IFC-led group to invest $161m in Filipino biomass projects

The 70MW portfolio of plants, which turn sugarcane into electricity, is expected to qualify for the country’s feed-in tariff.

The International Finance Corporation, the World Bank's private investment arm, has teamed up with the Canadian government and the Clean Technology Fund to invest $161 million in three biomass power plants in the Philippines. 

The projects, currently under construction, are expected to generate an aggregate 70MW of renewable energy for the country. It should also be qualify for the biomass feed-in tariff, which is available to energy producers with up to 250MW of such generating capacity. 

Located in Negros Occidental, on the Visayan island, the plants will convert sugarcane waste to electricity using a low carbon-emitting process called circulating fluidised-bed boiler technology. Before it was identified as fuel for biomass power plants, sugarcane waste was burned in the fields, causing air pollution. 

“Energy is central to the country’s development, and 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,” said Yuan Xu, IFC country manager. 

The government of Canada contributed to the project through the IFC-Canada Climate Change Programme. To date, Canada has provided C$271 million ($210 million; €186 million) to the scheme. “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,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change. The government aims to deliver $2.65 billion between 2015 and 2020 to promote private sector financing for clean energy projects. 

The biomass project’s principal financial sponsor is ThomasLloyd CTI Asia Holdings, while WBE International Green Energy, another shareholder, will provide engineering and construction services. 

In addition to loans from Canada and the Clean Technology Fund, IFC is mobilising 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.