German firms eye PH energy projects

Technology, equity for biomass, biogas sectors

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11:48 PM January 23rd, 2013

By: Amy R. Remo, January 23rd, 2013 11:48 PM

According to Werner Siemers, GIZ consultant for energy from biomass and biogas, the Philippines has an abundance of agricultural residues that could be used for bioenergy including rice hulls, which remain underutilized. PHOTO FROM DOST.GOV.PH

The Philippines remains a lucrative market for Germany-based technology providers looking for opportunities in the local renewable energy industry, specifically in the biomass and biogas sectors.

Representatives from eight German firms—Vastani GmbH, Eckrohrkessel GmbH, Envitec Biogas AG, GTP Solutions GmbH, Binder Gmbh, Ascentec GmbH, Novis GmbH and Pregobello GmbH—are in the country not only to share innovative knowledge to the Philippine market, but also to identify potential partners and biomass/biogas projects during a business forum held last Monday.

The “Philippine-German Forum for Energy from Biomass and Biogas,” which gathered more than 200 participants, was organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), in cooperation with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“[The German firms] were really very happy with the quality of the projects they were informed about and therefore they are very optimistic,” ECCP vice president Martial Beck said in a briefing on Wednesday. “The German companies are aware that there are really good projects here and they are willing to participate. Some of them said that they are willing to partially invest in some projects.”

Werner Siemers, GIZ consultant for energy from biomass and biogas, noted that the Philippines was fortunate to have all the tools that would allow the shift to renewable energy, particularly biomass and biogas.

According to Siemers, the Philippines has an abundance of agricultural residues that could be used for bioenergy such as sugarcane, rice hulls, coconut husks and farm residue materials, which remain underutilized.

The Department of Energy is targeting to add 276.7 megawatts of biomass capacity between 2011 and 2030. It has, to date, granted a total of 27 service contracts for biomass projects for grid use (186.3 MW) and 22 contracts for proponent’s own use (32.7 MW), according to Andresito Ulgado of the renewable energy management bureau at the DOE.

Ulgado added that the country’s existing potential biomass and biogas feedstock supply, which is not being fully used to date, could generate an equivalent 360 MW or 1.092 billion liters of diesel equivalent annually.

The DOE official highlighted the potential benefits of biomass and biogas facilities as these could be used for baseload power generation, directly and favorably impact income of farmers and farm workers, generate foreign exchange savings in lieu of displaced oil imports, increase local government taxes and alleviate poverty.

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