Thai firm mulls over wind power in MindoroBy Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Electricity Generating Public Co. Ltd. (Egco) of Thailand is conducting due diligence for a possible investment in a wind power project in Oriental Mindoro as part of expansion efforts in the Philippines.
“We’re doing some due diligence right now. We’re hoping that we can make something happen very quickly,” said Frank Thiel, managing director of Quezon Power (Philippines) Limited Co., a unit of Egco.
Thiel, however, declined to reveal how much Egco would put into the project, citing confidentiality agreements.
“But we’re excited about the opportunity. We’re hoping to make it happen,” Thiel said.
The 48-megawatt wind power project being developed by Philippine Hybrid Energy System Inc. is estimated to cost a total of P6 billion. It involves a three-phase development plan and is expected to be the largest so far in the country.
While seeking new projects and possible acquisitions, Egco also wants to partner with Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) for Quezon Power’s plant expansion, Thiel said.
Egco wants Meralco as an offtaker and partner for the 500-megawatt (MW) second phase of its coal-fired power plant in Mauban, Quezon, Thiel said.
Quezon Power’s existing facility comprises a 460 MW coal-fired electric generating facility and a 31-kilometer transmission line.
Construction of Quezon Power’s second unit may take about three years. Financing will come mostly from cash-rich local banks. But the power firm is also looking abroad for complementary and competitive deals, Thiel said.
The recent release of feed-in tariffs (FIT) has sparked greater interest in renewable energy, said Jose Layug Jr., Department of Energy undersecretary.
BDO Capital & Investment Corp., the investment arm of BDO Unibank Inc., is among those that have shown interest in renewable energy projects. The release of FIT rates makes BDO Capital “more comfortable” with renewable energy projects although it wants to see the implementing rules to guide the company in exploring opportunities, BDO Capital president Eduardo Francisco said.
In the meantime, “we’re talking to two wind developers with maybe at least 100 MW combined. In addition to EDC [Energy Development Corp.] there are two other companies,” Francisco said.
The FIT scheme, required under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, guarantees returns for renewable energy firms through fixed rates to be shouldered by consumers.
Approved FIT rates, which are lower than those proposed in 2011, are at P5.90 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) for run-of-river hydropower, P6.63 per kwh for biomass, P8.53 per kwh for wind, and P9.68 per kwh for solar.
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