ERC to investigate solar subsidy award:
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said it will investigate the second phase of subsidy awards for solar projects after participants complained of “irregularities.”
“We will investigate because stakeholders are forcing the Department of Energy (DOE) to make a clear stand, saying DOE was not transparent enough in awarding the feed in tariff (FIT),” said Alfredo Non, ERC commissioner.
FIT is the rate the government assures solar energy providers will be paid on top of their being the priority in joining the wholesale electricity market.
Non said while investigation is ongoing, only “regular COCs (certificates of compliance) will be given to those who applied for FIT-COCs.”
A COC is needed before a power plant can start commercial operations. It is a certificate that says operators can produce safe and dependable energy. A FIT-COC, on the other hand, allows FIT-certified plants to collect their fixed power rates under the law.
FIT-eligible plants are assured of fixed rates, currently at P9.68 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for the first batch of solar projects and P8.69 per kWh for the second batch.
The Philippine Solar Power Alliance (PSPA) complained the DOE “deliberated far too long” in announcing those who qualified for the second phase of FIT.
Since the game to qualify for the FIT is a “race,” first to be operational gets the subsidized rate, many companies were operational before the deadline of March 15, 2016.
But PSPA complained the DOE released the names of the qualified companies late in June or three months after the deadline.
The stakeholders then said the choice was not “transparent enough and took too long.” They feared that “irregularities” could have happened.
They also complained that far too many participants who joined the race did not qualify.
The stakeholders said the “race” format led to oversubscription – an event they said was caused by the government.
Non said ERC will be waiting for DOE’s final say on the issue. ERC will verify information submitted by involved companies, such as the dates that are crucial to be qualified under the FIT.
Last June, a total of 17 projects with an overall capacity of 417.05 megawatts (MW) were identified by the DOE to be qualified for the second round which now brings the total capacity of solar projects benefitting from FIT at 525.95 MW.
Among the biggest plants that were included in the list are the 132.5 MW of Helios Solar Energy Corp. in Negros Occidental, 63.3 MW of Solar Philippines in Batangas and the 50.07 MW of PetroSolar Corp. in Tarlac.
Other projects that were included in the list are the 2.04 MW from Absolut Distillers Inc., 2.66 MW from the second phase of Energy Development Corp., 5.02 MW from Solar Powered Agri-Rural Communities Corp., 6.23 MW from Vogt Philippine Solar Energy One Inc., 8.5 MW from Valenzuela Solar Energy Inc., 10.26 MW from First Cabanatuan Renewable Ventures Inc., 10.49 MW from Asian Greenergy Corp., 13.14 MW from RASLAG Corp., 14.51 MW from YH Green Eenrgy Inc., 15 MW from Bulacan Solar Energy Corp., 18 MW from Monte Solar Energy Inc., 20 MW from Mirae Asia Energy Corp., 22.33 MW from Enfinity Philippine Renewable Resources Inc. and 23 MW from San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. phase three.
In the first round of FIT for solar, seven solar plants with a total capacity of 108.9 MW were approved with a higher incentive rate.
Industry sources have said as much as 800 MW of solar projects were developed in hopes of being qualified under the said incentive but only the first 500 MW were included.
The PSPA already suggested to government for it to move away from its current race setup in awarding FIT incentives to avoid oversubscription like what was experienced by the solar power industry.
“The build first policy is structured for an oversubscription because once you do not control the issuance of the contracts from the beginning, the oversubscription is inevitable. There has to be a review of the build first. FIT 2 (for solar is) a glaring example of how the effect of build first really hit investors,” said Tetchi Capellan, PSPA president.
As of first half of the year, the total installed capacity of solar power plants is at 684 MW, a 314.5 percent growth compared to the previous year’s 165 MW.-- Jed Macapagal
Bronzeoak completes 4 solar projects:
MANILA, Philippines – Renewable energy developer Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. has completed four solar-powered projects with a total capacity of 98 megawatts with its partners.
In a statement, Bronzeoak said all four plants are registered under the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market and are tested and approved for full power export by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).
“As required by Department of Energy and NGCP, all four plants can be independently verified by the grid system operator as operating and exporting power from each and every one of its power generating inverters, all well before the March 15 deadline to avail of the feed-in tariff (FIT) mechanism,” the company said.
The FIT scheme is a set of incentives given to power developers for constructing the more expensive renewable energy (RE) plants.
For solar technology, developers were given until March 15, 2016 to complete and produce power from their projects to be eligible to receive the new P8.69 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) FIT rate in the second round of FIT for the RE resource.
The first solar project completed among the Bronzeoak’s list is the 18-MW joint solar farm with AC Energy Holdings Inc., the power unit of the Ayala Corp.
The facility, under the joint venture firm Monte Solar Energy Inc. (Montesol), is located in Bais City, Negros Oriental, near the Cebu-Negros undersea cable to supply the rapidly growing daytime power requirements of Dumaguete and Cebu.
In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Ayala Corp. said the solar farm was completed and energized last month.
“Montesol met all the requirements set forth by the DOE and the NGCP and has since been dispatching the full 18 MW to the grid,” it said.
The conglomerate also disclosed the 18-MW facility is the “first phase of the targeted total of 50 MW solar power farms to be completed by the joint venture.”
The next three plants, with a total capacity of 80 MW and all located in Negros Occidental, are owned by Negros Island Solar Power Inc. (IslaSol), a joint venture between Bronzeoak, the Macquarie managed Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI) Fund, and Dutch pension fund manager APG.
Bronzeoak said these plants, which include an 18-MW and an 14-MW plant located in La Carlota City and a 48-MW located in the municipality of Manapla, “have also met all the DOE and NGCP requirements and are currently providing daytime power to the seven million people living in Negros Occidental and Panay’s four provinces.”
This new batch of solar plants is the second partnership between Bronzeoak and the PINAI Fund. The first was the 45-MW Sacasol plant in San Carlos City which started operations in 2014.
PINAI’s investors include the Government Service Insurance System, Asian Development Bank, APG Asset Management, and Macquarie.-- Danessa Rivera
Ayala-Bronzeoak’s Negros solar power venture starts operations:
AYALA CORP. (AC) and its partner commenced the operation of the initial phase of a solar power project that expanded the energy portfolio of the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate beyond wind and coal.
Ayala, through AC Energy Holdings, Inc., and Bronzeoak Clean Energy, Inc. completed their 18-megawatt (MW) solar power farm last month, the former told the stock exchange yesterday. The project has been dispatching its entire capacity to the grid since then.
Monte Solar Energy, Inc. (MonteSol), the joint venture firm that owns and operates the solar farm, complied with all the requirements of the Department of Energy and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, the conglomerate said.
Located in Negros Oriental, the project is near the Cebu-Negros undersea cable and helps supply the growing daytime power requirements of Dumaguete and Cebu.
Built at a cost of P1.3 billion, the 18-MW project is the first phase of a 50-MW solar power farm that the joint venture has committed to complete.
Asked when MonteSol intends to start the expansion of the project, AC Energy Chief Executive Officer John Eric T. Francia said in a mobile phone message yesterday: “[We] will wait for guidance from government regarding FIT (feed-in tariff) policy moving forward.”
The FIT system offers cost-based compensation to renewable energy generators, providing price certainty and long-term contracts that help finance investments in clean energy. Solar projects are guaranteed to receive payment of P8.69 for each kilowatt hour they generate.
The venture with Bronzeoak signaled the Ayala group’s foray into solar power since much of the Ayala group’s renewable energy projects in the past years were wind farms -- the Bangui farm in Ilocos Norte and another in Pagudpud also in northern Philippines.
AC Energy also owns coal projects.
In 2014, Ayala dropped a project with Mitsubishi Corp. of Japan for the development of a 35-MW solar power farm in Davao, saying that the “economics of solar is difficult.”
The project with Ayala is part of four solar farms with a total capacity of 98-MW that was recently completed by Bronzeoak, builder of the 45-MW San Carlos Energy project -- the country’s first solar farm, the latter said in a statement.
Bronzeoak’s Negros Occidental solar facility was the first to avail of the premium rate for solar projects under the FIT scheme.
Shares in Ayala added P5 or 0.69% to close at P725 each on Tuesday.-- Krista A. M. Montealegre
Energy projects dominate BoI investment approvals in 2015:
THE DEPARTMENT of Trade and Industry (DTI) yesterday outlined its accomplishments last year, including an increase in the capital infusions coursed through its investment promotion arm and the country’s export-oriented economic zones, as well as the jobs they created.
Trade Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal, Jr. said the Board of Investments (BoI) approved a total of P366.74 billion worth of investments last year, up 3% from a year earlier.
“The aggregated investment approvals were generated from 358 projects with an estimated 58,252 new jobs when these investments become fully operational,” he said in a briefing yesterday.
The approval of big power projects largely contributed to the increase. The projects include the Olympia Violago Water & Power Ltd. Co. at P69.13 billion, San Buenaventura Power Ltd. Co. at P49.45 billion, and Semirara Mining and Power Corp. at P29.50 billion.
Of the new projects, energy-related ventures accounted for 55 with a total investment of P246.42 billion. These projects are expected to have a total generating capacity of 2,095.92 megawatts (MW).
In 2014, the comparative figures were P174.69 billion from 37 projects with a total capacity of 1,542.4 MW.
Ceferino S. Rodolfo, who has been named officer-in-charge undersecretary for industry development, said the increase in energy investment bodes well for the country’s goal to ensure energy security and independence.
These investments support the Philippine Energy Plan 2010-2030 to search for, discover, and further develop energy sources,” said Mr. Rodolfo, a former assistant secretary who is now also BoI managing head.
DTI-attached agency Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) also reported higher investments last year -- by 5.6% to P295.09 billion from P279.48 billion in 2014.
Lilia B. De Lima, PEZA director-general, said the new capital represented the 598 new projects approved by the agency, which helps to promote investments in the export-oriented manufacturing industry.
Ms. De Lima said the PEZA-registered projects created 1.243 million new jobs as of October, up 7.7% from 1.154 million in the same period in 2014.
These projects are expected to contribute $36.63 billion in export revenues as of October, slightly lower than the $36.84 billion in in 2014.
For this year, Mr. Cristobal said the department will continue with the implementation of the manufacturing resurgence program (MRP), which has a budget of P289 billion this year, up from P239 billion in 2015.
He said key government agencies will have projects and programs to implement under the MRP, ranging from infrastructure development to “soft interventions” like training and capacity-building.
He said the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) program is the core of the resurgence program, which the DTI is heading and plans to replicate to three to five other selected industries.
“We believe it will achieve long-term inclusive growth, and much-needed quality jobs... sustaining the competitiveness of the country,” he said.
The CARS program aims to enhance the competitiveness of the Philippines as a top destination for regional car manufacturing by providing fiscal support of up to P27 billion.
Mr. Cristobal also said the micro, small and medium enterprises “are and should be” the core of the department’s policies, programs and activities.
“We intend to strengthen this core,” he said, starting by reclassing micro and small enterprises as separate from medium-sized businesses because the support given to them are different.
On consumer protection, Mr. Cristobal said the department would be tweaking its advocacy and communications campaign to raise quality consciousness among consumers.
Victorio Mario A. Dimagiba, undersecretary for consumer protection group, provided an update on the case involving alleged incidents of sudden and unintended acceleration raised by some drivers of Mitsubishi Motors Philippines Corp.’s Montero Sport unit.
The department recommended tapping third-party experts to further investigate the reported incidents. It is also looking at tapping foreign laboratory to do the tests.
The probe will determine whether a recall of Montero Sport units is warranted. -- Victor V. Saulon
PH could become top RE producer:
THE Department of Energy (DOE) is targeting to make the Philippines the world’s number one renewable energy producer in the coming years.
Energy Undersecretary Donato Marcos said there are various RE projects that are in the pipeline that would help realize this goal.
He said these include an additional 1,495 megawatts (MW) of geothermal energy and 5,400 MW of hydro power.
The country is also vying to be the number one wind energy producer in Southeast Asia with up to 2,500 MW in capacity, he said.
Power from biomass is expected to increase by 265 MW, solar by at least 280 MW and ocean energy by at least 10 MW, the DOE official said.
“We urge more private investments in the energy sector and the timely installation of the committed projects,” Marcos said during the Energy Investment Forum in Makati City.
Marcos said there is a huge opportunity for the development of RE resources in the country, citing the existence of the RE law including the various mechanisms such as the feed-in tariff and net metering schemes as incentives.
To date, Marcos said at least 616 RE projects have been awarded with a potential capacity of 12,138 MW and installed capacity of 2,950 MW.
He also noted that the Luzon and Visayas grids need more capacity.
“For the Mindanao grid, we need to have a balanced energy mix and crucial is the installation of the transmission network,” he added.
The country has a total installed capacity of 18,445 MW with a dependable capacity of 15,838 MW.
To date, 34 percent of the installed power plants in the country are provided by coal. It is followed by oil at 17 percent, hydro at 19 percent, natural gas at 17 percent, geothermal at 10 percent, wind at 1 percent, biomass at 0.7 percent and solar at 0.47 percent.
Marcos said the Luzon and Visayas grids are interconnected thru high voltage direct current transmission lines, while Mindanao’s transmission network and interconnection to the other grids are currently under study by the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines and expected to be in place by 2020.-- RITCHIE A. HORARIO
Macquarie fund buys majority interest in Negros solar plant:
THE PHILIPPINE Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI) has acquired a majority stake in a solar power plant in Negros Occidental province, building up its investment in renewal energy in the country.
With the acquisition of the 80-megawatt (MW) Negros Island Solar Power, Inc. (islaSol), infrastructure fund PINAI brings its solar assets in the Philippines to 125 MW. The deal comes after it acquired the 45-MW San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc. (Sacasol) also in the same province.
In a statement, Bronzeoak Philippines said that it remains a shareholder and the operator of islaSol, a power plant that it developed. The project comprises two solar farms in Negros Occidental, with 32 MW located in La Carlota and 48 MW in Manapla. Both plants are under construction and are scheduled to be finished in early 2016.
PINAI, which has $625 million for infrastructure investment, is managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA). It is a partnership among the Government Service Insurance System, Macquarie Group and Asian Development Bank.
In the statement, Bronzeoak Philippines also said APG Asset Management had acquired a minority stake in islaSol alongside PINAI. It described APG as a strong supporter of increased investments in sustainable energy generation.
The Sacasol and islaSol solar farms are eligible for the government’s feed-in tariff program, a scheme that requires the power sector to source electricity from renewable energy generation at a guaranteed fixed price for a given period.
Jose Maria P. Zabaleta, Bronzeoak Philippines president, said: “PINAI’s acquisition of islaSol represents the fund’s strong commitment to building the country’s clean energy infrastructure. We are delighted to expand our partnership with the country’s leading infrastructure fund, its investors, as well as with its manager, MIRA, a global leader in infrastructure investment and asset management,”
Construction at islaSol’s sites started in August 2015. When connected, the farms are expected to supply over 120,000 kilowatt-hour of daytime peak power to the Luzon-Visayas grid. The Sacasol and islaSol plants are estimated to deliver electricity to around 200,000 homes.
In mid-October, the president of German company Conergy Asia & ME Pte. Ltd. identified the two solar power plants as the new contracts it had won. It said it had been providing technical and consultancy services to Bronzeoak Philippines together with a local service contractor for the operation of the Sacasol plant.
“With the signing of these two new contracts, by early 2016 Conergy would have built a total of 274 MWp [megawatt-peak] of solar capacity in the Philippines, sufficient to supply over 171,300 homes in the country,” Conergy’s Alexander Lenz had said. -- Victor V. Saulon
Conergy clinches deal for 2 Negros solar plants:
GERMANY’S Conergy AG has closed a deal with a Visayan joint venture to build two new solar power plants in La Carlota and Manapla in Negros Occidental.
Alexander Lenz, president of Conergy’s Asia and Middle East unit, said during a media briefing yesterday that the added capacity of the two power plants would be sufficient to provide power to over 171,300 homes by 2016.
The contracts with Negros Island Solar Power Inc., or islaSol, brings Conergy’s installed capacity in the Philippines to 201 megawatts-peak (MWp), the maximum output of its photovoltaic power plants.
The combined 62 MWp capacity for islaSol comes in addition to the six other solar projects Conergy has closed previously, including 50 MWp in Tarlac, 13 MWp in Pampanga, 18 MWp in Bais, Negros, 15 MWp in Bulacan and 43 MWp at two locations in Luzon and the Visayas.
Negros Occidental’s islaSol is a joint venture between the Philippine Investment Alliance for Insfrastructure, a fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure Management (Asia) Pty Ltd., and Bronzeoak Philippines, which develops and implements renewable energy projects.
Mr. Lenz said the expansion was important in driving solar energy’s role in coping with expectations of rising energy demand.
"With our international presence and extensive solar capabilities, customers like islaSol are able to leverage on our global resources and benefit from out economies of scale," he said.
The two new solar power projects are expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year. The first of the two new sites, in La Carlota, will have an installed capacity of 14 MWp, an extension of an 18-MWp solar power plant Conergy is currently building in the area. The company expects the new site to produce 20,631 megawatt hours of clean electricity and save 12,646 tons of carbon emissions. The plants, which spans 204,553 square meters, will generate capacity to power around 8,600 homes, the company said.
The site in Manapla will have an installed capacity of 48 MWp. The plant is located in a 634,514-square meter property and will generate 73,864 megawatt hours per year, equivalent to powering 30,777 households annually, based on company estimates. Conergy placed the plant to cut the country’s carbon footprint at 45,279 tons of carbon emissions.
Conergy’s completed solar power projects in the Philippines make the country fifth-largest among the 16 countries where it has exposure. But unlike number three Thailand where growth in capacity has stalled, solar power output in the Philippines has increased significantly, Mr. Lenz said. In Conergy’s list, the Philippines is next only to the United Kingdom, Germany, Thailand and the combined United States and Canada.
Mr. Lenz said there is scope for growth in solar power in the Philippines as 10% of its population still has no access to electricity.
In a statement, islaSol President Jose Maria P. Zabaleta said: "Our partnership with Conergy has contributed to the successful implementation of our solar projects and we are delighted to have them on board to continue the quality design and engineering for islaSol."
In Southeast Asia, Conergy has also closed new contracts in Thailand and Indonesia to bring its additional capacity in the region to 231 MWp in the past three months alone. -- Victor V. Saulon
San Carlos expands:
San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. on Friday announced the completion its solar plant expansion to 45 megawatts in Negros Occidental last week.
SaCaSol said in a statement the completion made the plant the largest solar power farm in the country.
The company also announced recently that the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure fund, managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, completed the acquisition of a majority stake in SaCaSol.
PINAI’s investors include the Government Service Insurance System, Asian Development Bank, Langoer Investments Holdings B.V. and Macquarie.
Financing of SaCaSol’s solar farm was provided by previous shareholders ThomasLloyd CTI Asia and the Bank of the Philippine Islands.
SaCaSol was developed by Bronzeoak Philippines, which continues to be shareholder and operator of SaCaSol.
The solar farm is located in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, an emerging green city quickly being known as the renewable energy center of the Visayas.
Macquarie-managed fund acquires SaCaSol:
A FUND managed by the Macquarie group has completed the acquisition of a majority stake in San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SaCaSol), whose farm was expanded last week to hit its maximum capacity of 45 megawatts.
“In doing so, SaCaSol goes from being the first, to also currently the largest solar power farm in the country,” the firm said in a statement on Friday.
The 70-hectare solar farm is located in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, which is becoming “the renewable energy center” of the Visayas region. It is also found within the 405-hectare San Carlos Economic Zone.
Inaugurated in May 2014, the solar farm is composed of around 175,000 panels. It provides electricity to over 100,000 homes and supplies daytime peak power to the Visayas Grid.
SaCaSol said the investors of Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI) fund, which is managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets, include the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), Asian Development Bank (ADB), Langoer Investments Holdings B.V., and Macquarie.
Meanwhile, it was SaCaSol’s previous shareholder ThomasLloyd CTI Asia -- along with the Bank of the Philippine Islands-which provided the financing for the construction of the plant.
Bronzeoak Philippines developed SaCaSol to meet the country’s target of 500 megawatts of solar power by March 2016. It remains a shareholder and operator.
“Bronzeoak has several other solar plants under construction, all of which are expected to be operational by March 2016,” SaCaSol said. -- Daphne J. Magturo
500MW solar race may miss March 2016 deadline:
The scale of commercial development of solar technology will likely miss the 500-megawatt target on the March 15, 2016 cut-off date set by government regulators.
This was indicated to the media by Department of Energy (DOE) director Mario Marasigan, explaining that one of the major hurdles had typically been on land acquisition for the location of the facilities.
“The race is ongoing…but conservatively, it might not reach 500MW on March 15, 2016, some projects might be delayed,” the energy official has noted.
Previously, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has approved additional capacity installation of solar developments that must be supported by feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentives. It was increased by 450MW from just at 50MW originally.
There was a condition though that these developers must meet the March 15, 2016 ‘commercial operation declaration’ deadline so they can avail of the prescribed second wave of FIT at P8.69 per kWh. Failing that, the successive incentives will be set lower.
Marasigan has emphasized that many project sponsors are currently advancing construction and installation of their facilities, yet he stressed that “still, the industry concern is: when are they going to finish?”
He said that local approvals, primarily on location issues, have been gridlocks in project implementations.
Marasigan has cited in particular that a strip of property could delay a project in entirety if the landowner will not agree to a purchase arrangement.
“Solar installation is land-intensive, so even if there’s just one hectare that would have some issues, they could delay the development framework of projects,” he stressed.
The solar race, he said, had reportedly been on various stages of developments – and the 500MW could have been easily achieved without the side concerns.
There have been indications though that the 23MWexpansion of the San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SaCaSol) project will likely make it again to this second wave of the solar development contest.
It was gathered that the technical evaluation team had already been deployed to validate and re-assess the project’s progress onward to targeted completion by the fourth quarter of this year.
ThomasLloyd CTI Asia Holdings Pte Ltd Announces the Sale of San Carlos Solar Energy Inc to Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI):
ThomasLloyd today confirms the sale of San Carlos Solar Energy Inc (SaCaSol) to PINAI. As part of the transaction, ThomasLloyd is selling its stake in the grid-connected 22 MW first phase and substantially completed 23 MW second phase solar facility at San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, Philippines. ThomasLloyd will retain ownership with its local partner, Bronzeoak Philippines Inc, of the proposed 32 MW solar facility at La Carlota and the 48 MW solar facility at Manapla also on Negros Occidental.
ThomasLloyd was advised by BPI Capital Inc. on the transaction. Further terms were not disclosed.
ThomasLloyd Group is a leading global investment and advisory firm, solely dedicated to the renewable energy sector in Asia. The company is based in London and Zurich, as well as 14 other locations in 8 different countries in North America, Europe and Asia. The services it provides encompass capital raising, M&A and corporate finance for private and stock-market-listed companies, project financing and management for project developments, and investment consulting, wealth management and funds for private and institutional investors. The ThomasLloyd Group has 180 employees and currently manages assets worth more than three billion US dollars. For more information visit: http://www.thomas-lloyd.com
The Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI) is a 10 year, closed-end fund, dedicated to equity investments in Philippine infrastructure. The fund had its first and final close in July 2012, raising PHP 26 billion of commitments. The manager of the fund is Macquarie Infrastructure Management (Asia) Pty Limited Singapore Branch (MIMAL), a member of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA). -- SOURCE ThomasLloyd
BPI extends additional P500-M funding for solar expansion project:
A third financing installment of P500 million will be extended by the Ayala-led Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) for the solar expansion project of San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc.
In a statement issued in Switzerland by SaCaSol project equity holder Thomas Lloyd SICAV-SIF-Cleantech Infrastructure Fund, it noted that the amount represents the third installment of the financing for the solar farm projects of SaCaSol.
“With this transaction, BPI will have provided a total of P1.5 billion since July, 2014,” the European investment firm has stressed.
Notably, July, 2014 was the pioneering commercial commissioning of the first utility-scale solar power facility in the country since the passage of the Renewable Energy Act.
SaCaSol initially had 22 megawatts of capacity, but it immediately picked up pace for 9.0MW expansion which had also been set on stream last year.
Moving forward, project partner Thomas Lloyd has indicated that “a further 102MW of solar capacity in Negros is either in construction or due to start construction during 2015.”
Evidently, solar investors are having their appetites whetted with the recent decision of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on the second wave of feed-in-tariff (FIT) amounting to P8.69 per kilowatt hour – that will then cover targeted installations of 450MW for projects that could be set on-line within the cut-off date of March, 2016.
As to the third tranche of financing for the San Carlos solar venture, BPI head of corporate client segment group Daniel G. Montecillo has noted that it is thrilled “to support SaCaSol and Thomas Lloyd who have been trailblazers in solar renewable energy in the Philippines.”
It was emphasized that “the funds released by BPI, which will be used by SaCaSol to build up its solar projects more quickly, form part of the bank’s financing of country’s first utility scale solar power plant.” Primed from such, the deal is considered “a benchmark transaction in the sector.” -- Myrna Velasco
Bronzeoak expanding solar capacity to 190MW:
After cornering the first ever certificate of compliance (CoC) that warrants it for feed-in-tariff eligibility, Bronzeoak Philippines, Inc. is gathering pace on its solar venture as it gears up for capacity expansion of up to 190 megawatts (MW).
Its solar farms IA and IB under San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SaCaSol) for an aggregate capacity of 22MW have already been qualified for FIT at P9.68 per kilowatt-hour. These are the same facilities that were bestowed with the first FIT-COC by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) in a ruling issued February 16 this year.
It was qualified that the certificates were given to the project’s two phases – the first one is for 13MW which reached commercial commissioning May last year and the 9.0MW which came on stream August 2014. The company though is still set on becoming part of the expanded 500MW installation for solar technology – an investment direction cast by the Department of Energy and subsequently endorsed by the National Renewable Energy Board.
According to SaCaSol president Sech Zabaleta, “an expansion of the solar park is currently underway in San Carlos, scheduled to bring the total capacity to 45MW by the end of 2015.” He added that SaCaSol II with 32MW and SaCaSol III with 33MW capacities “are also under construction in Negros.”
The SaCaSol project vehicle, it was noted, will cover the group’s solar investment expansions in San Carlos, La Carlota and Manapla – all in Negros Occidental province.
Further, Zabaleta indicated that two other sites have also been selected “for installations totaling 80MWs,” which will then bring BP’s solar portfolio to 190MW. The company asserted that it is joining the race to bring to fruition the target of the Philippine government for solar capacity installation to higher scale.
The competition in the solar space is now being hinged on the final FIT rate that the ERC will approve. So far, the numbers being floated range from P8.50 to P9.10 per kwh.-- Myrna Velasco
Bronzeoak working on USD 233m of Philippine solar plants - report:
February 23 (SeeNews) - Bronzeoak Philippines Inc expects to complete this year a trio of Philippine solar parks for a total cost of USD 232.8 million (EUR 204.6m), a company official told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
The renewable energy projects developer has set up a joint venture with a partner, whose name has not yet been disclosed, to build a 55-MW solar power station in the province of Negros Occidental. The total investment for this project is estimated at some USD 115.5 million, director Don Mario Y Dia has said, as cited by the newspaper on Monday.
The JV, called San Carlos Sun Power Inc, is seen to secure a notice to proceed (NTP) with that project in April or May, Dia added.
At the same time, Bronzeoak Philippines' venture with asset manager Thomas Lloyd Group is working on a USD-48.3-million scheme to expand the existing 22-MW Sacasol 1 solar farm by 23 MW. Also, the Philippine company is installing a 33-MW solar plant in La Carlota for a total cost of USD 69 million.
The firm’s pipeline also includes the 18-MW Sacasol 2 and 25-MW Sacasol 3 projects in San Carlos. They will be developed later, according to the report.-- Ivan Shumkov
Power spot market ready to integrate renewable energy:
BURGOS, Ilocos Norte, Philippines – The Philippine Electricity Market Corp. (PEMC), the operator of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), said it is now ready to integrate renewable energy (RE) resources, a move that may lead to lower power rates.
“PEMC has been relentless in realizing its mandates under the RE Act and we have expressly lent out our support through various stakeholder events,” said PEMC president Melinda Ocampo.
The Renewable Energy Law of 2008 provides that all intermittent resources and feed-in-tariff qualified resources are entitled to “must dispatch” and “priority dispatch,” respectively, subject to the issuance of qualification and registration guidelines.
“This means that eligible RE resources as identified under the RE Act shall be given preference in the dispatch scheduling with the remaining obligations of these resources to submit their projected outputs,” PEMC said.
Ocampo said as a result of the preferential dispatch, eligible RE
resources would be given priority to inject to the grid as price
takers, displacing expensive fuels, which may possibly result in lower prices in the spot market as observed by other power exchanges.
Since 2012, PEMC has been crafting the appropriate framework for the implementation of the “must dispatch” and “priority dispatch” of RE resources, in accordance with the purposes of the WESM rules to encourage the use of renewable sources of energy.
In 2014, the registered capacity of RE at the WESM accounted for 428 megawatts while conventional energy accounted for 14,788 MW. This is expected to increase to 503.9 MW for RE and 15,142 MW for conventional sources.
The Department of Energy (DOE), for its part, has been pushing for the development of the RE projects in the country.
As of last month, the department has already endorsed 14 renewable energy projects to the ERC as feed-in-tariff (FIT) eligible.
The move is part of efforts to promote renewable energy in the country.
The projects – five biomass facilities, three hydropower plants, two solar plants and four wind farms – have also been issued certificates of endorsements (COE) and have a total FIT capacity of 304.051 MW, according to the DOE.
The biomass projects given COEs are: the 19-MW bagasse fired
cogeneration facility of Green Future Innovations with FIT
capacity of 3 MW; the 14.8-MW Montalban landfill methane recovery and power generation facility of Montalban Methane
Power Corp., with FIT capacity of 2.175 MW; the 1.2-MW Payatas
landfill methane recovery and power generation facility of Pangea Green Energy Philippines, with FIT capacity of 0.876 MW; the 3.6 MW biomass gasification plant of Lucky PPH International with a FIT capacity of 3.60 MW; and the 24-MW San Jose City rice husk-fired biomass plant of San Jose City I Power Corp. with FIT capacity of 9.9 MW.
The hydropower projects that received COEs are: the Irisan 1
hydroelectric plant of Hedcor Inc. with FIT capacity of 3.8 MW; the Tudaya 2 hydroelectric plant, also by Hedcor with FIT capacity of 7 MW; and the Commonal Uddiawan hydroelectric power plant of Smith Bell Mini Hydro Corp. with FIT capacity of 1.8 MW.
For solar projects, the DOE has issued COEs to the San Carlos Power project Phase A of San Carlos Solar Energy with FIT capacity of 13 MW and San Carlos Power project Phase B of the same company with FIT capacity of 9 MW.
Wind projects that received COEs are: the Bangui Bay wind power project Phase 3 of Northwind Power Development Corp. with FIT capacity of 18.9 MW; the Burgos wind project Phase 1 of Energy Development Corp. with FIT capacity of 87 MW; the Burgos wind project Phase 2, also of EDC with FIT capacity of 63 MW and the Caparispisan wind power project of North Luzon Renewable Energy Corp. with FIT capacity of 81 MW.-- Iris C. Gonzales
DOE endorses 14 RE projects for FIT eligibility:
MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Energy (DOE) has endorsed 14 renewable energy projects to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) as eligible for the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.
The move is part of efforts to promote renewable energy (RE) in the country.
The projects – five biomass facilities, three hydropower plants, two solar plants and four wind farms – have also been issued certificates of endorsements (COE) and have a total FIT capacity of 304.051 megawatts, according to the DOE.
FIT is a set of incentives given to RE players. Under this system, RE companies are entitled to the following FIT rates: P9.68 per kwh for solar power, P8.53 per kwh for wind and P5.90 per kwh for run-of-river hydroelectric power.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla is encouraging the development of more RE projects, saying the application process has been shortened to nearly 45 days from 100 days previously.
He said since last year, the DOE has been increasing the number of projects given COEs.
“This trend reflects the behavior of the energy sector as well as the entrance of new technologies that simplifies the construction of RE facilities,” Petilla said.
The DOE said with the acceleration in the processing period, more private companies are expressing interest in developing potential RE areas in the country.
The biomass projects given COEs are the 19-MW bagasse-fired cogeneration facility of Green Future Innovations Inc. with FIT capacity of three MW; the 14.8-MW Montalban landfill methane recovery and power generation facility of Montalban Methane Power Corp., with FIT capacity of 2.175 MW; the 1.2-MW Payatas landfill methane recovery and power generation facility of Pangea Green Energy Philippines Inc., with FIT capacity of 0.876 MW; the 3.6-MW biomass gasification plant of Lucky PPH International Inc. with a FIT capacity of 3.60 MW and the 24-MW San Jose City rice husk-fired biomass plant of San Jose City I Power Corp. with FIT capacity of 9.9 MW.
The hydropower projects that received COEs are the Irisan 1 hydroelectric plant of Hedcor Inc. with FIT capacity of 3.8 MW; the Tudaya 2 hydroelectric plant, also by Hedcor with FIT capacity of seven MW; and the Commonal Uddiawan hydroelectric power plant of Smith Bell Mini Hydro Corp. with FIT capacity of 1.80 MW.
For solar projects, the DOE has issued COEs to the San Carlos power project Phase A of San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. with FIT capacity of 13 MW and San Carlos power project Phase B of the same company with FIT capacity of nine MW.
Wind projects that received COEs are the Bangui Bay wind power project Phase 3 of Northwind Power Development Corp. with FIT capacity of 18.9 MW; the Burgos Wind Project Phase 1 of Energy Development Corp. with FIT capacity of 87 MW; the Burgos wind project Phase 2, also of EDC with FIT capacity of 63 MW and the Caparispisan wind power project of North Luzon Renewable Energy Corp. with FIT capacity of 81 MW.
Petilla said the DOE would continue to monitor the FIT applications alongside its campaign for sustainable development.-- Iris C. Gonzales, The Philippine Star
Conergy to develop two more plants for San Carlos Solar:
The company said it was awarded a new contract “to build two solar parks in Negros Occidental.”
“Conergy will be the turnkey contractor for these two projects, responsible for the overall planning, engineering, design, project delivery as well as the component supply for the two power plant,” the statement read.
Conergy added that it is collaborating with SCHEMA Konsult, Inc., its local partner, for the construction works.
“These two new solar plants will add a total of 41 megawatts of solar capacity to the Visayas grid after their completion in June next year,” Conergy said.
The projects involve the 23-MW expansion of Sacasol’s 22-MW solar farm in San Carlos City; and a new 18-MW solar facility in the municipality of La Carlota.
Conergy said the first project will generate 34.3 gigawatt-hours per year and could power 14,300 households. It will be located adjacent to the existing facility that started operations last May.
Sacasol is joint venture between Bronzeoak Philippines, Inc. and ThomasLloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund.
“Sacasol is moving ahead with its expansion and is excited to be doing so with Conergy, with whom it has worked well in the past,” Bronzeoak Philippines President Jose Maria P. Zabaleta, Jr. said in the same statement
“With the right partners, the projects can be delivered on time to meet the country’s growing energy needs,” he added.
For his part, Conergy Asia & Middle East President Alexander Lenz said: “We are very encouraged by the increasing recognition of the relevance of solar power in the Philippines as more developers and project sponsors ramp up their investments in utility-scale solar to meet the growing power demand in the country.”
“These two additional projects with Sacasol, which triples their solar energy capacity, not only underscore solar’s growing acceptance and strong momentum in the country but also demonstrate the improving economics of solar in the Philippines.”
Bronzeoak Philippines was established in 2003 to engage in renewable energy development.
It owns and operates an ethanol facility and cogeneration plant, through San Carlos Bioenergy, Inc., that produces 40 million liters of fuel ethanol, 40 million kilograms of sugar syrup and 60 million kilowatt- hours of electricity every year.
Its partner, ThomasLloyd Group is a European global investment banking and investment management group dedicated to projects involving renewable energy and other clean technologies.
Meanwhile, Conergy is one of the world’s largest solar companies, specializing in the design, finance, building and operation of solar systems.
Headquartered in Hamburg, the company is privately-held and majority-owned by Miami-based asset management firm Kawa Capital Management, Inc. -- Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano
Top companies, executives feted at Asia CEO Awards 2014:
IN celebration of the Philippines as a global economic powerhouse, outstanding individuals, business leaders and institutions operating locally and throughout the region were recognized on Wednesday during the gala night of the Asia CEO Awards 2014, held at the Solaire Resort & Casino in Entertainment City, Parañaque.
Impressed by the sterling credentials of this year’s winners, who have contributed significantly to the country’s continued progress, Asia CEO Awards Chairman Richard Mills told the BusinessMirror they plan to expand the annual recognition to enterprise and team leaders in Southeast Asia, in time for the upcoming regional economic integration by next year.
“The quality and diversity of companies that [made it to this year’s edition] are encouraging [us] to display them to the world,” he said. “We want people in the region to start thinking of the Philippines as a premier business destination for the entire region. So we plan to have a regional award that will promote that objective in peoples’ minds.”
While he conceded that such remains in the drawing board, he noted that next year’s awarding ceremonies “will probably include Regional Company of the Year and Regional Chief Executive Officer of the Year awards.”
The theme of this year’s Asia CEO Awards, “Emerging Asia,” he said, is a testament that the Philippines is “determined to play a big role in the global and regional economy,” especially at a time when the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations will converge as a single economic community by 2015.
“It’s definitely a very exciting time for the Philippines,” Mills said. “You have very strong Filipino companies and international companies run by Filipinos doing great jobs here.”
Now on its fifth year, the Asia CEO Awards promotes leadership excellence and team-building within organizations, and displays Filipino business accomplishment to the world’s business leaders.
Among the 12 award categories given this year, SM Prime Holdings Inc. won the top most accolade of Executive Leadership Team of the Year.
The SM Group founder and Forbes’s richest Filipino, Henry Sy Sr., was feted with special citation “Lifetime Contributor of the Year” for the private sector alongside Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. for the public sector.
Other category winners included El Nido Resorts as Hospitality Destination of the Year; Envirosite Corp. as Technology Company of the Year; and Philex Mining Corp. as Corporate Governance Company of the Year.
P.J. Lhuillier Inc. was awarded CSR Company of the Year, while San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. was named Green Company of the Year.
The Young Leader of the Year was awarded to KMC MAG Group Managing Director Michael McCullough. Lars Wittig, country manager of Regus Philippines, was honored as Expatriate Executive of the Year; and Roberto Juanchito Bispo, president of First Metro Investment Corp., was named as Global Filipino Executive of the Year.
Generika Drugstore was named Most Innovative Company of the Year; Fluor Daniel Inc.-Philippines the Quality Company of the Year; and Smart Communications Inc., Top Employer of the Year.
The awards were presented by SPi Global, Smart Communications, SHORE Solutions, Security Bank, PLDT Alpha Enterprise, Philippine Airlines, Oracle, NEC, Meralco, KPMG, Jones Lang LaSalle, FirstCarbon Solutions and Capital One. -- Roderick L. Abad
Bronzeoak, Thomas Lloyd start solar power plant expansion:
San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (Sacasol), a joint venture between Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. and European asset management firm Thomas Lloyd Group, is investing $62 million in expanding its first solar power project in Negros island.
Bronzeoak director Don Mario Y. Dia said in a briefing that Sacasol was expanding its first project (called Sacasol 1), which currently has 22MW of solar capacity (built at a cost of about $46 million), with another 23MW that will cost $62 million. In total, Sacasol 1 has a capacity of 45MW.
The company will issue the notice to proceed with its 23-MW expansion on Nov. 3 to Conergy, which is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, but is privately held and majority owned by Miami based asset management firm Kawa Capital Management, Inc.
The second unit, called Sacasol 2, will have a capacity of 18MW. A third unit, Sacasol 3, is set to be developed with a capacity of 25MW at a later time.
“The high level of support from the community and local government of San Carlos deserves credit for the plant’s quick implementation,” said Jose Maria T. Zabaleta.
The Visayas is seen to have potential for an economic boom but needs infrastructure support, particularly power generating facilities. The Thomas Lloyd Group and Bronzeoak said this created an attractive opportunity for solar development on Negros Island. The San Carlos Ecozone location also happens to be situated at the right coordinates for maximum solar radiation.
Bronzeoak, established in 2003, is a leader in the development and implementation of renewable energy projects in the Philippines, working with a broad range of international partners and investors for its ventures.
It has gathered vast experience through successful clean energy production and in 2006, completed the first sugarcane, ethanol and power cogeneration plant in Asia.
Since then, the company has expanded by developing several new renewable energy power plants to help achieve the country’s goals of energy independence and sustainability.
Bronzeoak has further diversified its business by pursuing other renewable technologies and continues to develop projects beyond the biomass sector and traditional sphere of the industry.
Thomas Lloyd is a leading global investment banking and investment management group, solely dedicated to the renewable energy sector in Asia.
The company portfolio includes Capital Raising, M&A and Corporate Finance for private and public companies, as well as project financing and management for project developers, and asset management, wealth management and funds for private customers and institutional investors. -- Riza T. Olchondra
More off-grid projects for San Carlos:
SAN CARLOS Solar Energy, Inc. will undertake more off-grid solar installations following the inauguration of its first such project at a school in Negros Occidental.
In a statement, the renewable energy developer said it is pushing for the electrification of schools located in areas not connected to the grid -- specifically those on the islands of Negros and Leyte.
The first project -- which was provided for Camaniagan Elementary School in Barangay Prosperidad, San Carlos City -- utilized a ground mounted installation within the campus.
The facility has 24 panels with total capacity of 6,000 Watt-peak. In addition, batteries were fitted to store the electricity generated by the project.
Installation started in April and ran for 12 weeks, the company said, adding that it was officially inaugurated late last month.
“Our objective is to institutionalize the community’s sustainable use of the solar panel, making it an instrumental component in energy distribution to the isolated regions of our country,” said San Carlos Solar President Jose Maria P. Zabaleta, Jr.
The company intends to install a similar project at a school in Leyte.
“If successfully implemented… this could further expand into other barangays and provinces across the country, making solar power an essential tool in education of underprivileged Filipino children,” the statement read.
San Carlos Solar is a joint venture between Bronzeoak Philippines, Inc. and ThomasLloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund.
Last January, Bronzeoak and ThomasLloyd provided $100,000 in funding to a local foundation for the electrification of the Negros Occidental school.
San Carlos Solar is behind the P1.9-billion 22-MW solar power project in San Carlos City.
The first phase of the project, involving a 13-MW plant, started operations last May, while the remaining 9 MW is expected to be operational in the coming months.
The company said the same team responsible for the project implemented the installation of the solar facility in Negros Occidental.
Conergy AG provided the photovoltaic modules for the facility, while the overall project management was handled by Bronzeoak Philippines and Schema Consult.
The joint venture also intends to build another 18-MW solar facility worth around P1.8 billion in the municipality of La Carlota in the same province.
Bronzeoak Philippines was established in 2003 to engage in renewable energy development in the country.
It owns and operates an ethanol facility and cogeneration plant, through San Carlos Bioenergy, Inc., that produces 40 million liters of fuel ethanol, 40 million kilograms of sugar syrup and 60 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year.
Meanwhile, ThomasLloyd Group is a European investment banking and investment management group dedicated to projects involving renewable energy and other clean technologies. -- Claire-Ann Marie C. Feliciano
7 firms care for 3Ps: People, planet, profit:
Somewhere near the famed underground river in Palawan is a luxury beach resort mostly powered by its own solar and wind farms. It has basins that catch rainwater, wastewater recycling and climate-friendly architecture. Out there somewhere in Ilocos Norte is a pig farm with tunnel ventilation—pretty much like large air-conditioned pens where its herd can grow faster and healthier—powered by energy generated from the manure of the same animals.
Such “green” companies do exist in the Philippines and are among the seven honored for promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy at the recently concluded Energy Smart Forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP). Other awardees include an energy-efficient cold storage chain operator, a shopping mall that upgraded its heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system to cut electricity consumption and three firms involved in the clean energy business.
“With the Energy Smart Forum and the Sustainable Energy Finance Awards, we want to show that everyone has a role to play in raising public awareness and promoting the proper use of energy, and in encouraging investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean technologies and processes,” said ECCP executive vice president Martial Beck.
Cold storage chain developer and operator Glacier Refrigerated Services Inc., Manuela Corp.’s Starmall Alabang and Jeco Development Corp., developer and operator of Sheridan Beach Resort & Spa in Palawan, bagged the top plums in the energy efficiency category. For the renewable energy category, Ilocos Norte pig farm operator Venvi Development Corp. shared the honor with renewable energy firms San Carlos Energy Inc., San Jose City iPower Corp. and Sunwest Water and Electric Co. (Suweco).
The awardees were selected based on the actual implementation of projects that have reduced energy consumption or contributed to energy generation, innovation and commitment to sustainability and the potential for replication and success-story dissemination. The reduction in greenhouse emissions from these energy projects is equivalent to removing 226,000 cars from the country’s roads in a year.
All these “green projects were bankrolled by two of the country’s leading banks—Bank of the Philippine Islands and Banco de Oro Unibank—under a partnership with International Finance Corp. Under this program called “Sustainable Energy Financing,” about P19 billion has so far been released to fund projects that help reduce greenhouse emissions by a million metric tons a year.
BPI, for its part, so far has P12 billion and served nearly 150 clients under the SEF program of IFC, BPI president Cezar Consing said. BPI provided financial muscle to four of the seven EnergySmart awardees: Glacier, Jeco, Venvi and San Carlos Solar Energy.
“These four companies have proven that people, planet and profit go hand in hand. They have found the formula that all of us must find if we are to remain relevant in this century,” Consing said.
Sy-Coson said BDO was committed to fund environment-friendly projects in the country.
In a phone interview, BDO senior executive vice president Walter Wassmer said BDO had so far approved $130-million loan disbursement for renewable energy projects, mostly biomass and hydro, under the SEF. This is on top of $60 million worth of energy efficiency projects in the pipeline, he said.
Manuela was honored for the HVAC retrofit of Starmall Alabang, which is now saving the shopping mall developer about P3 million in electricity billing per month.
San Jose iPower, based in San Jose City, Nueva Ecija, combined the resources of 26 rice millers to build a 12-megawatt power plant that feeds on rice husk.
“It was done by a group of rice millers who banded together to put up power plant using their rice husk,” Wassmer said.
While many other rice malls have put up biomass plants to generate power for their own use, Wassmer said, this is the first time rice millers have teamed up to generate power for export to the grid.
Utility operator Suweco was honored for its 8-MW run-of-the-river hydropower plant in Villasiga Bugasong, Antique which feeds on Paliuan River. Run-of-river hydro is considered one of the most environment friendly renewable source of energy. It does not cause social problems due to submergence of lands by water as only a diversion-type of structure is used in lieu of a huge dam.
“They are getting into hydropower and thus providing cheap power to cooperatives in areas where they operate,” Wassmer said.
Jeco’s 95-room Sheridan Resort is located in Sabangan, Palawan, gateway to the Puerto Princesa Underground River. This national park is a Unesco World Heritage Site and, in 2012, was voted by the global community as one of the new seven wonders of the world, for being the longest navigable subterranean river.
“Our location is quite far from the city. We don’t have any electricity. There is no power plant supporting our place. So what we did is, we have our solar panels and we have our wind turbines,” Sheridan managing director Jacqueline Tan said in an interview at the sidelines of the EnergySummit.
The turbines cover about 70 to 80 percent of Sheridan’s requirements. But the resort also has back-up generators during the rainy days when the solar plant cannot produce or when there is scarce wind to power the wind turbines. The resort also has a catch basin for rainwater and a water recycling system in place.
Sheridan borrowed P240 million from BPI to invest in these “green” initiatives, but has already repaid the loan, Tan said. “Initial cost is high but, in the long run it will pay off,” Tan said, estimating payback at two to three years.
Asked how much savings these initiatives have translated to, Tan said: “It’s not just the water. We have electricity to supply the resort. We use LED lighting. Our air-conditioners are all using inverters. We have green landscape features and architecture, so we don’t use air-conditioning in our hallways. So if you combine these, it’s quite a big amount,” she said.
“They are getting into hydropower and thus providing cheap power to cooperatives in areas where they operate,” Wassmer said.
“Essentially, the business of raising pigs is the business of converting pigs into meat in the most efficient way. When you grow pigs like humans, you want them to be comfortable and healthy because those are the components that make them grow faster and healthy,” Venvi chair and chief executive officer Hilario Valdez said in an interview.
Venvi’s 2-year-old pig farm in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte produces piglets from high-quality “inahin” or mother pigs, selling the offspring mostly to breeders.
The farm, described by Consing as the “cleanest” pig farm in the country, nurtures the parent pigs in a climate-controlled facility with tunnel ventilation to optimize their generic potential. It has 1,300 of these mother pigs at present, which will increase to 1,900 this year and further to 2,600 in mid-2015. These mother pigs reproduce at an average frequency of 2.5 times a year and each produces an average of 12.8 live offspring.
But apart from keeping a herd of “happy” pigs, what anchored Venvi’s award is its waste-to-fuel initiative.
“The manure of pigs, we convert them into energy. We don’t dump any of our waste into the river or [elsewhere] outside the facility. The manure goes to a digester, generates methane gas which we use to power our generator to supply the electrical requirement of the facility. The wastewater is separated and put back into the system,” Valdez said, noting that 65 percent of fuel requirements were covered by this waste-to-fuel system.
“The problem with building a facility like this is, it’s not cheap: It really requires full commitment,” Valdez said, noting that a conventional piggery of the same scale would likely require only less of what Venvi has invested.
“But the key is, the greater the efficiency, the greater the payback.”
Glacier, a business unit of Phil-Nippon Kyoei Corp. and Exergy Phils. Corp., develops and operates a chain of cold storage facilities to help the farm sector manage their perishable goods. It has a facility in FTI Taguig and Quezon City, with respective storage capacity of three million and nine million kilos of meat.
“I’ve always perceived that, in the next 10 years, energy and food will be the vital challenge worldwide. So we started building cold storage facilities eight years ago in order to produce enabling positive environment for the farmers so they can be more profitable. It’s a matter of linking the farm to the plate,” said Arturo Yan, president of Phil-Nippon and Exergy.
A cold storage facility is like a big freezer that maintains products at a certain temperature, which means that high energy consumption makes profitability challenging.
“The only way to do it is to make it efficient,” Yan said, noting that the company had thus constructed a plant with the right design and right capacity and maintained the right activities and warehousing facilities. The company recently acquired another storage facility at the Duty-Free complex in Parañaque, and the next stage is to create smaller facilities in new areas like Iloilo, Bicol and Cagayan.
Also, Glacier has ongoing projects to put up solar panels on top of its roofs, thereby generating about 10 percent of internal requirements. Electricity accounts for 45 percent of Glacier’s cash flow and, after investing in energy-efficient initiatives, payback is more or less after five years, Yan said.
San Carlos Solar Energy recently switched on the 22-megawatt solar farm in Negros Occidental. The solar farm, developed by Bronze Oak Philippines in partnership with a Thomas Lloyd fund, is the first large-scale, commercially financed solar power plant in the country.
Bronze Oak has been in the clean energy business in the Philippines for the last 10 years, having built the country’s first bioethanol plant before going into biomass and solar power generation.
Jose Ma. Zabaleta Jr., president of San Carlos Solar Energy and Bronze Oak Philippines, said the group is now working with BPI to expand capacity not just in Negros but also throughout Luzon. The group wants to have a solar power plant capacity of 150 to 200 megawatts while, on the biomass side, an additional 50 megawatts capacity is planned, on top of 20 megawatts under construction. For solar, total cost of the target capacity of at least 150 megawatts is $300 million, about 60 to 70 percent of which is expected to be funded through bank borrowings.
While the cost of solar power is more expensive than a traditional coal-fired plant, Zabaleta said having solar capacity in the middle of the day when people are up and running would help cut the country’s dependence on diesel generators that augment power supply at peak hours. He noted simulations from the National Renewable Energy Board showing the effect of increasing solar capacity during the day when the power is needed. Results showed that the average cost of spot electricity prices declined due to less discharge of diesel.
After 2015, IFC is considering plans to expand the SEF beyond energy efficiency and renewable energy financing and include lending for water and resource efficiency under a broader program called “Sustainable Climate Finance.”
“The rapid growth of the Philippine economy has highlighted the need for adequate energy supply and efficiency in energy use,” said IFC country representative Jesse Ang. “This issue will take on added urgency when the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations begins next year. It is imperative for the Philippines to improve its supply of reliable and affordable power to help Philippine companies brace for tougher competition as a result of the integration.”--- Doris C. Dumlao
Meet the movers and shakers of Asia’s thriving power industry at the Asian Power Awards 2014:
The Oscars of the power industry is now on its 10th year.
Over a hundred executives and key industry players gathered yesterday for the awards night held at Shangri-la Hotel Kuala Lumpur. This year’s awards recognized the best projects in seventeen categories.
Nominations were judged by John Yeap, Partner, Head of Energy – Asia at Pinsent Masons; John Goss, Managing Director of Ceejay International Ltd; and Andrew Bedford, Global Function Leader of KBC Advanced Technology Pte Ltd.
According to Asian Power publisher Tim Charlton, “It has been ten years since we first organized the Asian Power Awards, and we have witnessed tremendous growth in the region in the past 10 years. Tonight we are here to recognize the best achievements and projects as well as name the key players who bested others in a drive for efficiency and productivity in the power sector.”
Sarawak Energy CEO Datuk Torstein Dale Sjøtveit bagged the coveted CEO of the Year award for his outstanding work in one of Malaysia’s leading power firms.
“I am honoured to have been able to lead Sarawak Energy in this period of great transformation. We acknowledge that there is a lot more to be done and an even bigger responsibility that comes our way. This award is a much appreciated acknowledgement of our achievements so far and I’m sure it will drive us to greater heights,” he stated.
The full list of winners is available below:
Solar Power Project of the Year
• Gold - Pratapgarh Solar Power Project, ICML powered by Integrated Coal Mining Limited
• Silver – Sacasol powered by OWL Group
• Bronze - Solar Photovoltaic Commercial Rooftop Project powered by Thai Solar Energy Public Co., Ltd.
Biomass Power Project of the Year
• Gold - Korea Southern Power Company Limited ‘s Namjeju Bio-fuel Oil Power Plant
• Silver - Emerson Process Management Asia Pacific Private Limited’s Sangnam District Heating and Cooling Plant, Korea District Heating Corp
Wind Power Project of the Year
• Gold – Jeneponto 1 powered by Indo Wind Power Holdings Pte. Ltd.
Coal Power Project of the Year
• Gold - Haldia Energy Limited’s 2 X 300 MW Thermal Power Project, Haldia, East Medinipur, West Bengal, India
• Silver - Taiwan Power Company’s New Coal Ash Materials Applied to Coastal Construction of Taichung Thermal Power Plant
• Bronze – Victaulic’s Manjung 4, Malaysia
Gas Power Project of the Year
• Gold - District Heat Conversion of KOWEPO Seoinchon GTCC powered by Korea Western Power Co,. Ltd.
• Silver - EGAT Chana 2 combined cycle power plant in Southern Thailand powered by Siemens
• Bronze - First Combined-Cycle Power Plant (“CCPP”) in Singapore Fully Fuelled by LNG powered by PacificLight Power Pte Ltd
Fast-Track Power Plant of the Year
• Gold - APR Energy’s Kyaukse Power Project (Myanmar)
• Silver – Siemens’ "KOSPO Andong Combined Cycle Plant in South Korea"
• Bronze – Victaulic’s Manjung 4, Malaysia
Environmental Upgrade of the Year
• Gold - Korea Midland Power Co., Ltd., for relocating an entire combined cycle power plant
• Silver - Sesa Sterlite Limited for retrofitting of electrostatic precipitator to hybrid electrostatic precipitator
• Bronze - Taiwan Power Company for applying new coal ash materials for the coastal construction of Taichung Thermal Power Plant
Transmission & Distribution Project of the Year
• Gold - CLP Power Hong Kong Limited’s Chun Yat Street 132kV Substation
• Silver - Alstom Grid Pte Ltd.’s Smart Digital Substation in Meralco, Philippines
• Bronze - Taiwan Power Company’s Da-An Extra High Voltage Substation Construction Projects
Power Plant Upgrade of the Year
• Gold - Siemens for the successful performance of inspections and overhauls for six units within 15 months in First Gen Santa Rita and San Lorenzo plants
• Silver - Korea Western Power Co,. Ltd. for the district heat conversion of KOWEPO Seoinchon GTCC
• Bronze - Emerson Process Management Asia Pacific Private Limited for their work on China Nan Yang Yahekou Power Plant
Innovative Power Technology of the Year
Gold - Alstom Grid Pte Ltd. for their Smart Digital Substation in Meralco, Philippines
• Silver - Emerson Process Management Asia Pacific Private Limited for their work on China Huadian Jiangsu Wang Ting Power Plant
• Bronze – Southern Generating Station, CESC Limited for their project Micro Hydel Units (3 x 15 Kw) to extract waste energy from Condenser Cooling Water return to River
Smart Grid Project of the Year
• Gold - Singapore Power for completing nationwide deployment of deregulated energy services for commercial & industrial customers in Singapore
• Silver - Alstom Grid Pte Ltd. for their Smart Digital Substation in Meralco, Philippines
Information Technology Project of the Year
• Gold - Reliance Infrastructure Limited’s Outage Management System
• Silver - Taiwan Power Company’s project entitled “A Novel Visualization Technique for Rapidly Identifying Power System Islands and Boundaries”
Power Utility of the Year - Malaysia
• Sarawak Energy Berhad
Power Retailer of the Year - Singapore
• Diamond Energy Supply Pte Ltd
Power Utility of the Year - Thailand
• Thai Solar Energy Public Co., Ltd.
Power Utility of the Year - India
• Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd
Independent Power Producer of the Year
• Gold - CGN Meiya Power Holdings Co., Ltd.
• Silver - Thai Solar Energy Public Co., Ltd.
• Bronze - Conergy Asia & ME
CEO of the Year
• Datuk Torstein Dale Sjøtveit
Frost & Sullivan presents San Carlos Solar Energy with 2014 Philippines Solar Photovoltaic
System Integrator of the Year award:
Manila, Philippines, 30 July 2014 –San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc. was recently presented with the 2014 Philippines Solar Photovoltaic (PV) System Integrator of the Year award at the 2014 Frost & Sullivan Philippines Excellence Awards held on 17 July 2014 at the Makati Shangri-la Hotel, Manila. This award is presented to the company that has demonstrated excellence in the three key areas of demand generation, brand development and competitive positioning.
Currently, the Philippines has the fifth highest electricity tariff in the world today and the second in Asia, as the country still suffers from frequent blackouts. Due to the high electricity rates in the country, exploration and development of new alternative energy resources such as solar power has been accelerated in order to reduce the country's dependence on imported fossil fuels. This thereby correlates the growing power demand in the country with alternative power resources that are sustainable, reliable and more cost-effective.
Although the conditions for solar projects in the Philippines are very positive, there has been a scarcity of investments in solar projects. While many renewable energy system integrators in the Philippines are actively engaged in developing off-grid solar PV systems and roof-top systems, none of them have ventured into developing large-scale solar plants following the introduction of the feed-in-tariff policy.
"Realizing the country's critical demand for electricity, San Carlos Solar Energy is credited with taking a pioneering initiative to develop the country's first and largest utility scale solar power plant - SaCaSol, a feat which is commendable in a nascent but high growth oriented solar power market," said Ms. Suchitra Sriram, Program Manager for Energy & Power Systems, Frost & Sullivan Asia Pacific.
She continued, "Within a short span of time, the company has strengthened its core services portfolio, collaborated well with product vendors, and have capitalized on opportunities as the market gets ready to adopt solar power. It is well positioned to build a sound track record of projects and set a high benchmark in the industry."
"In recognition of its commitment toward engineering excellence, project management capabilities and prompt service in the high growth solar power market, Frost & Sullivan is pleased to present San Carlos Solar Energy with this award," she added.
The Frost & Sullivan Philippines Excellence Awards is now in its third consecutive year and seeks to recognize companies and individuals that have pushed the boundaries of excellence, rising above the competition and demonstrating outstanding performance in the Philippines market.
First founded in 2012, the Philippines Awards program began by showcasing outstanding IT and Telecommunications companies in the local market. This year, the Awards program expanded to also include other prominent companies in the Philippines from other sectors like Building, Energy, and Environment.
The awards are based on extensive market engineering tools evolved by Frost & Sullivan. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.
San Carlos solar company taps BPI for bridge financing loan:
The developer of the 22-megawatt San Carlos solar power facility in the Visayas grid has tapped bridge financing from the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) for the expansion component of its planned capacity.
San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SaCaSol), as of press time, has refused to divulge the amount it secured from the Ayala-run bank, but it noted it will finance the additional 9.0 megawatts of its total 22MW capacity.
The company inaugurated in May this year the initial 13-MW portion of its initial capacity installation in the presence of President Aquino and other key government officials.
For the entire 22-MW development, it was emphasized that such will be underpinned by the feed-in-tariff (FIT) subsidy allotment for solar technology. Total cost for the project had been placed at R1.9 billion.
In a press statement, SaCaSol noted that it secured the BPI bridge financing “as it seeks to expand its portfolio of solar projects under construction.”
SaCaSol president Jose Ma Zabaleta said its financing synergy with BPI “is key to helping us deliver a larger portfolio of projects to meet the growing needs of our country for daytime power to reduce reliance on diesel peaking plants.”
The company vouched that its project is the first utility-scale solar ever built in the country after the passage of the Renewable Energy Act.
Corporate vehicle SaCaSol is a joint venture between Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. and Thomas Lloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund of Europe.
According to Thomas Lloyd project finance head Tony Coveney, the financing deal with BPI for the expanded solar portfolio in the Visayas grid “is an important benchmark transaction, as we work to develop the debt financing market for further renewable energy projects in the Philippines.”
BPI, for its part, is looking forward to duplicating such kind of transaction for other renewable energy projects being built in the country.
The San Carlos solar facility, BPI executive vice president Alfonso Salcedo Jr. has noted “will help address the issues of power shortages and the rising energy prices in the Visayas area.”---Manila Bulletin
San Carlos, 3 others seek perks:
Four companies engaged in energy, tourism and real estate have sought tax incentives and other perks from the Board of Investments (BOI) for their proposed projects, according to notices posted by the agency.
According to the BOI, San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. has applied for registration as a renewable energy developer of solar energy resources with a planned 18-megawatt solar farm in Brgy. Cubay, La Carlota, Negros Occidental.
Another firm, Peter and Paul Inc., has also applied for registration with the BOI as new operator of tourist accommodation facility called Domicillo Bed and Breakfast on a non pioneer status.
The facility is on Emilio Aguinaldo Highway, Maharlika East, Tagaytay City.
SM Development Corp. is likewise seeking incentives for two real estate projects, both in Quezon City.
SMDC has applied for registration as an expanding developer of low cost mass housing project, Grass Residences Tower 5, on a nonpioneer status.
Vancouver Lands Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of SMDC, is likewise applying for registration on a non-pioneer status as an expanding developer of low cost mass housing project in Novaliches called Trees Residences Phase 2.
Should the projects of these four companies be approved by the BOI, they will be entitled to a menu of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives that will allow their businesses to be more competitive.
Government data showed that BOI-registered enterprises are exempt from the payment of income taxes for four years from the scheduled start of commercial operations.
Other incentives include exemption from taxes and duties on imported spare parts; exemption from wharfage dues and export tax, duty, impost and fees for enterprises registered under the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP); tax credits; and additional deductions under labor expenses.—Amy R. Remo
Second solar power plant breaks ground in Negros:
Bacolod City, Negros Occ. – After the successful commissioning of San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SACASOL)’s 22-megawatt (MW) solar power plant in San Carlos City,the company held a ground-breaking ceremony for another solar farm project, this time in La Carlota City, in the southern part of the province.
Groundbreaking of the 18-megawatt (MW) solar power plant in La Carlota was held last Friday, a day after President Aquino inaugurated San Carlos City solar farm, in a 35-hectare property owned by SACASOL President Jose Ma. Zabaleta, Jr.
Zabaleta said he ventured into solar power due to frequent power failure and continued rising cost of electricity in this part of the province.
In La Carlota City last Friday, SACASOL officials led by Zabaleta and his partners, Roberto Cuenca and Michael Sieg, chairman of the ThomasLloyd group, along with Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary Daniel Ariaso laid down the time capsule that marked the start of the construction of the 18-megawatt solar farm in t the city’s Brgy. Cubay. Zabaleta said SACASOL expects the solar power plant here to be finished by December.
Investment cost for SACASOL II project is worth P1.8 billion. It will provide 72,000 modules or solar panels making it one of the largest solar farms in the country today.
Ariaso said it is not only one of the largest solar farms but the fastest that the DOE processed and signed in just 12 days.
The pace in processing the project has impressed the ThomasLloyd group chairman who compared it to the time in Germany are processed.
“The DOE has always reckoned renewable energy to be one of the department’s substantial arm in the development of the nation’s energy capacity. With sufficient power, people and communities move,” Ariaso said.
Meanwhile, Zabaleta disclosed that after La Carlota, SACASOL is set to build one more solar farm in Negros Occidental, in Manapla town, and likewise one in Bais City in Negros Oriental.
“We are focusing first in Negros in response to the call of the DOE and Governor Alfredo G. Marañon for the province to be the clean energy capital of the country. We want to make sure that we first meet the growing needs of power in Negros, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Iloilo and Cebu before going into other parts of the country,” he said.
Cuenca credited the success of putting up solar farms in the province to the vision and resolve of the older Zabaleta, Jose Maria Sr..---Manila Bulletin
18-MW solar facility to rise in La Carlota:
San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. is investing P1.8 billion to build a second solar power plant with a capacity of 18 megawatts in Negros Occidental, following the start of commercial operations of the country’s largest solar facility in San Carlos City.
The company said it would build an 18-megawatt solar facility in La Carlota City to be called SaCaSol II. The first facility, known as SaCaSol I in San Carlos City, started operations on Thursday, initially providing 13 MW and is being expanded to have a total capacity of 22 MW.
President Benigno Aquino III attended the inauguration of the first phase of Sacasol I, which is now the largest commercial solar power plant in the country.
“The success of this project has opened the door for us to develop and finance other solar plants, as seen in our latest, the aptly named Sacasol II, an 18-MW facility that has broken ground in La Carlota City on May 16,” Thomas Lloyd chairman Michael Sieg said.
Construction of Sacasol II is expected to start in June and the P1.8-billion project is targeted to be completed by the end of 2014.
SaCaSol is a renewable energy project being developed by Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. and European fund manager ThomaLloyd Group.---Alena Mae S. Flores
New solar plant in Negros expected to meet power demand, reduce CO2 emissions in Visayas:
SAN CARLOS CITY, Negros Occidental – Leading German solar solution and service provider Conergy joins in the celebration of the inauguration of the first phase of the San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SaCaSol) solar plant, a ground mounted photovoltaic solar facility on a 350,000 square-meter area at the San Carlos City Economic Zone.
President Benigno Aquino III, guest of honor at the SaCaSol inauguration led the ribbon-cutting and switching-on ceremony, together with Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla from the Department of Energy and Senator Loren Legarda. Representatives from Bronzeoak, Thomas Lloyd, the International Finance Corporation and local government officials were also in attendance.
The project is a joint venture between the local clean energy developer, Bronzeoak Philippines and leading global investment management group, ThomasLloyd.
In October 2013, Conergy was contracted by SaCaSol to carry out the planning, supply, engineering and construction of the 22-megawatt solar power plant, the largest solar farm in the country. The project has been built on two sites: 13 MW and 9 MW for Phase One and Phase Two, respectively.
With the first 13 MW of the SaCaSol solar plant commissioned, power is now being supplied to the grid at the pre-determined feed-in-tariff rate for solar power set by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) which is currently set at P9.68/kWh. The SaCaSol plant is expected to be completed by mid-2014, with 88,300 Conergy P-series modules set to produce around 35,000 megawatt hours per year – enough energy to supply 13,000 households in the Philippines. Once completed, the facility is expected to reduce CO2 gas emissions by 18,820 tons per year.
Conergy CEO for Asia Pacific, Marc Lohoff shares, “SaCaSol is the first utility scale solar plant in Negros and the Visayas region and is the largest solar power plant in the country. With our market entry in the Philippines, we are opening up another attractive and emerging growth market in Asia, adding to our strong presence in Thailand. We are just about a month away from completing this project and together with our shareholder Kawa, we are looking forward to support more initiatives that will accelerate the development of solar energy and address the growing power demand in the country with alternative power sources that are sustainable, reliable and cost-effective.”
Alexander Lenz, President for Conergy Asia & Middle East points out, “The conditions for solar projects in the country are very positive. This includes the Philippines’ electricity rates – the country has the fifth highest electricity prices in the world today, and the second in Asia and also suffers from frequent blackouts. But thanks to high solar radiation of ~5kWh per square meter a day, and a 6-7% annual economic growth rate, solar energy can become a genuinely competitive and self-sustaining proposition in the country, especially if executed with the appropriate scale.”
“We are happy and proud to support the President and Secretary in their aim of meeting our growing energy demands by harnessing indigenous and renewable resources to supply peak power, displacing diesel power plants during high demand day time hours,” added Bronzeoak Philippines president Jose Maria P. Zabaleta Jr.
Conergy is working on the SaCaSol project in collaboration with its partner, SCHEMA Konsult Inc., a multidisciplinary technical consulting company. Project completion is expected by the first half of 2014.
SACASOL breaks ground for another solar power plant:
NEGROS OCCIDENTAL, May 16 (PIA6) - - The day after the successful commissioning of the 22-megawatt San Carlos Solar power plant in San Carlos City, the San Carlos Solar Energy Incorporated (SACASOL) breaks ground for yet another solar project in La Carlota City.
SACASOL officials led by its President Jose Maria Zabaleta Jr., partners Roberto Cuenca and Chairman of the ThomasLloyd group Michael Sieg with the Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Daniel Ariaso laid down today the time capsule that marks the start the construction of the 18-megawatt solar farm in Barangay Cubay, La Carlota City.
Investment cost for the SACASOL II is worth P1.8 billion, providing for the 72,000 modules or solar panels making it one of the largest solar farms in the country today.
Ariaso said it is not only one of the largest solar farms but the shortest that the DOE processed and signed in just 12 days.
This impressed ThomasLloyd group chairman Sieg comparing it to the processing time in Germany which makes DOE’s streamline processing more efficient.
“The DOE has always reckoned Renewable Energy as one of the department’s substantial arm in the development of the nation’s energy capacity. Because with power, people and communities move,” Ariaso said.
Meanwhile, SACASOL President Jose Maria Zabaleta Jr. disclosed that after La Carlota, they are also set to build solar farms in Manapla town, this province, and Bais City in Negros Oriental.
“We are focusing first here in Negros in response to the call of DOE and Governor Alfredo G. Marañon for the province to be a clean energy capital of the country. We make sure we first meet the growing needs of power in Negros, Bacolod, Dumaguete, Iloilo and Cebu before going into other parts of the country,” Zabaleta said.
Local partner Roberto Cuenca credited the success of the solar farms in the province to the vision and resolve of the older Zabaleta, Jose Maria Sr.
“The Zabaletas may not have even read the quotation I will put my money on the sun and solar energy of Thomas Edison, but he did put his time and resolve in the successful switching-on of the solar facility in San Carlos City. And as a personal friend, I am betting with him and I am sure that we will both emerge as winners,” Cuenca said before foreign investors and guests at the ground breaking and capsule laying ceremonies.*(JCM/EAD-PIA6 Negros Occidental)
--- Easter Anne D. Doza
Solar power to hit 100MW by 2015:
SAN CARLOS CITY – President Benigno Aquino III yesterday led the historic switch-on of the first large-scale commercially-financed and commissioned solar power plant in the Philippines that has began selling 13 megawatts of power to the Visayas grid, with an additional 9 MW set for next month.
The President said the San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. plant displaces carbon emissions equivalent to those produced by 14,805 tons of oil for each year of operations.
“It serves as a shining example of the collective steps we are taking to minimize climate risk,” Aquino said.
The solar plant is especially important in the light of the Philippines' experience with Typhoon Yolanda — a storm that ravaged a large part of the Visayas region six months ago, he said.
Not only did it challenge us to build back better, more resilient communities, and to improve our disaster response mechanisms, it also underscored the adverse effects of climate change and showed the world the new normal of increasingly frequent and intense storms, he said.
The responsibility to act in the face of growing climate risk falls on all of us, whether we belong to the government or the private sector, and SACASOL is the perfect example of this, he said.
The solar plant is funded by ThomasLloyd and Bronzeoak Philippines, companies with a strong interest in renewable and clean energy investments and a project supported by the local government, the President noted.
He added that more power plants are underway for the Visayas Grid alone, with most slated for commissioning from this year until 2016: from traditional energy sources, to geothermal, to hydropower, to wind, to biomass, making for an incoming committed capacity of 591.60 MW.
SACASOL chairman Jose Maria T. Zabaleta Sr. said they will also break ground for an 18-megawatt solar plant in La Carlota City in Negros Occidental today, and another in San Carlos City and Manapla in Negros Occidental, and Bais City in Negros Oriental, producing a total of 100 MW of solar power.
They are all expected to be operational by mid next year and will cost $10 million, Zabaleta added.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said the solar plant in San Carlos and other renewable energy plants set to rise will address power shortfalls in Negros Occidental and the rest of the country.
Investments in power enliven the local economies and provide honest, decent sources of livelihood; they add to the energy mix and help ensure a more steady supply of power; and, perhaps most importantly, they point to the promise of future growth for the community, the region, and the country, the President said.
But he also said that, as much as there are many advocates who support and promote the use of solar energy – and while government believes that it is a necessary and welcome addition to the energy mix – “We must be cognizant of its current limitations: the still high cost to harness solar energy as compared to other sources, which includes the additional requirements for ancillary capacity to connect it to the grid.”
There is a need for government to manage the energy mix, from which the cost of power is derived, he said.
For the year 2013, the average available capacity of the Visayas Grid stood at 1,678 MW. Average peak demand was at 1,390 MW, he said.
“There are adequate reserves, but, of course, given the current economic momentum of the country, we cannot be content with present conditions; we also have to plan for the future,” he said.
Peak demand is projected to increase with sustained growth -especially since we expect dividends from peace in Mindanao, which will have a corresponding effect especially on our inter-regional trade, he said.
On top of that, the recent resurgence of the Philippines will only continue to add to the confidence of investors from all over the globe, the President said.
“A strong energy surplus will also be an important factor, as we explore the possibility of connecting the Mindanao grid to the now connected Luzon and Visayas grids,” he also said.
As the country moves closer towards realizing its vision of inclusive growth for the Philippines, the President said it needs partners like ThomasLloyd and Bronzeoak working towards a sustainable future for the country.
“Let us continue to work even harder, together, towards realizing our vision for the Philippines—let us continue to bring light into people's homes, into their workspaces and businesses, and illuminate the path to responsible, sustained, and inclusive growth,” he said.
Rep. Alfredo Abelardo Benitez (Neg. Occ., 3 rd District) said local officials should encourage more power generation on the island, ideally renewable, or Negros will be in a crisis.
He said the submarine cables that connect Negros to power from Iloilo and Cebu are not up for upgrading in the next 10 years.*CPG --- Carla Gomez
Biggest solar plant launched in Negros Occidental:
The facility in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, which was commissioned by San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc., (SaCaSol) has a total capacity of 22 megawatts (MW) per day.
Phase one, which has been completed, will deliver 13 MW. The second phase, which is set to be completed in five weeks, will provide an additional 9 MW.
Mr. Aquino, who led the ceremonial switch-on to signify the start of commercial operation, underlined the importance of renewable energy projects to the nation’s economy and prosperity of its people.
“With your help, we are showing to the world that even developing countries such as ours can do their share in reducing the risk caused by global warming. And, we are doing this even at a time when the development of solar power plants remains more expensive than that of plants fueled by other renewable sources of energy,” he said.
The project costs P1.9 billion, funded by full equity financing.
“This a project funded by companies with a strong interest in renewable and clean energy investments and is supported by the local government,” Mr. Aquino added.
The 20-hectare solar farm, established by German company Conergy AG for SaCaSol, is located within the San Carlos Ecozone and is near the 19.99-MW baseload biomass power plant as well as the bioethanol plant with co-generation power facility.
The project will enter into a renewable energy purchase agreement for power offtake as mandated by the Renewable Energy Law (Republic Act No. 9513) and will be connected to the Visayas power grid.
Jose Maria T. Zabaleta, Sr., SaCaSol chairman, said the solar plant will deliver power to the grid during peak hours, which will help bring down the average cost of power rates to consumers.
Mr. Zabaleta said that while diesel- and bunker-generated power is at P22 per kilowatt-hour, solar power costs only about P9/kwh. The solar plant has a lifespan of 25 years.
For his part, SaCaSol President Jose Maria P. Zabaleta, Jr. said the solar plant is the first of the many solar plants that SaCaSol will be putting up in the Visayas.
He said the company will also break ground today in La Carlota City for the 18-MW SaCaSol 2, which will be completed by the end of the year.
Mr. Zabaleta, Sr. said SaCaSol will be putting up an additional 45 MW in different locations before the onset of summer next year.
“These projects will create thousands of jobs and will light many homes and industries,” he said.
San Carlos Mayor Gerardo P. Valmayor said that with the solar farm and mini hydro plant operating here, they are positioning the city as the renewable energy capital of the country.
These alternative energy sources came about due to the collaborative efforts of the local government, their partners in the private sector, and the community.
President Aquino also inaugurated yesterday the P335-milion Himogaan Bridge and road in Sagay City, seen to cut travel time from Bacolod to Sagay by 15 minutes. --Chrysee G. Samillano
Aquino inaugurates large-scale solar energy plant:
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – It's the first large-scale, government-commissioned and commercially-financed solar power plant in the country under the Aquino administration.
President Benigno Aquino III on Thursday, May 15, inaugurated the San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc (SACASOL) in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, a power plant that he said is "making history."
"Because of this new project, the Visayas grid will benefit from an additional 22 MW – all while SACASOL displaces carbon emissions equivalent to the emissions produced by 14,805 tons of oil for each year of operations," he said.
"It serves as a shining example of the collective steps we are taking to minimize climate risk – the fruit of our efforts to ensure that future generations will not be subject to the same vulnerabilities as we are now."
The inauguration of the solar energy power plant comes amid continuous power problems in key regions in the country, as well as rising electricity bills.
Aquino hailed the project, expected to supply daytime peak power to the local grid, as a successful partnership between the public and private sector.
Partnering with private sector
The government partnered with Thomas Lloyd and Bronzeoak Philippines Inc., companies that specialize in renewable energy project development and financing, to make SACASOL possible.
Addressing its private partners, Aquino said, "With your help, we are proving to the world: even developing countries such as ours can do their share in reducing the risks posed by global warming."
"And we are doing this even at a time when the development of solar power plants remains more expensive than that of plants fueled by traditional sources of energy," he said.
The need to turn to renewable energy, was further highlighted by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), Aquino said, which battered the Visayas and cut off power in affected areas for months.
"Not only did it challenge us to build back better more resilient communities, and to improve our disaster response mechanisms, it also underscored the adverse effects of climate change and showed the world the new normal of increasingly frequent and intense storms," Aquino said.
While Aquino praised the development, he did however acknowledge the limitations of using renewable energy admitting "there is a need for government to manage the energy mix, from which the cost of power is derived."
"Unfortunately, renewable energy is still the most expensive component. It follows that if our entire energy mix is derived from renewable sources, then the price of electricity – which people are already complaining about today – will rise even more," he said.
"Government therefore has to strike a balance between this, and our desire to attract more investments in renewable energy."
Speaking to reporters after his speech, Aquino said the government hopes to increase renewable energy components "so as we can ensure the the rise of electricity prices will be minimal."
Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla explained they are looking into increasing the country's 50 megawatt cap to 500 megawatts, to allow companies interested in building renewable power plants to do so.
"We are seeing it's really viable… and the investors, at the same time, some of them are actually just waiting for the quota to be increased. The others are ready already," he said, pointing out that SACASOL only started construction in October.
Call to investors
The President also announced that the construction of other power plants – including traditional energy sources, geothermal, hydropower, wind, and biomass – are underway for the Visayas Grid alone, which are expected for commissioning this year until 2016. Those plants have committed a capacity of 591.60 MW.
In 2013, the available capacity of the Visayas Grid was 1,678MW, with an average peak demand of 1,390MW.
He said there are "adequate reserves" now, but added demand is expected to rise in the following years.
"Given the current economic momentum of the country, we cannot be content with present conditions; we also have to plan for the future. Peak demand is projected to increase with sustained growth—especially since we expect dividends from peace in Mindanao, which will have a corresponding effect on inter-regional trade," he said,
"On top of that, the recent resurgence of the Philippines will only continue to add to the confidence of investors from all over the globe. A strong energy surplus will also be an important factor, as we explore the possibility of connecting the Mindanao grid to the Luzon and Visayas grids."
He then encouraged investors to partner with the government, and to avoid what he called "the wait-and-see mindset," wherein companies are only willing to follow and invest, after others have proven the profitability of such ventures.
"I should warn you: by that point, you may no longer be entitled to any of the incentives government is currently offering," he said.
After the inauguration of SACASOL, Aquino headed to Sagay City in Bacolod for yet another inauguration – this time of the new Himoga-an Bridge and a 3,416 kilometer access road.
The new 105-meter bridge, is part of a major highway linking the south and north side of Negros, which is the primary route used by trucks to haul sugarcanes from Bacolod City.
A result of renovating the old one, the new bridge cost the government P313 million.
"Compared to the old bridge, there's no question this road is safer because we have ensured its high quality and a stronger foundation," he said.
The President said the new bridge and road – which shortens travel time of commuters from the North going to Bacolod City by about 20 minutes – would also help bring life to the local economy.
"Because of this bridge, the transport of sugar canes to various parts of the province heading to this sugar mill in Sagay City will be quicker and easier. It will surely help decrease the cost of production," he said.
"We will also be able to generate tourism in Sagay because it will be easier to reach destinations like Carbin Reef and Molocaboc Insland." - Natashya Gutierrez
PNoy turns on first large-scale Bronzeoak solar power plant financed by ThomasLloyd:
The first large-scale, commercially-financed and -commissioned solar power plant in the Philippines was turned on by President Benigno Aquino III in Negros Occidental on Thursday amid a tight supply situation that continues to plague the country.
Aquino was in San Carlos City where he led a ceremonial switch-on of the 22-megawatt (MW), $45-million San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SACASOL). Only the 13 MW first phase of the project was inaugurated Thursday.
The President inaugurated SACASOL, a solar energy plant in Negros Occ. We'll upload a copy of his speech shortly. pic.twitter.com/2gFdmrcAMb
— Official Gazette PH (@govph) May 15, 2014
The second phase of the project, Phase 1B, consists of a 9-MW facility. Once complete, San Carlos Solar is expected to supply 35-million kilowatt hour of energy to the Visayas grid and to cover mainly the power needs of Negros Occidental, Negros Oriental, Cebu, and Iloilo.
In his speech, Aquino said the Visayas grid will benefit from the 22-MW additional input from SACASOL, noting that, as a renewable energy project, the power plant is also expected to displace the equivalent of 14,805 tons of carbon emissions per year.
"It serves as a shining example of the collective steps we are taking to minimize climate risk – the fruit of our efforts to ensure that future generations will not be subject to the same vulnerabilities as we are now [experiencing]," he said.
The government's project partners in SACASOL are financier ThomasLloyd, a global investment banking and asset management group dedicated to renewable energy, and Bronzeoak Philippines Inc., which specializes in renewable energy project development.
Under the ThomasLloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund, the company already invested $82 million in its Philippine portfolio, and is committed to invest $130 million more in the next two years, according to ThomasLloyd.
The President said such projects are also important in light of the Philippine experience with Typhoon Yolanda, which ravaged a large part of Central Philippines six months ago.
"Not only did it challenge us to build back better, more resilient communities, and to improve our disaster response mechanisms, it also underscored the adverse effects of climate change and showed the world the new normal of increasingly frequent and intense storms," he said.
The Palace has said that the power supply in Mindanao might remain tight until May.
But the President said that power supply is not yet at a critical level, while noting that the government is looking at other possible sources of power, including solar energy.
With the inauguration of SACASOL, Aquino said the Philippines is now closer to the goal of having a more diverse energy mix that is able to meet the country's needs.
However, that it costs more to harness solar energy as compared to other sources, not to mention the additional requirements for ancillary capacity to connect it to the grid, the President said.
"Renewable energy is still the most expensive component. It follows that if our entire energy mix is derived from renewable sources, then the price of electricity – which people are already complaining about today – will rise even more. Government therefore has to strike a balance between this, and our desire to attract more investments in renewable energy," he said.
More power plants are underway for the Visayas grid alone to complete the committed capacity of 591.60 MW, Aquino noted.
Aside from SCASOL, the President is also expected to lead the inauguration of the newly repaired Himoga-an Bridge, which links the south and north side of Negros. The project cost P313 million. –Kimberly Jane Tan/VS, GMA News
Sale of solar power to Visayas grid starts:
The first commercial scale solar plant in the Philippines in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, began selling power to the Visayas grid yesterday, Jose Maria Zabaleta Sr., San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. chairman, said.
Zabaleta said the SACASOL solar plant at the San Carlos Ecozone in San Carlos City began selling 13 megawatts to the grid, and will sell 9 more by the end of the month.
SACASOL will deliver power to the grid during peak hours displacing more expensive diesel and bunker generated electricity, which will help bring down the average cost of power rates to consumers, he said.
He said that while diesel and bunker generate power at P22 per kilowatt hour, solar power costs about P9 plus per kwh, he said.
The solar plant that has a life span of 25 years will produce power without having to pay for its source, he said.
President Benigno Aquino III is arriving in San Carlos City Thursday morning for the inauguration of the solar plant, Gov. Alfredo Maranon Jr. said.
The 22-megawatt P1.9-billion solar plant is a joint venture of Bronzeoak and European investment fund ThomasLloyd Group.
Marañon said any renewable energy is good.
The plant in San Carlos will not be oil-based, it will help conserve the country’s foreign exchange and the environment, he said.*CPG. --- By Carla Gomez
Aquino to inaugurate 1st solar plant in Negros Occidental Thursday:
BACOLOD CITY, Philippines—President Benigno Aquino III will inaugurate the first commercial scale solar plant in the Philippines in San Carlos City, and a road and bridge in Sagay City on Thursday.
Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. confirmed on Tuesday the President’s visit for the inauguration of the solar plan. The inauguration of the Negros First CyberCentre in Bacolod City has not been included in the president’s itinerary, the governor said.
Members of the Presidential Management Staff arrived in Negros Occidental on Tuesday to finalize the details of the President’s visit, Marañon said.
The President is expected to be in San Carlos City Thursday morning for the inauguration of the power plant, and in Sagay City at about 2 p.m.
The 22-megawatt P1.9-billion solar plant in San Carlos City is already operational and connected, and will begin supplying power to the Visayas Grid starting Wednesday (May 14), according to Jose Maria Zabaleta Sr., San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. chairman, in an interview with the DAILY STAR. Officials of the he Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Board would be in San Carlos City to watch the rites, he said.
SaCaSol is a joint venture of Bronzeoak and European investment fund ThomasLloyd Group.
Afterwards, the President will leave the province via the Bacolod Silay Airport, according to the governor.
Zabaleta has described the solar farm in the San Carlos economic zone, as the largest in the country to date. It could help improve the Visayas grid’s power supply, Zabaleta said.
Marañon called renewable energy good.
The plant in San Carlos would not be oil-based and would help conserve the country’s foreign exchange and the environment, he said.
Meanwhile, the new P335-million Himogaan Bridge and road to be inaugurated by the President wouldcut travel time from Bacolod to the Sagay City proper by 15 minutes, the governor said.
Ubiquity, the first call center locator at the Negros First Cyber Center, will move in at the end of May.
He did not say when the inauguration of the facility will be.
Also nearing completion are the 45 classrooms donated by the Negros Occidental provincial government to the Negros Occidental High School in Bacolod.
But even with the additional classrooms, NOHS would still be short of 20, which the national government should address, he said. --- By Carla Gomez
San Carlos Solar Power Plant starts operation on May 15:
The country's largest solar power plant is set to commence commercial operations in May 15.
Sacasol -- which is a joint venture of Bronzeoak Philippines, Inc. and ThomasLloyd Group -- will inaugurate the project on Thursday, May 15.
“We’ve been eagerly awaiting the grand opening of this project, as it will benefit the grid greatly and help avoid the need for diesel plants to supply peak day time power,” Bronzeoak Chairman Jose Maria T. Zabaleta said in the statement.
The solar farm, the largest to be put up in the country to date, is located in the San Carlos Economic Zone. The facility is expected to help improve the Visayas grid's power supply especially amid projections of a possible prolonged dry spell in the coming weeks.
The SaCaSol consortium invested P1.9 billion to develop the solar plant.
Michael Sieg, ThomasLloyd chairman, said SaCaSol will initially generate 13 MW of power within the week and another nine MW in the following week.
"Installation of the plant's 88,000 photovoltaic panels is already a sight to behold," he said.
Besides the project, Bronzeoak and ThomasLloyd also plan to put up two biomass power plants with a capacity of 45 MW in Negros Occidental and 30 MW in a still to be identified area in Luzon.
The P1.9-billion solar project is being developed in two phases.
“We are close to completion of the project, with 13 MW in commercial operation this week and another 9 MW in the weeks thereafter,” said Michael Sieg, ThomasLloyd Group chairman.
Sacasol said prompt completion of the project was due partly to support of the San Carlos City government. “The approval process has been timely due to the full and constant support of the LGU (local government unit),” the statement read.
The whole project can generate approximately 31.6 gigawatt-hours of electricity every year for the Visayas grid.
Sacasol tapped Germany-based Conergy AG as the supplier of 22 solar power inverters and 88,000 photovoltaic modules that will be used for the plant.
Last January, the Board of Investments approved Sacasol’s application to secure incentives for project, which will rise on a 35-hectare property in Barangay Punao, San Carlos City in Negros Occidental.
Bronzeoak Philippines was established in 2003 to engage in renewable energy development in the country.
The company, through San Carlos Bioenergy, Inc., owns and operates an ethanol facility and cogeneration plant that produces 40 million liters of fuel ethanol, 40 million kilograms of sugar syrup and 60 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year.
Meanwhile, ThomasLloyd Group is a Europe-based global investment banking and investment management group dedicated to projects involving renewable energy and other “clean” technologies. . --- By San Carlos City
Aquino to lead opening of solar plant, bridge in Negros:
GOVERNOR Alfredo Marañon Jr. confirmed on Monday that President Benigno Aquino III will visit Negros Occidental on May 15 to inaugurate two mega projects in San Carlos City and Sagay City.
The governor said the advance party from the Presidential Management Staff (PMS) has already arrived in the province.
The President will arrive in San Carlos City Thursday morning to inaugurate the 22-megawatt solar power plant of San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SaCaSol).
After lunch, he will proceed to Sagay for the opening of the P335-million Sagay City diversion road and the new Himogaan Bridge.
The diversion road will cut travel time by 20 minutes from Hacienda Maya to the new Himogaan Bridge, the governor said.
The old Himogaan Bridge will be retained since light vehicles can still pass through it. The bridge was built in 1935 and was bombed by the Japanese soldiers during the World War II.
Meanwhile, the solar farm, the largest to be put up in the country to date, is located in the San Carlos City economic zone. The project is a joint venture of Bronzeoak and European investment fund ThomasLloyd Group.
The facility is expected to help improve the Visayas grid's power supply especially amid projections of a possible prolonged dry spell in the coming weeks.
The SaCaSol consortium invested P1.9 billion to develop the solar plant which has 88,000 photovoltaic panels.
SaCaSol will initially generate 13 megawatts of power within the week and another nine MW the following week. --- By Teresa Ellera
IFC, ThomasLloyd okay energy fund:
UK fund manager ThomasLloyd Group Ltd. and International Finance Corp., the investment unit the World Bank Group, recently signed an agreement to provide $330 million in funding to finance renewable energy projects in the Philippines.
ThomasLloyd said in a statement the amount would augment the $87 million in development and construction capital already deployed or committed by the ThomasLloyd Group of companies and the ThomasLloyd Cleantech Infrastructure Fund.
The funding will be used to construct and operate a portfolio of three solar facilities and three biomass facilities in Negros island.
ThomasLloyd and IFC see transaction as the platform for expanding investment in the renewable energy sector.
“Our mandate with IFC gives us the opportunity to extend our plants for more power facilities. These will continue to create economic growth and prosperity, especially to rural communities,” Michael Sieg, Thomas Lloyd chairman and chief executive, said.
IFC resident representative Jesse Ang said the funding of renewable energy sources was a priority program in the Philippines, which pays the second-highest electricity rates in Asia after Japan and is vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
“These projects in the island province of Negros support the World Bank Group’s global efforts to create more jobs to help reduce poverty, particularly provincial areas where it is more pronounced,” Ang said.
He said the Negros island projects were important for the area and the entire Visayas grid, which suffered brownouts after the onslaught of super typhoon Yolanda.
ThomasLloyd has been advising and financing the development of renewable energy facilities in the Philippines for the past five years through a joint development agreement with local development partner Bronzeoak Philippines Inc.
Bronzeoak will finish the construction of the 22-megawatt solar project of San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. in Negros island.
The solar project, once completed, will be the first utility scale renewable energy project built in the country to take advantage of the feed-in tariff under the Renewable Energy Law of 2008.
Two more solar projects in Negros are under development, with the first to be constructed this year.
ThomasLloyd has also financed the development and construction of San Carlos Biopower Inc.’s 20-MW biomass facility, which will use sugarcane waste from the local farming community. --- By Alena Mae S. Flores
ThomasLloyd, Bronzeoak solar power joint venture bags tax perks:
MANILA - Proponents of the country's largest solar power project to date have announced the start of construction activities.
In a statement, the joint venture of Bronzeoak Philippines and Swiss-German firm ThomasLloyd said they will commence construction of the 22-megawatt (MW) San Carlos Solar Energy Project (SaCaSol) after securing incentives from regulators.
The Board of Investments (BOI) recently granted incentives to the project based on Republic Act No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.
These include a seven-year income tax holiday and duty-free importation of machinery, equipment and materials including communication equipment within the first 10 years from issuance, among other incentives.
The solar power project is located on a 35-hectare site in the San Carlos Economic Zone on Negros Island. The project is estimated to cost P1.9 billion.
The SaCaSol joint venture tapped Germany-based Conergy AG as supplier of 22 solar power inverters and 88,000 photovoltaic modules that will be used for the plant.
The project will be developed in two phases. The first phase will involve a 13-MW facility and the second phase a 9-MW expansion, both funded by ThomasLloyd from construction through its commercial operation. The solar plant is expected to be up and running by the second quarter of this year.
ThomasLloyd is a global investment banking and investment management group focused on projects involving renewable energy and clean technologies.
Besides SoCaSol, ThomasLloyd also announced a plan to finance and build two additional solar plants in Negros.
ThomasLloyd will also put up the said facilities in partnership with Bronzeoak, "as soon as possible to immediately improve the power situation in the Visayas grid," without further elaborating.
Bronzeoak is a private entity that specializes in renewable energy development in the country. The company through its subsidiaries, will also develop two additional biomass power plants with a combined capacity of 45-MW also in Negros Occidental and another one a year later for a 30-MW in the Luzon. --- Euan Paulo C. Añonuevo
Negros solar farm gears up for DOE renewable energy plan:
MANILA, Philippines – Tractors and workers upturn 20 hectares of reddish-brown soil in the heart of sugarcane land in Negros Occidental.
But they aren't prepping the land for agriculture – at least, not in the regular sense of the word. Instead of another sugarcane plantation, the field of reddish-brown earth will become a solar farm, ready to electrify the province in March 2014. (READ: DOE to add more renewable energy in grid by 2014)
Watching over the land's transformation is Mike Airey, a managing director for German investment management group ThomasLloyd. They specialize in renewable energy investments in Asia.
One of their first projects is the San Carlos Solar Farm (SaCaSol) which is set to generate 22 megawatts of electricity. That's enough to power the entire San Carlos City.
Each upturning of soil is timed to the ticking of a clock because for Airey, getting the solar farm up and running is a race against time.
Among other solar farm projects approved by the Department of Energy, they want to be the first to feed into the national power grid. Under the DOE's renewable energy guidelines, the first 50 megawatts of solar power to electrify will be awarded the coveted feed-in tariff (FiT) which ensures investors a return on investment.
Investors spend roughly US$ 2 million to generate one megawatt from a solar farm, said Airey. SaCaSol will generate 22 MW. The FiT, through fixed price rates for the generated electricity, guarantees revenue for the solar farm for a period of 20 years.
For solar power, the FiT rate is P9.68 per kilowatt/hour (KPH).
Green energy islands
ThomasLloyd has two more renewable energy plants in San Carlos. A bioethanol plant which produces ethanol gas for cars has been operating since 2005, the first in Southeast Asia. A biopower plant, which generates electricity from sugarcane waste, is under construction and will be ready by 2015.
When completed, the 3 projects will make San Carlos the first integrated renewable energy zone in the country.
Renewable energy has been gaining ground all over the world because of its promise of less to zero carbon emissions, less air pollution and unlimited supply of raw materials used to generate energy. In comparison, conventional fossil fuel sources like coal, oil and natural gas are limited, dirty and expensive.
But why invest in renewable energy in the Philippines?
It turns out, the Philippines is an ideal location for green energy.
"There's a requirement for a lot of power here. The Philippines is an archipelago so the grid isn't totally connected. Each individual island has got different requirements so there's a lot of reason to invest here for that purpose alone," Airey told Rappler. (READ: Groups to Lacson: Tap renewable energy for Yolanda areas)
In the case of Negros, the island's flat lands receive more than the usual amount of sunlight, a condition which has made the province the sugarcane capital of the country.
Bordered by other islands with higher ground, Negros is protected from the ferocity of storms that batter the Philippines an average of 20 times a year. Though it was one of the areas hit by Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan), it sustained minimal damage.
In terms of political stability, another factor considered by investors, the Philippines is well-placed.
"Though you have your issues in Mindanao, we don't see that as something that will spread to the rest of the Philippines."
At present, there is only one solar power plant in the Philippines – the one megawatt facility in Cagayan owned by Cepalco (Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company).
Cheaper, more efficient technology
A solar farm harnesses light from the sun to produce energy for households, businesses and infrastructure. Photovoltaic cells in solar panels receive sunlight and convert its energy to electricity.
Such cells are already seen in some calculators. To imagine the San Carlos solar farm, multiply that tiny strip of photovoltaic cells by 35 hectares, the total land area of the farm.
The first phase (20 hectares) will be completed in March. The second, an additional 15 hectares, should feed into the national power grid by June.
Though the technology of solar power may sound pricier and more complicated than, say, coal combustion which has powered the world since the 19th century, Airey says solar power is now more cost-effective than it's ever been.
"It's more comparative with fuel sources. The cost of manufacturing has gone down, and the quality of the panels has become greater so the efficiency is greater. So it's cheaper to do and when you include the feed-in tariff, that makes it far more viable."
It's also much faster to build a solar farm, which mostly consists of the solar panels, compared to other conventional energy sources with their boilers, conveyor belts and cooling systems. And as far as maintenance is concerned, you just need to cut the grass and clean the panels every now and then. Panels are replaced every 10 years. (READ: Palawan aims for a 100% renewable energy future)
Airey is convinced that renewable energy is a win-win scenario for everyone involved. Aside from beefing up the power supply of Negros and the country, the solar farm has created and will create more jobs for locals.
"Just building the solar panels, there are over 200 workers here. By next week that will be up to around 350 to 400," he said.
Locals are hired as drivers, land clearers, construction workers and cooks for the other employees of the farm, among other things.
And just as sugarcane plantations sprouted all over Negros after the success of one sugar baron, so will more solar farms operate all over the Philippines after the success of SaCaSol, Airey hopes.
"You will see more companies, more people willing to invest [in solar power] because with SaCaSol, it would be a proven concept."--- Pia Ranada
Renewable energy lures Euro fund:
ThomasLLoyd Group, a leading European asset management and project finance group, is investing $210 million to partly fund renewable energy projects in the Philippines with a total capacity of 120 megawatts.
ThomasLLoyd Group chairman Michael Sieg told reporters the company would invest in four biomass projects and a solar project through a joint venture with Bronzeoak Philippines, which was established by Zabaleta & Co. and Bronzeoak Ltd. of the UK.
The investment fund already spent $82 million in Philippine renewable energy projects and committed another $132 million to finance the solar and biomass plants.
The projects include the 19.99-MW biomass plant of San Carlos BioPower Inc., 25-MW biomass plant of South Negros BioPower Inc. in La Carlota City and 29.99-MW biomass plant of Central Tarlac BioPower Inc.
Another project in the planning stage is the 24.99-MW North Negros BioPower Inc.’s biomass plant.
ThomasLLoyd and Bronzeoak will also develop a 22-MW solar project under San Carlos Solar Energy Inc., which will be constructed in two phases with total investments of $45 million.
“The solar is ongoing. This is based on the Renewable Energy Act. This is a milestone project for the country,” Sieg said.
He said financing from ThomasLLoyd would provide the renewable projects a competitive advantage.
Sieg said site development works had started at the solar project and were scheduled to be connected and fully operational by the second quarter of 2014.
The ThomasLloyd official said the $210-million investment represented nearly half of the $500 million project cost which would be funded through a combination of debt and equity.
The San Carlos BioPower facility, estimated to cost $85 million, is located in northeastern Negros Occidental and started construction early this year. It is expected to begin operations in 2015.
The South Negros BioPower Inc. biomass facility, costing an estimated $114 million, is expected to start construction this year and be completed by 2016.
ThomasLLoyd is also looking at funding the Tarlac biomass facility, which requires investments of $130 million and due for completion in 2016, and the proposed North Negros facility.
Bronzeoak Philippines president Jose Maria Zabaleta Jr. said ThomasLLoyd would most likely take close to a 40-percent stake in the renewable projects, while the remaining 60 percent will be taken by local investors.
“The feed-in tariff allocation for biomass power is undersubscribed so all our biomass projects will be under the feed-in tariff,” Zabaleta said.
Thomas LLoyd is a leading global investment banking and asset management group solely dedicated to the renewable energy sector in Asia, while Bronzeoak is a leader in the development and implementation of renewable energy projects with its 40-million liter ethanol facility in Negros.
San Carlos Solar Energy Project Summary:
San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (SaCaSol) is a solar farm with an initial capacity of 13 MW in Phase 1 , and a provision for an addition of 7 MW in Phase 2. It is intended to provide power to the grid throughout the year, at pre-determined Feed-In-Tariff rates set by the ERC. It is a DOE approved stand-alone solar power plant consisting of approximately 52,000 modules.
The Visayas in general is fast-growing region of the Philippines, and the projected shortfall in generating capacity creates an attractive opportunity for solar development on Negros Island. The eastern seaboard of the island is considered one of the best locations for generating solar energy, due to less cloud cover and minimal typhoon occurrence. The San Carlos Ecozone location also happens to be situated at the right coordinates for maximum solar radiation. With strong support from the local community and the local government, the 20-hectare solar farm will be built within the San Carlos Ecozone in San Carlos City, next to the power substation and accessible to the grid.
The project is being developed both by Bronzeoak Philippines (BP), a privately owned Philippine company with Philippine and European ownership, and Thomas-Lloyd Cleantech (TL). BP is a company specializing in renewable energy project development, finance and management of integrated agro-energy projects in the Philippines. TL is a leading global investment banking and investment management group dedicated solely to the renewable energy and cleantech sectors. The project cost which is estimated to be at Php 1.18 billion will be funded by TL from construction through its commercial operation.
SaCaSol has completed feasibility studies, and is presently into permitting and licensing, detailed engineering design and construction. This will allow it to complete construction in one year, and therefore be operational by the first quarter of 2014.
ERC Approves Feed-in tariff rates:
The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), on July 27, 2012, approved the initial Feed-in Tariffs (FITs) that shall apply to generation from renewable energy (RE) sources, particularly, Run-of-River Hydro, Biomass, Wind, and Solar, as follows:
APPROVED FITS (PhP/kWh)
The ERC, however, deferred fixing the FIT for Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) Resource for further study and data gathering. The decision came after a series of public hearings ending in March this year, on the petition of the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) for the setting of the FITs. In its petition filed on May 16, 2011, NREB proposed the following FITs:
APPROVED FITS (PhP/kWh)