Grant opens doors for new projects
Blue Sphere Corp. (BLSP) announced that the Netherlands Enterprise Agency awarded the company's wholly owned subsidiary, Bluesphere Brabent B.V., a grant to sell renewable gas on a per MWg basis to Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland (RVO) under the Renewable Energy Production Incentive Scheme or (SDE). The grant provides for the sale of up to 234,466.589 MWh per year, for a maximum total value of the grant equal to up to approximately $161,642,955 to be paid over 12 years commencing on the date the proposed facility begins production.
The grant relates to the company's new construction plans for a waste-to-energy Anaerobic Digester Plant in Sterksel, Netherlands, which is currently in the development stage. This grant can be similarly compared to Renewable Energy Contracts (REC) in the U.S. The primary difference between the SDE and REC is that the SDE is paid directly to the company by a governmental agency, in this case the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. The grant is conditioned on several factors, including, but not limited to, the company choosing an EPC for the construction of the plant within one year of the grant being awarded and the facility must begin production within four years of the grant being awarded.
In addition to potential revenues generated by the new facility under the SDE, the company also plans to sell natural gas directly to end-users. This project is located in Brabant, a region in Holland. Global companies such as Abbot, GE Healthcare, Aspen Pharma, Amgen, Janssen and Merck have established operations in the region. The company believes that this region has great potential for the sale of natural gas to industrial and retail customers.
Receiving the SDE Grant from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency is a major milestone in the development of the proposed Sterksel biogas facility. Blue Sphere has been working with EPC contractors and will now focus on finalizing an agreement with the EPC partner. The company also has been working on completing the permitting process for the project and has identified Feedstock Suppliers. Additionally, the company will now work on finalizing the Feedstock Agreements, as well as arranging for project finance solutions to allow it to begin construction. Once financing is in place, the construction of this facility can take between 12 to 18 months to complete.
"We are very excited to have won this important Grant from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency. This is a key step in the execution of developing this project and we also believe that this is a key catalyst for moving forward with other waste-to-energy projects in the Netherlands,” said Shlomi Palas, the BLSP CEO. “The entire Blue Sphere team has been working very hard over the last year to bring our development pipeline to the next stage. This grant is a perfect example of our focus on developing assets with long term revenue agreements in place prior to construction or acquisition."