Equis Development Pte Ltd (Equis), an Asia-Pacific renewable energy and waste infrastructure developer, has announced it has secured US$ 282 million (JPY 31.0 billion) of non-recourse project financing for the 50 MW Niigata East Port Biomass Power Plant in Niigata, Japan. The non-recourse project financing was committed by 14 syndication banks and insurance companies, led by Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank and Daishi Hokuetsu Bank.
Equis has issued notice to proceed for commencement of engineering, procurement, and construction work. Construction work onsite will commence in May 2022 and the project is scheduled to commence commercial operation in October 2024. The project is Equis’ third sustainable biomass project in Japan.
Equis has divested a 20% interest in the project and formed a joint venture with Tohoku Electric Power Co Inc (Tohoku Electric). Tohoku Electric will act as owner’s engineer during the design and construction of the project and will operate the project under a long-term operations and maintenance agreement. Tohoku Electric owns and operates 11 299 MW of thermal power stations, including the Higashi-Niigata Thermal Power Station with a gross permitted capacity of 4860 MW, situated less than 4 km from the project site.
Toyo Engineering has been selected to engineer, procure, and construct the project under a fixed time, fixed price, and turnkey contract, while Andritz AG and Siemens Energy AG will supply the circulating fluidised boiler island and steam turbine through Toyo Engineering respectively. All three companies have considerable experience building biomass power plants globally, and are currently designing, constructing, or commissioning eight other 50 MW - 75 MW biomass power plants in Japan, including two developed by Equis.
The project will sell 100% of power produced to a wholly owned subsidiary of Tohoku Electric as part of a 20-year, fixed tariff power purchase agreement under Japan’s renewable energy fixed feed-in-tariff regime.
The project will generate all electricity from sustainable wood pellets or palm kernel shells certified for chain of custody by independent certification organisations recognised by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and supplied by a large Japanese trading company under a 20-year, fixed quantity and fixed price contract. The energy produced will supply the needs of approximately 117 000 households and will save approximately 190 000 tpy of greenhouse gas emissions.
Hiroyuki Moriuchi, Equis’ Japan-based Investment Director, said: “We are thrilled to be partnering with Tohoku Electric, the largest power producer in the region, to deliver a modern and clean base load renewable power project to Niigata. Tohoku Electric is well respected in the region with a community-first approach as the project owner’s engineer, operation and maintenance provider. The 50 MW Niigata East Port Biomass Power Plant is Equis’ third sustainable biomass project in Japan and will utilise existing industrial infrastructure to create opportunities for the local community in the long term.”
Equis employs a regional team of professionals specialised in developing and operating biomass, renewables, and waste management businesses, including 36 based in Japan. Equis plans to commit over US$2 billion into the renewable energy and waste related infrastructure sectors across Australia, Japan, and South Korea over the next two years. In Japan, Equis is currently developing a fourth project, the 50 MW Tomatoh Biomass Power Plant in Tomakomai, Hokkaido, which is expected to issue notice to proceed by the end of the year.
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