The past couple of months for us have been all about contracts – editing language, making amendments, coordinating between the parties involved, and getting feedback from our Board. While we’ve been working on those documents, the Miller Waste team has been working on the designs and narrowing down its list of equipment and service providers. Everything is moving along nicely and we look forward to closing these contracts in the coming months and beginning construction in the Spring.
The highlights from the last two months included:
- Received approval from the Toronto Zoo to contract with Miller Waste for the design, construction and operation of the biogas plant. This included some amendments to our original agreements with the Zoo to reflect the changed market conditions since they were signed in 2012.
- Completed first drafts and comments on the construction and loan agreements with Miller
- Initiated discussions with Bullfrog Power about extending our current Education Sponsorship Agreement, and revamping our educational programming in 2017.
Design and Construction
As was communicated in the most recent newsletter, we executed a Term Sheet with Miller Waste Systems Inc. to Design/Build/Finance/Operate and Feed the biogas plant at the beginning of October. Since that time, we have been working on the language in the various agreements that collectively will govern our relationship during the construction and operations phase of the project. We anticipate closing these agreements early in 2017.
While this has been happening, the team at Miller has been refining the designs and budgets, and working towards making final decisions for the supply of various equipment and services. This includes recently completing an Environmental Site Assessment to get a better grasp of the local soil conditions, and initiating an application to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to allow for the use of our digestate as fertilizer at nearby farms.
We are collectively making good progress, and are still on track to begin construction in the Spring.
Bond Sales & Financing
As noted in our previous update, bond sales closed on September 30th. We don’t anticipate issuing any new bonds in the near future, but will update you if something changes.
We have, however, moved forward with a Long Term Debt provider, and have been negotiating a Term Sheet with them, that we anticipate will be signed early in the new year. Ultimately, it’s our plan to execute the binding loan documents at the same time that we execute the construction and operations contracts with Miller.
As previously communicated, Miller’s role in the project alleviates the need for ZooShare to seek out and secure high quality feedstock from other producers. We continue to maintain our relationships and agreements at the current time, and will work together with Miller to bring in any additional waste producers. To ZooShare, these represent excellent sponsorship opportunities, and we are hopeful of adding at least one additional sponsor to the project in 2017, whether it is feedstock provider or another company working in a related sector.
Speaking of sponsors, we sat down with Bullfrog Power this past quarter to discuss extending our sponsorship agreement. Part of this discussion included ways to revamp and improve the educational programming currently offered, as well as planning for the post-start-up phase, which will include additional signage in the Zoo, tours and potentially an annual biogas design challenge for students. These plans are currently in development, and so we welcome any feedback and ideas. Please contact us if you’d like to get involved.
We have also been engaged in planning for the co-op’s budget and human resource needs for 2017, both of which are not substantial, as we head into the construction and operations phases of the project.