IFC invests in $161-M biomass project

by Myrna Velasco – August 19, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank Group, yesterday said it will invest in three biomass power projects with combined cost of $161 million in Negros Occidental support the country’s clean renewable energy initiatives.

IFC will be joined by the government of Canada and the Clean Technology Fund in bankrolling the specified renewable energy projects being developed by the Zabaleta-led Bronzeoak Philippines in the towns of Manapla, San Carlos and La Carlota in the Visayas grid.


In a statement, IFC noted that the project is expected to generate 70 megawatts of clean renewable energy for the country.

Bronzeoak Philippines Chief Executive Officer Jose Maria Zabaleta said “this funding will help utilize agricultural waste to generate reliable baseload power, providing additional income to farmers, reducing fertilizer costs and helping contribute to a healthy ecology.”

The project will convert sugar cane waste to electricity “using a low carbon-emitting process called circulating fluidized bed boiler technology.”

Prior to the discovery of sugarcane waste as feedstock for power generation, it was just being burned in the fields, thus, contributing to the worsening air pollution problems.

As reckoned by IFC Country Manager Yuan Xu, “converting agricultural waste to biomass power is a sustainable way of creating economic value while caring for the environment.”

The Philippines’ wider foray into RE projects is also aligned with its overarching goal of diversifying energy sources and in cementing its energy security agenda, he said.

The Canadian government and Clean Tech’s fund share in the project’s financing shall be channeled through the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program, with them setting high hopes that the investment would turn out viable.

According to Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna, their support in the Philippine RE projects is in keeping with targets to reduce global greenhouse gases.

“Through our partnership with the IFC, the government of Canada will deliver funds that will enable the growth of renewable energy while supporting the creation of green jobs,” she stressed.

To date, Canada has provided CA$271 million for climate change investments generate significant environmental and economic benefits in developing countries.

Tony Coveney, executive director of Thomas Lloyd Group Ltd., additionally noted that “with its use of local sugar cane waste, this project is an exciting development for all stakeholders and especially for the local community.”

ThomasLLoyd CTI Asia Holdings is the project’s principal financial sponsor; while WBE International Green Energy Ltd. of Hongkong, which is also a shareholder to the venture, will provide engineering and construction services.

In addition to loans from Canada and the Clean Technology Fund, IFC is also mobilizing funding from the Managed Co-Lending Portfolio Program, a new syndications platform that offers institutional investors the ability to passively participate in IFC’s future senior loan portfolio.

The three power plants are expected to qualify for the biomass feed-in-tariff of the Philippine Energy Regulatory Commission. The feed-in-tariff is available to energy producers with up to 250 megawatts of biomass generating capacity.