10 November 2008 – A South African renewable energy developer will benefit from an investment of up to US$150 million it was recently announced.
The investment by private equity firm, Denham Capital, into BioTherm Energy, was welcomed by minister of Minerals and Energy, Buyelwa Sonjica.
"Having opened BioTherm’s first plant just over a year ago, we are delighted with this substantial investment by Denham Capital, a major foreign investor, in a business that will generate more electricity in South Africa, contribute to the reduction of greenhouse gasses and create more jobs in the South African economy."
The 4.2MW biogas plant was opened in September 2007 and was the first private sector renewable energy project under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) at the time. BioTherm Energy is developing a number of gas co-generation, biomass and combined heat and power projects, most of which qualify under the CDM.
Small scale, on-site generation can produce electricity much quicker than conventional power plants, and can provide much needed short term relief for the current South African electricity crisis.
"Denham Capital will provide the necessary equity capital for BioTherm Energy to develop, invest or acquire projects totalling approximately 300 MW, equivalent to the electricity needed to supply about 500,000 households. Private sector investment from companies such as BioTherm Energy will be essential in addressing South Africa’s energy deficit." Said Dr. Louis van Pletsen, a Partner and Head of the London Office of Denham Capital
Says Charles Liebenberg, co-founder and CEO of BioTherm Energy, "For years South Africa has had cheap energy and an unfortunate result of this is inefficient usage. Our projects ensure that all forms of energy can be best harnessed to avoid waste, reduce carbon emissions and provide reliable power. The Power Conservation Programme, which will ration electricity supply to all consumers, reflects the severity of the power crisis in South Africa which we can help address."
Targetting energy intensive industry, BioTherm uses waste heat and gas to produce electricity or steam. The electricity is then sold to South Africa’s utility, Eskom.