Blue Sphere receives financing commitment for N.C. biogas project
Blue Sphere Corp. has announced that its Charlotte, N.C., project, a 5.2 MW organics-to-energy anaerobic digester, has received a signed commitment letter from Caterpillar Financial Services Corp., the financial arm of Caterpillar Inc., to provide $17.785 million in debt financing. Blue Sphere has accepted the commitment letter and has paid a non-refundable commitment fee of $177,852 to Cat Financial. This commitment is 100 percent of the debt financing required for the project.
Blue Sphere, along with its partner, Biogas Nord, AG of Germany, is acting as integrator of the Charlotte project, through its joint venture company, Bino Sphere. Biogas Nord has designed and built over 400 waste-to-energy plants in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. With the debt financing now committed, Blue Sphere is in the process of completing all closing conditions, including investment tax credit monetization, feedstock supply and permits. Blue Sphere expects to break ground on construction in the third quarter of 2013. Upon the completion of the Charlotte project, expected in the third quarter of 2014, Blue Sphere will continue as project manager and retain a 37.5 percent ownership position in the Charlotte project.
"This commitment letter from Cat Financial means that 100 percent of the debt project financing is now committed to our 5.2 MW organics-to-energy project,” said Shlomi Palas, CEO of Blue Sphere. “Our next step is to prepare and enter into final definitive agreements with Cat Financial to start the disbursement of cash and commence construction. The terms of the commitment letter give us until Aug. 14, 2013 to close. Commencement of construction will, in turn, enable Blue Sphere to begin earning revenue pursuant to the terms of our joint venture with Biogas Nord. Once the project is commissioned, which should take up to 12 months from the start of construction, Blue Sphere will start earning operating and management revenue from the sale of contracted electricity into the local grid owned by Duke Energy Inc. In parallel, Blue Sphere continues to make progress on the implementation of our second project, a 3.2 MW organics to energy anaerobic digester project in Rhode Island. We expect the second project could begin construction by the end of 2013."