Monday, March 11, 2013

Biomass power plant in San Carlos, Negros Occidental

The construction of a P3-billion, 18-mega watt biomass power plant in San Carlos, Negros Occidental will begin in May, the San Carlos BioPower, Inc. (SCBP) announced during the weekend.

The SCBP is a partnership between Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. Biomass Holdings Inc. and WBE International Green Energy Ltd. of Hong Kong. Biomass Holdings Inc is jointly owned by the PSE-Listed Greenergy Holdings Inc, and the Germany-based ThomasLloydCleanTech Infrastructure Fund.

According to Jose Maria T. Zabaleta, chairman of the Philippines Bronzeoak Asia Pacific, funds have been received by the company on March 7 to begin the project implementation.

"The power plant is to be designed, supplied and built by Wuxi Huaguang Electric Power Engineering, the General Supplier & Contractor of the project. Site clearing will begin immediately, with construction to follow in May and June. The plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2014," Zabaleta said.

The new plant will be located in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, alongside the existing integrated sugar mill and ethanol distillery of San Carlos BioEnergy, owned by Menarco Clean Energy and Bronzeoak Philippines.

The plant is expected to provide approximately 1,000 jobs during construction, and will eventually employ nearly 400 people during its operation, Zabaleta added.

Zabaleta explained that the SCBP was issued its Certificate of Registration by the Board of Investments (BOI) on Dec. 21, 2012 and has satisfactorily met the minimum documentary requirements of the Department of Energy (DOE) to avail of the Feed-in-Tariff rates when it begins commercial operations in early 2015.

The Energy Department has recently announced it will allocate feed-in tariff, or preferential power rates, to the first renewable energy developers to commission their projects.

Feed-in tariff allocation will be given to the first developers who can complete the quota. Definition of completion is the first to commence commercial operation, Energy Department Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla said.

The ERC approved the feed- in tariff rates for run of the river hydro, P5.90 per kilowatt hour; biomass, P6.63 per kWh; wind, P8.53 per kWh; and solar, P9.68 per kWh.

For his part, DOE Director Mario Marasigan expressed his support of the new project, saying "the DOE is very excited to see the start of construction of the new biomass power plant, which is expected to be among the first under the Renewable Energy Law."

Meanwhile, ThomasLloyd CEO Michael Sieg was in the country recently to sign the joint venture agreement with Bronzeoak where he announced and committed to invest US$ 50 million to the construction of the biomass plant.

He said that he was very optimistic about renewable energy prospects in the country especially that their investments would also contribute to the continued economic development of the country, particularly in countryside and agriculture.

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