11 August 2011 in Manila Times
British biomass power plant maker presses for RE rate
A UK-invested company developing biomass power plants around the country on Wednesday said the Aquino administration should hasten the development of renewable energy.
In an open letter to President Benigno Aquino 3rd, Maribeth de Montaigne, Global Green Power PLC Corporation president, said the efforts of the Department of Energy to promote renewable energy has suffered a setback with the Board of Investments leading the clamor for deferral in the implementation of the Renewable Energy Act.
“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?” said de Montaigne.
She said the country is looking forward to a higher growth rate amid renewed international investor confidence in the Philippines, adding that sufficient and reasonably priced electricity must be ready to support this surge in the economy.
“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 executive said perceptions from certain sectors that renewable energy is expensive were shortsighted 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 base load power from renewable energy sources, cheaper than 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 said.
She said GGPC’s Thermal Biomass Grid Connected power plants can deliver cheaper renewable energy at P7 per kilowatt-hour through the law’s feed-in tariff should the National Renewable Energy Board’s proposed rate be approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission.
The biomass FiT rate of P7 per kWh is subject to inflation, minimal foreign exchange fluctuations and has no fuel cost “pass through” burden for the 20-year 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.
In contrast, electricity produced by coal plants is priced in excess of P8 per kWh.
GGPC biomass power plants are smaller-scale facilities of 17.5 to 35 MW each and use agricultural and food processing waste as an alternative to fossil fuel.
Each 35 MW of 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 also provides 3,400 jobs in each rural location.