Greenleaf secures $100 million to buy, build more biomass plants

By Anna Simet | June 19, 2014

Greenleaf Power, one of the largest biomass power producers in the U.S., recently announced the closing of a $100 million growth capital facility.

The primarily purpose of the financing is to fund future growth of the Greenleaf platform, according to Robert Pennington, Greenleaf vice president of finance.

While Greenleaf’s business model to date has been centered on plant acquisitions, that strategy may expand to greenfield projects in the future. “[Greenleaf] has a large pipeline of opportunities that include acquisition of existing plants, and investment in new-build projects,” Pennington said.

The company’s first biomass power plant acquisition was the 30-MW Honey Lake plant in Wendel, California, which was purchased in 2010. Greenleaf quickly expanded its ownership of California plants over the next few years, acquiring the 19-MW Tracy Biomass Power plant in Tracy, California; the 47-MW Desert View plant in Mecca, California, the largest biomass power plant in the state; and the 28 MW Eel River plant in Scotia, California.  

In October, the company made its first purchase out of state and the U.S., the 21-MW, Quebec-based St. Félicien Cogeneration Power Plant, bringing its total North American biomass power capacity to over 145 MW.

On what’s influenced the company’s four California acquisitions, Pennington said that Greenleaf has been attracted to the state’s market due to the large inventory of existing biomass plants, the strong renewable portfolio standard (RPS), as well as a regulatory environment that provides incentives for the proper use of biomass material.

California’s RPS requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators to increase procurement from eligible renewable energy resources to 33 percent of total procurement by 2020.

Pennington added that Greenleaf expects to complete multiple additional investments in biomass plants in the next year.