12 August 2011 in Mindanao Gold Star Daily
Power firm pushes dev’t of renewable energy
GLOBAL Green Power PLC Corp., a UK-invested company developing biomass power plants around the country, has called on President Benigno Aquino III to hasten the development of renewable energy at the soonest possible time.
In an open letter to President Aquino, Maribeth de Montaigne, GGPC president, said the efforts of the Department of Energy to promote renewable energy experienced a setback by the pronouncement of the Board of Investments to "delay the implementation of the R.E. Act."
De Montaigne said the diligent hard work of the Energy Team led by Secretary Jose Rene Almendras, the efforts of the National Renewable Energy Board led by lawyer Pete Maniego along with all those who have strived so hard to deliver affordable renewable energy appear to have been negated by the recent BOI statement.
"This is something we cannot understand as the nation faces yet another impending power crisis. What will be our alternative? Continued unabated expansion and use of imported coal and oil?" the official said.
De Montaigne said the country is looking forward to a higher growth rate as international investor confidence in the Philippines is renewed and the energy sector must be ready to support this surge in the economy with sufficient and reasonably priced electricity.
"Your Excellency has clearly and resoundingly made a commitment to pursue renewable energy as this can free the Filipino from the impact of staggering world oil and coal prices. Our country therefore needs to embrace cost competitive renewable energy without delay and without fear or favor to those who seek the deferral of clean, cost effective renewable energy for reasons of either being mis-informed or vested interests," de Montaigne said.
The GGPC official said perceptions from certain sectors that renewable energy is expensive is short-sighted given the country's dependence on imported coal and oil, the price of which are highly volatile and increasingly becoming more expensive.
"New technology today provides us the ability to generate and deliver baseload power from renewable energy sources, cheaper that newly built coal or oil-based power generation facilities, when developed within the framework of the Renewable Energy Act," she said.
"It would be a national disgrace therefore not to encourage, support and maximize the deployment of this technology with all possible haste," de Montaigne stressed.
She said GGPC's Thermal Biomass Grid Connected (TBGC) power plants can deliver cheaper renewable energy at P7 per kilowatthour (kWh) through the RE Act's Feed in Tariff (FiT) rate should the National Renewable Energy Board's (NREB) proposed FiT rate be approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
The biomass FiT rate of P7 per kWh is subject only to the Philippines Consumer Price Index (CPI) price increases, minimal Foreign Exchange Rate (FX) fluctuations and has no fuel cost "pass through" burden for the 20-year FiT duration.
"This is unlike coal and oil power plants that are subject to an upward fossil fuel pricing trend and price volatility and fuel pass through," de Montaigne said.
Global Green's proposed rate is cheaper than coal plants priced in excess of P8 per kWh to electric cooperatives and distribution utilities as evidenced by the most recent ERC approved electricity supply agreements.
She said these coal plants' ESAs embody the latest capital cost of equipment, development cost, construction cost, fuel cost on a "pass through" basis, as well as operations and maintenance for a newly built coal plants. Coal plants also receive BOI incentives similar to the RE Act.
"The RE Act FiT rate pricing structure for biomass will deliver consumers a less expensive and stable power price based on basic CPI increases within the Philippines for 20 years. Clearly, it is time to set the record straight regarding GGPC-TBGC power plants as they are poised to appreciably reduce the cost of new and future power supply within Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao whilst delivering extraordinary socio-economic benefits," de Montaigne said.
GGPC biomass power plants are smaller-scale power plants (17.5 MW to 35 MW each) that use agricultural and food processing waste as an alternative fuel to fossil fuel.
These are dedicated power-only plants embedded into the franchise area of local electric cooperatives delivering distributed power generation that will help stabilize and improve efficiency of the local and national grid system.
Each 35 MW GGPC-TBGC displaces an estimated P138-billion of imported oil-based diesel fuel and provides direct income of an estimated P33-billion to the host community over 25-years of operation.
Each GGPC-TBGC provides 3,400 jobs in each rural location supporting clean, renewable energy generation through the collection, transportation, and processing of agricultural wastes that are currently either burned in the fields causing carbon dioxide, or left to rot causing methane; both greenhouse gasses (GHG) that significantly contribute towards climate change and global warming.
"The Philippines still needs significant supplies of electricity from fossil fuels to enable the nation's growth. This, however, should not be at the expense of our environment and total disregard of latest technologies that can provide power at prices cheaper than newly built coal and oil based power plants," de Montaigne said.*