Corporate News

By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

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

Posted on September 07, 2016

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.