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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

GMA Network

PNoy turns on first large-scale Bronzeoak solar power plant financed by ThomasLloyd

The first large-scale, commercially-financed and -commissioned solar power plant in the Philippines was turned on by President Benigno Aquino III in Negros Occidental on Thursday amid a tight supply situation that continues to plague the country.

Aquino was in San Carlos City where he led a ceremonial switch-on of the 22-megawatt (MW), $45-million San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SACASOL). Only the 13 MW first phase of the project was inaugurated Thursday. 

The President inaugurated SACASOL, a solar energy plant in Negros Occ. We'll upload a copy of his speech shortly.

— Official Gazette PH (@govph) May 15, 2014

The second phase of the project, Phase 1B, consists of a 9-MW facility. Once complete, San Carlos Solar is expected to supply 35-million kilowatt hour of energy to the Visayas grid and to cover mainly the power needs of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, and Iloilo.
In his speech, Aquino said the Visayas grid will benefit from the 22-MW additional input from SACASOL, noting that, as a renewable energy project, the power plant is also expected to displace the equivalent of 14,805 tons of carbon emissions per year. 
"It serves as a shining example of the collective steps we are taking to minimize climate risk – the fruit of our efforts to ensure that future generations will not be subject to the same vulnerabilities as we are now [experiencing]," he said.
The government's project partners in SACASOL are financier ThomasLloyd, a global investment banking and asset management group dedicated to renewable energy, and Bronzeoak Philippines Inc., which specializes in renewable energy project development.
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, according to ThomasLloyd. 
The President said such projects are also important in light of the Philippine experience with Typhoon Yolanda, which ravaged a large part of Central Philippines six months ago.
"Not only did it challenge us to build back better, more resilient communities, and to improve our disaster response mechanisms, it also underscored the adverse effects of climate change and showed the world the new normal of increasingly frequent and intense storms," he said.
Power problem
The Palace has said that the power supply in Mindanao might remain tight until May.
But the President said that power supply is not yet at a critical level, while noting that the government is looking at other possible sources of power, including solar energy.
With the inauguration of SACASOL, Aquino said the Philippines is now closer to the goal of having a more diverse energy mix that is able to meet the country's needs.
However, that it costs more to harness solar energy as compared to other sources, not to mention the additional requirements for ancillary capacity to connect it to the grid, the President said.
"Renewable energy is still the most expensive component. It follows that if our entire energy mix is derived from renewable sources, then the price of electricity – which people are already complaining about today – will rise even more. Government therefore has to strike a balance between this, and our desire to attract more investments in renewable energy," he said.
More power plants are underway for the Visayas grid alone to complete the committed capacity of 591.60 MW, Aquino noted.

Aside from SCASOL, the President is also expected to lead the inauguration of the newly repaired Himoga-an Bridge, which links the south and north side of Negros. The project cost P313 million. –Kimberly Jane Tan/VS, GMA News

Manila Bulletin

IFC, Thomas Lloyd set $330-M lending facility for RE projects

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group and Europe’s Thomas Lloyd Group Ltd. have inked a mandate-letter for the provision of $330-million lending portfolio for renewable energy (RE) projects in the Philippines.

This will be in the form of senior debt through the managed co-lending portfolio program and other associated IFC funding facilities.

A press statement noted that the facility “will augment the $87 million of development and construction capital already deployed or committed by the Thomas Lloyd Group of Companies and the Thomas Lloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund.”

The credit window provided by both lending institutions, as emphasized, “will be used to construct and operate a portfolio of three solar facilities and three biomass facilities” in Negros.

IFC and Thomas Lloyd Group said the transaction could be a platform for expanding investments in the Philippine renewable energy sector.

According to Thomas Lloyd executive director and head of project finance Tony Coveney, “the Philippines provided a great opportunity for both us and the IFC to bring permanent jobs and sustainable energy supply to the country,” stressing further that such initiative could hopefully bring power supply to somehow-neglected local communities.

Considerably, RE is a sunshine industry with some promise to augment the country’s teetering power supply and solution to many blackout ridden off-grid areas.

IFC had indicated serious interest to bankroll RE projects in the Philippines, although at some point, it raised reservations when government had been fickle on its rules-crafting and policy enforcements.

Thomas Lloyd, for its part, has been advising and financing development of RE facilities in the country for the past five years already.

Its “lending fingerprints” had been etched on the 22-megawatt solar power project of San Carlos Solar Energy Inc., which is targeted for completion this month. “This will be the first utility-scale renewable energy project built in the country to take advantage of the feed-in-tariff introduced by the government under the Renewable Energy Act,” the European investment firm averred.

ThomasLloyd was also instrumental in financing the 19.99MW biomass power facility of San Carlos Biopower Inc., another project vehicle under Bronzeoak Philippines.

From this venture, several more renewable energy projects are expected to take off, especially those already blueprinted in Negros sites. – Myrna Velasco


Bronzeoak plans 2 more biomass plants in Negros

MANILA - Bronzeoak Philippines Inc plans to put up two additional biomass power plants in Negros.

Bronzeoak president Jose Maria P. Zabaleta Jr. said the first project located in San Carlos City has already broken ground while the second one will be put up in La Carlota City.

"South Negros is also in the permitting stage and we hope to do that within this year to issue the notice to proceed and then we have one North Negros so we will cover all of the possible biomass in all of Negros," he said.

San Carlos is in the northern part of Negros Island, while La Carlota is in the southern part.

The power facilities will run on biomass feedstock such as agricultural byproducts to generate between 20-25 megawatts (MW) each.

Zabaleta said two plants could be up and running within two years.

Besides the said projects, Bronzeoak, in partnership with Swiss-German firm Thomas Lloyd, is also developing a solar power project in San Carlos.

Zabaleta said the group is also mulling over two additional solar projects in Negros on top of the 20-MW SaCaSol project.

"Maybe eight megawatts and we want another big one in North Negros maybe as high as 20 megawatts. That’s a lot of jobs in Negros. In fact we are encountering a shortage of people,” he said.

Bronzeoak will infuse $260, representing half of the project cost. The balance will be raised through debt.

"That’s for all. And then we get some investors to come if we need," Zabaleta said. –Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo

DFA Gov ph

PHL takes center stage at ThomasLloyd Clean Tech Congress in Frankfurt

The Philippines took center stage at the 2014 ThomasLloyd Clean Tech Congress Europe, held at the Frankfurt Convention Center on January 24. This year’s edition, themed “Meet Asia. Meet Renewable Energy’s Future,” brought together more than a thousand European investors and technology companies to discuss emerging business and investment opportunities in renewable energy infrastructure in Asia.

Owing to its strong partnership with Bronzeoak Philippines Inc., the Stuttgart-headquartered ThomasLloyd Group identified the Philippines as the conference’s focus country.  ThomasLloyd and Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. are pursuing nearly US$ 500 million worth of investments in three biomass, one wind and two solar energy power projects in Negros Occidental, while another biomass facility is in development in Tarlac.

Investors were provided with an in-depth picture of the Philippine economy and opportunities in the renewable energy (RE) sector.

Senator Loren Legarda, during her keynote speech, highlighted the legal and regulatory reforms in place to support renewable energy investments such as the Renewable Energy law, Feed-in Tariff, Net Metering, Renewable Portfolio Standards, and Green Energy Option.  Senator Legarda stressed that the country’s National Renewable Energy Program has set out aggressive targets on renewable energy development from 2011-2030, aiming to nearly triple the existing capacity of 5,369 megawatts to 15,304 megawatts by the year 2030.

Former Senator Edgardo Angara highlighted the core fundamentals and institutional transformation of the Philippine economy.  Senator Angara noted that, with a renewable energy potential of between 150-250 GW, the sector has the ability to ameliorate the conditions of the 16 million Filipinos who are classified as energy-poor and the 40 million who are reliant on traditional solid biomass for cooking.

Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe Natividad, for her part, provided a snapshot of the Philippine economy and highlighted that the Aquino administration has focused on the principle that “good governance translates to good economics.”  Investors were heartened to note key policy successes, such as the government’s anti-corruption drive, enhanced fiscal transparency, and improved tax administration, which have contributed to the country’s improved competitiveness and the attainment of investment grade status in 2013.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, who participated via live satellite link, highlighted that the Philippines is a good partner for renewable energy investors, and commended the Philippines as a leader in the use of geothermal energy.  Noting the increased regional tensions in the South China Sea, Mr. Clinton predicted there would be an increased appetite for clean technology as it would provide energy independence and domestic economic security.  He further highlighted the need for policymakers in Asia to make a better case for renewable energy and called for the development of a realistic analytical and financial framework for renewable energy that would make renewable energy projects feasible over the long run.

The Bronzeoak Philippines management team, led by its President Jose Maria Zabaleta, Jr., also briefed investors on the project cycle from concept to commercial operation, and provided status updates on all eight ongoing and prospective projects, which are expected to provide 190 MW to the national grid between 2014 and 2016.  The San Carlos Solar Energy I development will be the first project to be implemented under the 2008 Renewable Energy law and the feed-in-tariff (FIT) rates.

Project Technical Specifications Reach of Electricity Supply New Permanent Jobs Project Completion
San Carlos Solar Energy I (Negros Occidental) 13 MW 30,000 people 12 March 2014
San Carlos Solar Energy II (Negros Occidental) 9 MW 20,000 people 9 May 2014
San Carlos Biopower 19.99 MW 212,000 people 600 in the plant/2,000 in feedstock production and collection January 2015
South Negros Biopower 24.99 MW 265,000 people 675 in the plant/ 2,500 in feedstock production and collection Q4 2015
North Negros Biopower 24.99 MW 265,000 people 800 in the plant/ 4,000 in feedstock production and collection Q3 2016
Central Tarlac Biopower 29.99 MW 318,000 people 800 in the plant/ 4,000 in feedstock production and collection Q3 2016
San Carlos North East Wind 60 MW 208,000 people 12 Q1 2016
Total 182 MW 1.318 million people 2,908 in the plant/ 12,500 in feedstock production and collection

At the end of the conference, ThomasLloyd CEO Michael Seig presented a US$ 100,000 check to Ambassador Natividad and Senator Legarda to be used for renewable energy solutions in schools affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

ThomasLloyd is a leading investment banking and investment management group, solely dedicated to the renewable energy sector in Asia.  The company operates 13 offices in 12 countries for its 37,144 clients, with approximately US$ 2.7 billion in assets under management or advisory services.  Under its Cleantech Infrastructure Fund, ThomasLloyd has invested US$  82 million in Bronzeoak’s renewable energy projects and is looking to invest an additional US$  130 million for future projects.


P15-B renewable energy plants to be constructed in Negros

BACOLOD CITY, Philippines – Three biomass power plants and a solar plant worth a total of $345 million (nearly P15 billion) will be constructed in Negros Occidental.

Jose Zabaleta Jr., president of the Bronzeoak Philippines Inc., said the power projects will generate 92 megawatts of power, create more than 2,000 jobs in the province, and provide additional income for sugarcane farmers who will sell bagasse to fuel the biomass plants.

Bronzeoak is one of the investors funding the biomass plants to be put up in San Carlos and La Carlota cities as well as Manapla town. The other investors are Thomas Llyod, Greenergy Holdings and China-based Wuxi Huagang, which is also the contractor building the plants.

The investors funding the solar plant in San Carlos are Bronzeoak and ThomasLloyd. Contractors Conergy and Skema Consult Philippines are building the facility.

Zabaleta said the power plants will provide stable power supply in Negros Occidental.

Power plants operational in 2014-2016

Energy assistant secretary Daniel Ariaso said the construction of 4 renewable energy power plants in Negros Occidental will support the energy requirements of Visayas, especially since industrial activities in Bacolod, Iloilo and Cebu are expected to pick up further.

Zabaleta said the 22-megawatt solar plant in San Carlos will cost about $45 million and will be operational in 2014.

The $85-million biomass plant in San Carlos will produce nearly 20 megawatts of power and will be operational end of 2014, he added.

A 25-megawatt biomass plant will be constructed in Barangay Cubay, La Carlota, and a similar plant will be built in Manapla town and will be operational in 2016, Zabaleta said. The plants will cost $107 million each.

Sugarcane farmers

The biomass plants will provide income opportunities for sugar planters, helping cushion the impact of increased competition when tariffs on imported sugar start to drop by 2015.

Sugarcane farmers are estimated to earn over P250 million annually from the sale of bagasse and other agricultural residue that will be used to run the plants. –

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.