Cenergi RE to build 9 BTE plants with RM100m loan facility, says CEO

The firm currently owns and operates 6 biogas plants with a total capacity to generate 8.6MW of power

by AFIQ AZIZ/ pic source: www.internationalinvestor.com

CENERGI RE Sdn Bhd plans to build nine biogas-to-energy (BTE) plants after obtaining a Green Club Facility of RM100m, equally provided by MIDF Amanah Investment Bank Bhd and China Construction Bank Malaysia Bhd (CCB).

The Khazanah Nasional Bhd subsidiary which is focused on the renewable energy (RE) space, currently owns and operates six biogas plants with a total capacity to generate 8.6MW of power.

Cenergi RE group CEO Ernest Navaratnam (picture) said the BTE plants would be designed to produce an average of 1MW to 2MW and will be located in Perak, Negri Sembilan and Pahang.

“This is to accommodate our renewable power purchase agreements signed under the Sustainable Energy Development Authority programme — Feed in Tariff. It gave us between 16 to 21 years of concession period in this green IPP (independent power producer) space,” he told the press after signing the tripartite between Cenergi RE, CCB and MIDF Amanah.

Cenergi RE is one of the largest grid-connected palm oil mill effluent (POME) biogas players in the country. Ernest believes the biogas production through POME is sustainable and the company is adding two BTE plants next month.

The Green Club Facility is the first of its kind secured by Cenergi RE. It is also the first such facility issued by MIDF Amanah to the biogas segment, according to MIDF Investment Bank CEO Datuk Joseph Dominic Silva.

“Cenergi’s proven track record and impressive project pipeline underscores its standing as among the leaders in the country’s RE sector. MIDF has been among the pioneers in the provision of green financing in Malaysia,” Dominic Silva said.

CCB’s Chong Fook Jade is optimistic the loan facility could be repaid within 10 years. Cenergi RE had tried to obtain funding from the bank but due to the small scale of energy production — 1.5MW per plant — some banks were reluctant to approve financing.

“This Green Club Facility suggests we have a size that is scalable. There is the efficiency of scale and Cenergi RE can get a lot more clean energy produced,” Chong said.

“For the bank, it is either you borrow big or go home. If it is too small to look at, it is not economical,” he added.

CCB — ranked as the world’s second-largest bank — was granted a commercial bank licence by the Minister of Finance in 2016, under the Financial Services Act 2013.

Dominic Silva said MIDF is considering to finance the Large Scale Solar 3 scheme worth RM2 billion, noting there is a bidder who has offered a price as low as 17 sen to clinch the tender bid.

“So far we are not tied up to anyone yet firmly, but we are exploring it. You have to evaluate the viability of the project when the rates are that low,” he said.

Putrajaya is currently pushing for RE production to achieve its 20% target of energy coming from RE sources by 2025.