The issue of investment and financing for ethanol plants and bio refineries in general was addressed today by Chris Groobey, Baker & McKenzie, LLP. He works on project financing with investors and lenders and mostly in renewable fuels. He painted a pretty bleak picture.
In fact, he says the New York investment community is not interested in biofuels right now. He says they’re tapped out and that ethanol and biodiesel are not of interest to them at all. So with that being said, what’s next? He says there needs to be a combination of making more money from existing plants by co-locating other facilities or finding other sources of income from the same plant. He also thinks there needs to be more and bigger business structures.
He says this means we’re returning to more traditional models of rural development that take a longer term view. He recommends growing local agriculturally skilled management teams with people who understand farm risk.
You can listen to my interview with Chris here:
You can also download the interview using this link (mp3).