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

/ 12:57 AM November 03, 2014

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.

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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.

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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.

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