readjustment by the ERC after the initial FIT implementation of 3 years or when the installation targets for each technology as set by the Department of Energy shall have already been met. 

"The ERCs lowered FITs will definitely cushion the impact of implementing the FIT incentive mechanism under the RE Act on the electricity rates, while still being sufficient enough to attract new investments in renewable energy. This is win-win for all," ERC Executive Director Francis Saturnino Juan said. 


San Carlos BioPower Commences Financing
SCBioPower, an 18MW biomass-fueled power plant to be built alongside the existing San Carlos Bionergy Facility, has commenced financing and is entering the final stage of its development, having already secured its first 30% equity commitment from ThomasLloyd's Cleantech Infrastructure Fund. The new plant is expected to close its financing and commence engineering by year end to then proceed with construction early in 2012.