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ThomasLloyd diversifies PH energy portfolio

/ 08:25 PM October 07, 2013

Swiss-German ThomasLloyd Group Plc is diversifying its nearly $500-million Philippine energy portfolio to cover a solar farm in Negros Occidental and four biomass projects spread over various sites.

ThomasLloyd Group chair and CEO T.U. Michael Sieg said the investments were committed through the ThomasLloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund, which had already provided $82 million in capital to its Philippine portfolio. Another $130 million in equity will be infused over the next 24 months, he said. Additional funding could come from the debt market.

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The group’s solar farm venture—the $45- million 22-MW facility of San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SaCaSol)—began site development last month. SaCaSol’s solar farm will be connected in mid-2014 to the Visayas grid, which will need more power for the expanding provincial economies in its network.

In the oversubscribed Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) lineup for solar power, SaCaSol is ahead of other developers in terms of getting full funding commitment. The ThomasLloyd Group has also committed to infuse equity into the biomass projects (three in Negros and one in Tarlac province) which were lined up for development until 2015 and for grid connection between 2015 and 2017.

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“It’s a huge sign of confidence in the Philippines and its energy market,” Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. president Jose Maria “Sech” Zabaleta Jr. said. The European asset management and finance group is working with Bronzeoak on all five projects.

Bronzeoak chair Jose Maria T. Zabaleta said the pipeline of projects funded by the ThomasLloyd Group should help stabilize the Philippines’ power supply situation while also helping boost rural incomes through agricultural waste purchases from rice, corn, and sugar farmers, among others.

The Department of Energy’s (DOE) FIT allocation for solar power covers only 50MW but, so far, 80MW  have been committed by various players.

“It’s a race on whoever finishes registered projects first,” DOE director for renewable energy Mario C. Marasigan said. He was referring to the oversubscription in solar energy projects under FIT, which guarantees rates to be paid to developer-generators, and the DOE’s first-come, first-served policy on FIT allocation.

The ThomasLloyd Group’s four biomass projects are the $85-million 19.99-MW San Carlos BioPower; $114-million 25-MW South Negros BioPower; $130-million, 29.99-MW Central Tarlac BioPower, and the $114-million 24.99-MW North Negros Biopower project.

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TAGS: Business, diversification, energy sector, solar farm, thomaslloyd
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