IFC, Canada and Clean Tech Fund invest $161M in Visayas biomass plants
MANILA, Philippines – The country’s renewable energy sector and the Visayas region received a boost on Friday, August 19, through a fresh investment from a partnership between international organizations and Canada.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, along with the government of Canada and the Clean Tech fund announced a $161 million investment in 3 biomass power plants in Negros Occidental.
The plants are being built by local firm Bronzeoak, in partnership with global investment firm ThomasLloyd, and are located in the towns of Manapla, San Carlos and La Carlota.
They are expected to generate 70 megawatts (MW) when all phases are completed.
The projects will use sugarcane as feedstock, converting sugarcane waste to electricity using a low carbon-emitting process called circulating fluidized bed boiler technology. Prior to its use as feedstock, sugarcane waste used to be burned in fields, which contributed created air pollution.
“We are happy to receive this support from IFC and the development partners,” said Jose Maria Zabaleta, CEO of Bronzeoak Philippines, in a statement.
This funding, he added, will help utilize agricultural waste to generate reliable base load power, providing additional income to farmers, reducing fertilizer costs, and helping contribute to a healthful ecology.
“Energy is central to the country’s development, and the Philippines needs to further diversify and secure its energy sources. Converting agricultural waste to biomass power is a sustainable way of creating economic value while caring for the environment,” said IFC Country Manager, Yuan Xu.
The investment comes at time when the Department of Energy (DOE) teamed up with USAID to take a closer look at the country’s energy mix for better investment choices.
The 3 power plants are expected to qualify for the biomass feed-in-tariff (FIT) of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC).
The current FIT allocation for biomass projects has an allocation target of 250 MW and producers that qualify will receive rates of P6.63/kilowatt hour for their power for 20 years with a digression rate of 0.5% after the second year. – Rappler.com