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Filinvest plans to sink P25B in power projects

/ 06:44 AM May 26, 2012

Filinvest Development Corp. plans to invest roughly P25 billion this year to jumpstart the construction of new power plants with a combined generation capacity of 200 megawatts.

Apart from these “green field” projects that will start from scratch, FDC is keen on some of the “brown field” or already existing power assets slated for privatization, particularly Unified Leyte Geothermal (640 MW), Caliraya-Botocan-Kalayaan hydropower facilities (728-MW), Malaya thermal power plant (650-MW) and Casecnan power project (140-MW), top officials said.

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For the green field projects, commercial operations are expected to start in about two to three years, FDC chair Jonathan Gotianun told reporters after company’s stockholders meeting yesterday.

But instead of using liquefied natural gas (LNG) for its upcoming power plants as earlier announced, FDC will now use “clean coal” and renewable energy like biomass as fuel for its green field projects.

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During FDC’s stockholders meeting last year, the company announced plans to develop four LNG power plants with a total capacity of 1,500 to 1,800 MW over a five-year period.

FDC president Josephine Gotianun-Yap said that pending the government’s master plan for LNG, however, the group has shelved the LNG strategy and was currently exploring power generation projects that are “cost-effective” and “environment-friendly.”

Yap reported that the group’s holding company for all utilities projects, FDC Utilities Inc., has so far successfully signed bilateral supply contracts amounting to more than 70 MW. She said this unit was now pursuing power generation projects in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao with a combined capacity of 350 MW.

The group is confident that there would be more interested parties that would contract their power requirements with FDC Utilities before the end of 2012.

FDC Utilities president Jesus Alcordo said his unit was targeting to sign up 200-MW in additional power generation capacity this year. The unit has prospective projects in Camarines Sur, Davao, Cebu, Negros and other parts of Mindanao. At the same time, Alcordo said the group would look at power generation assets to be bid out by the government.

Instead of scrambling to meet an earlier goal to install at least 1,500 MW of capacity in five years, Alcordo said the focus would now be on quality rather than quantity. The power projects in its pipeline, he said, were now “smaller” but would have “better returns.”

Alcordo explained that previously announced plans to put up LNG-fired power plants had been overtaken by adverse events, particularly the skyrocketing prices of LNG due to higher demand for this fuel in the aftermath of the tsunami that devastated a nuclear plant in Japan.

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Yap said the group was ready to fund the power plant projects by itself without the need for any partner.

Gotianun said the P25-billion estimated investment for the 200MW initial capacity would depend on design, location and specific technologies to be used. /INQUIRER

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