Blue Sphere lands biogas plant subsidy from Dutch government

By Anna Simet | December 15, 2016

Biogas plant developer Blue Sphere Corp. has scored Netherlands government support for development of a facility in Sterksel, the company announced Dec. 8.

The Netherlands Enterprise Agency awarded the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Blue Sphere Brabent B.V., a 12-year, €39.5 million subsidy from the Dutch government under the Sustainable Energy Production Incentive, or SDE+.

The subsidy, or feed-in tariff, is being provided through Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend, or the Netherland Enterprise Agency, part of the Ministry of Economic Affairs that assists entrepreneurs in sustainable, agrarian, innovative and international business with grants, finding business partners, knowhow and compliance with laws and regulations.

Under SDE+, producers receive a guaranteed payment for the energy generated from renewable sources. It compensates companies for the difference in price between fossil and renewable energy over a period of 8, 12 or 15 years, depending on the type of technology used and the amount of renewable energy produced.

The grant is conditioned on several factors, including that the company choosing an engineering, procurement and construction contractor for plant within one year it being awarded, and the facility must begin operating within four years of that date. Blue Sphere said that it’s been in discussions with EPC contractors and will soon begin finalizing an agreement, and that it has been working on completing the permitting process for the Sterksel project, as well as identifying feedstock suppliers and finalizing contracts.

Once financing is in place, the construction of this facility will take between 12 to 18 months to complete, according to Blue Sphere. "We are very excited to have won this important grant from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency,” said CEO Shlomi Palas. “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.  The entire Blue Sphere team has been working very hard over the last year to bring our development pipeline to the next stage.”

In the U.S., Blue Sphere recently provided updates on its 5.2-MW Charlotte, North Carolina, and 3.2-MW Johnston, Rhode Island, biogas power facilities. Charlotte is connected to the grid and all three engines are operating, and Johnston is nearing testing and commissioning phases.