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Bacolod City, Philippines Friday, March 8, 2013
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P3B power plant
construction set
BY CARLA GOMEZ

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

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