THE International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, with support from the government of Canada and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF), is investing around $161 million (P6.47 billion) for the construction of three biomass power plants in Negros Occidental.
The three biomass power plants are expected to generate 70 megawatts of clean renewable energy for the country.
The power plants are being built in the towns of Manapla, San Carlos and La Carlota and will convert sugarcane waste to electricity using a low carbon-emitting process called circulating fluidized bed boiler technology.
Before it was identified as feedstock for biomass power plants, sugarcane waste was burned in the fields, a practice that contributed to air pollution.
The three power plants are expected to qualify for the biomass feed-in-tariff of the Philippines’ Energy Regulatory Commission. The feed-in-tariff is available to energy producers with up to 250 megawatts of biomass generating capacity.
IFC country manager Yuan Xu said 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,” she said in a statement released Friday.
CTF, a financing instrument under the Climate Investment Funds, provides developing countries with incentives to scale up the demonstration, deployment, and transfer of technologies that have high potential for long-term greenhouse gas emissions savings.
Canada’s contribution to the project is made through the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program.
To date, Canada has provided 271 million Canadian dollars (P9.8 billion) to the program to enable climate change investments that are generating significant environmental and economic benefits in developing countries.
“We are pleased to support innovative projects abroad that help reduce global greenhouse gases,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change.
Through Canada’s partnership with the IFC, the Canadian government will deliver funds that will enable the growth of renewable energy while supporting the creation of green jobs, McKenna said.
“We are happy to receive this support from IFC and the development partners,” said Jose Maria Zabaleta, chief executive officer of Bronzeoak Philippines, one of the shareholders for the project.
“This funding 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,” he added.
“Thomas Lloyd is delighted that IFC has chosen to participate in these investments. With its use of local sugar cane waste, this project is an exciting development for all the stakeholders and especially for the local community,” said Tony Coveney, executive director of ThomasLloyd Group.
ThomasLloyd CTI Asia Holdings is the principal financial sponsor. WBE (Hong Kong) International Green Energy, another shareholder, will provide engineering and construction services.
In addition to loans from Canada and the Clean Technology Fund, IFC said that it 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.
WITH JAMES KONSTANTIN GALVEZ