Utilitas Group has made significant progress in Q4 towards developing the first 6 projects in its planned 100 bioHub portfolio. The Project Definition Statement for Bundaberg bioHub has been submitted to project financiers with a view to achieving financial close through September 2018. Anchor tenants for the company’s bioHub developments are now willing to pay Utilitas to prepare a business case. Cash-flow projections indicate that Utilitas will be profitable in FY2019. Three new people are expected to be added to the Utilitas team in Q1 FY2019 to support the anticipated growth.
Significant progress is being made on bringing forward the next 8 bioHubs in Utilitas’ planned “rapid 10” rollout. Utilitas anticipates having secured options around the first 10 by the end of this financial year.
Utilitas was featured in Food and Drink Business Energy Edition in March, and as a result received considerable increase in enquiry from high quality counterparties. There is now a willingness to from potential “anchor tenants” of Utilitas’ bioHubs to pay the cost of development to financial close. Policy settings are also becoming more favourable to for the dispatchable, flexible power that can be produced and pressure is increasing on the waste industry to secure more sustainable disposal options for organic waste streams.
Utilitas Group’s Casino bioHub is progressing towards financial close. Its Bundaberg bioHub is being advanced with the assistance of funding from the Queensland Government Biofutures Acceleration Program (BAP). Utilitas will be relocating its laboratory to Bundaberg in February establishing its physical presence in regional Queensland.
Demand for new regional infrastructure such as Utilitas bioHubs that convert organic waste to energy, jobs and value is building as industry and communities experience increased pressure from electricity and gas prices and supply risks.
On the 14th September The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk (Premier and Minister for the Arts) and The Honourable Dr Anthony Lynham (Minister for Natural Resources and mines) announced the Queensland Government’s support, through the $4m Biofutures Acceleration Program (BAP) for the Bundaberg bioHub, an $18m biorefinery project being developed, over 3 stages by Utilitas Group.
The BAP funding will allow Utilitas to accelerate the development of the Project Definition Statement required by project investment partner DomaCom to commence a crowd funding campaign along the lines of that already underway for the Casino bioHub project in Northern NSW.
The Company’s 25% held Utilitas Group Pty Ltd (Utilitas) and fractional investment fund manager DomaCom Australia Limited have launched Australia’s first crowd-funding campaign to secure a site at Casino, northern NSW and develop a bioHub to service the energy needs of its nearby industries and community. This exciting “new-age” energy project aims to raise $4.3m for the land and the development costs, after which Utilitas will enter into a 10-year lease to operate the bioHub.
The daily run of news headlines about electricity, gas and network crises is a strong signal that the time is right to roll out Utilitas’ pipeline of bioHub projects. Utilitas has mapped, scoped and assessed more than 200 opportunities. The first three in Australia are progressing towards financial close.
Utilitas has progressed the bankable feasibility studies (BFS) for the first two bioHub projects proposed for the company’s own asset portfolio. Front End Engineering design (FEED) is underway for the first stage of bioHub project, located in regional Queensland. Discussions with key counterparties regarding project structuring and construction funding has commenced. It is proposed that Utilitas will have an equity interest in the bioHubs following construction.
During the quarter Utilitas has secured commitments from key counterparties and commenced Bankable Feasibility Studies (BFSs) for the first two bioHub projects. It is intended that project finance be raised off the back of the two BFSs in 2017 to fund the design and construction of the bioHubs, both of which are located in regional Queensland. It is proposed that Utilitas will have an equity interest in the bioHubs following construction.
With its investment in Utilitas Group Pty Ltd in July this year, the company aims to expand its energy portfolio by gaining a foothold into the relatively under-developed but potentially significant biogas sector in Australia.
Closing the Company’s investment in September has enabled Utilitas to add two key sales people to the team. Both are based in NSW reflecting the growing importance of executing sales contracts around their opportunities in both NSW and QLD. The investment has enabled the Utilitas team to maintain a focus toward securing commitments from key counterparties for bioHub* projects.
*A bio hub is a system where Councils and private businesses cooperate to recover the highest value from regional waste streams, offering new industry opportunities, revenue generation and bioenergy opportunities. (Definition by
Regional Development Australia).
Biogas is produced from a range of feedstock materials and the result is a combination of gases such as methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen which all have commercial uses for energy use. The by-products of the biogas process provide products such as fertilisers which can be used for a variety of commercial purposes