Monday, August 27, 2012

4 Firms Eyeing Wind Installations

MANILA, Philippines - At least four project-developers are lining up to corner the 220 megawatts of capacity that can avail of the regulator-approved feed-in-tariff (FIT) for wind power installations. These are First Gen of the Lopez Group, Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corporation; Alternergy Philippines Holdings Corporation of former Energy Secretary Vincent Perez's group; and Northern Luzon UPC Asia Corporation. The aggregate capacity of the four firms, according to a source from the Department of Energy (DoE) totaled 280 megawatts, "and they will be vying for a 220-MW approved wind capacity for the FIT support." The FIT charge approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) for wind has been at Php 8.53 per kilowatt hour (kWh), based on the representative project set forth in the application of the National Renewable Energy Board. The prospective project developers noted that they are still clueless as to how the energy department will award the installations, but if referenced on the propounded eligibility criteria, they are somehow "more advanced" in their project implementation plans. Of the four, the wind capacity being proposed by the Lopez group in Ilocos Norte would be biggest at 84 megawatts; while Trans-Asia is pushing forward a 54-MW capacity in Guimaras island in the Visayas. UPC Asia, on the other hand, is working on two projects in Ilocos Norte with total capacity of 80 megawatts; and the balance of 40 to 60 MW is being eyed by Alternergy and its partners. Alternergy will be bringing in South Korean firm East-West Power Co. and Eurus Energy of Japan as co-venturers in its proposed wind power projects. Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) also announced plans of getting into wind projects; and it was gathered from industry sources that it may partner with UPC Asia. One of the controversy-inducing concerns in the FIT availments of RE projects would be on the manner of award of the installations that will be laid down soon by the Department of Energy. The idea being propounded by the NREB will be to award the initial installations based on the "commercial-readiness" of the projects; while the next batch of projects will have to be selected via competitive bidding.